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)

Doctors read Humboldt Broncos’ health records: privacy breaches undermine public trust

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In April 2018, Canadians came together from coast to coast to coast to grieve and support each other when we learned a bus was hit in Saskatchewan tragically killing 16 young hockey players and seriously injuring many of their teammates. The Humboldt Broncos story made international news and reminded us all of the fragility of… Read more »


Health Privacy Update: new correction request decision of the IPC

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In health privacy decision 81 of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, a hospital was asked to make a correction to a discharge summary. The complainant wanted certain words written into the discharge summary “I am going home into the care of my parents’ because I live in [their] house” to reflect what he… Read more »


Health Privacy Update: Complainant does not get 2 kicks at the can

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In decision 80 of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, the wife of a deceased patient was concerned that a hospital doctor wrongly shared her husband’s health information by speaking to a third party about the care he received and that the hospital failed to meet its privacy obligations.  These concerns were raised with… Read more »


Health Privacy Update: Do you have a video surveillance camera on your property?

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Many health care organizations like hospitals, long term care homes, primary care practices, laboratories and pharmacies have video surveillance systems. What happens when someone asks for access to recordings? It depends. Here’s a new story about what might happen. In the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario’s recent decision 78, an individual asked a hospital… Read more »


Health Privacy Update – Do not ignore patient access requests for records

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There are two recent health privacy decisions of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario that have similar facts and similar outcomes. The main message: A doctor (or any other health information custodian) should never ignore a patient’s access request for records. If you do, the IPC won’t be happy. We want a happy IPC…. Read more »


Can your patients trust you in the age of electronic privacy scandals?

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In the last few years, the public has heard A LOT of scary things about electronic privacy scandals. In 2017, Equifax admitted their electronic records were compromised leaving millions of users’ financial information exposed. In May 2017, the WannaCry Ransomware attack negatively impacted 19,000 healthcare appointments across the United Kingdom which response cost the NHS over… Read more »


After you set a goal, your first question should be “Who?” not “How?”

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Tis the season for reflection of the year that’s been and anticipation of the year to come. How will you define success for 2019? That was the question posed to a group of over 100 lawyers at a course I launched with the Law Society of Ontario in December. The responses were personal and varied: Attend yoga… Read more »



Health Privacy Update: Annual Statistical Report Portal Is Now Open

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What does that mean? If you are not a health information custodian in Ontario – stop reading. If you are a health information custodian’s Privacy Officer – keep reading! If you are unsure of whether you are a health information custodian – call me! As you know, all health information custodians in Ontario must complete… Read more »


New IPC health privacy decision #76 – reasonable search at a doctor’s office

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The IPC just released decision #76. Bottom Line: There is no change to your duties as a health information custodian. This decision is entirely consistent with other decisions on the topic of reasonable search and a patient’s right of access to their records of personal health information.  In this case, a patient requested access to… Read more »


Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

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

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our January program will address an employment law update for health leaders.
Full details of the 2021 webinar series and registration here.

Free healthcare privacy webinar - ask me anything!
the first Wednesday of every month

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.

Health Privacy Officer training
April 12, 19, 26, May 3, 10, 17, 24 2021

For Privacy Officers within healthcare organizations.

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 Privacy and Information Management Course
Jan 18, 25, Feb 1, 8, 16,

Advanced privacy learning opportunity for lawyers, privacy officers and health leaders

Learn more about Canadian health privacy and information management More Details...

Advanced Health Privacy Officer training
June 2021

For Privacy Officers within healthcare organizations - now totally online

This course focuses on taking theory into practice and we do real life scenarios to build your Privacy Officer skills.
Full details and registration here.

Team Privacy Training Events
January 7, 8, 13, 26, 27, 29

For Primary Care clinics, Hospitals, Community Agencies, Schools, Police departments

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

Part X CYFSA Privacy Designate Course

For Privacy Designates in the child welfare sector including children's aid societies and indigenous children's well-being centres

We focus on how to implement Part X of the Child Youth and Family Services Act in your organization.
Full details and registration here.

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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contact details

P.O. Box 97010 Roncesvalles
Toronto Ontario M6R 3B3

(416) 855 9557

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