I’m Kate Dewhirst.

I’m a lawyer who writes about legal issues affecting healthcare in Canada

Kate Dewhirst Health Law - bringing the law to life. Meet Kate (in 13 seconds)

There is no magic age when children make their own health privacy decisions

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This comes as a surprise to most lay people. In Ontario, and in many jurisdictions around the world, children make their own health privacy decisions when they are “capable” of doing so and not when they reach a specific age. What does that mean? Capacity is presumed. Meaning, healthcare providers presume everyone is capable to… Read more »




IPC is traveling to Waterloo – May 31

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The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario just announced they will be in Waterloo on May 31. If you are a health care organization or a child welfare entity (who will become subject to privacy rules in January 2020) it is always a good idea to attend these kinds of sessions –… Read more »




Health Privacy Update: What is a “bad faith” request for access to health records?

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In a new health privacy decision of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, we find out what needs to be proven to show a patient is making a request for access to health records in “bad faith”. Decision 87:  Interprets “Bad Faith” Requests A patient saw a chiropodist at a foot clinic. The patient wanted a copy… Read more »


Health Privacy Update: When someone asks for a copy of a “complete health record”, what does that mean?

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In Decision 89 of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario deals with an access request, what lengths a health care organization has to go to look for records and what is a “complete health record”. In this case, the complainant asked a community care access centre (CCAC) for access to his deceased wife’s complete… Read more »


Health Privacy Update: IPC has new guidelines on avoiding abandoned health records

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The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario just released new guidelines “Avoiding Abandoned Health Records: Guidance for Health Information Custodians Changing Practice“. The guidelines cover: Who is the custodian when there is a change of practice? What obligations do custodians have when changing practice? Avoiding abandoned records What to do if you discover abandoned records… Read more »


Health Privacy Update: What happens if you lose a patient record?

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The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario has issued a new health privacy Decision 86. A woman contacted a hospital to have access to her deceased son’s health records.   The hospital provided part of the record but notified the requester that part of the paper record was missing. The requester made a complaint to the… Read more »


Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

Team Privacy Training Events
February 12, 19, 26, 27, Mar 2, 9, 11, 24, 27

For Primary Care clinics, Hospitals, Community Agencies and Children’s Aid

Kate trains health professionals from many more health care organizations how being privacy-respectful can improve therapeutic relationships. More details...

Speaking event March 25, 2020

Osgoode Professional Development – Health Law Certificate

Kate joins the faculty for this training event. More details...

Primary care webinars: Employment Law Update & Legal Issues for EDs and Board members

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our March webinar is on questions to ask your insurer and the April program is on changes to pregnant employees' positions.
Full details of the 2020 webinar series and registration here.

Health Privacy Officer training
April 28, 2020

For Privacy Officers within healthcare organisations.

This course focuses on how to become a more confident privacy officer and gives you the tools to document your privacy program. Full details and registration here...

Osgoode Health Privacy training
January 20 & 27 and February 3,10 & 18, 2020

Kate is the program chair for the Osgoode Certificate in Privacy in Healthcare.

This program explores the range of privacy interests that must be protected in the day-to-day treatment of patients, the development of information systems and the creation of institutional policies. More details...

Free healthcare privacy webinar - ask me anything!
March 4 (cancelled) but back April 1

Free webinars - advance registration needed

Whether you're an experienced privacy officer or new in the field, pick Kate’s brain for free for an hour, in this live webinar. No charge, but you’ll need to register in advance.

Kate Dewhirst Health Law

Kate says:

My mission is bringing the law to life. I make legal theory understandable, accessible and fun! I’m available and love to work for all organizations in the healthcare sector across Ontario and beyond.

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901 King Street West Suite 400 East Tower
Toronto Ontario M5V 3H5

(416) 855 9557

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