I’m Kate Dewhirst.

My team and I write about legal issues affecting healthcare in Canada.

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Tag: privacy



How much is enough: meeting the threshold for the tort of intrusion upon seclusion

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On March 24, 2022, the Ontario Divisional Court released its decision in Stewart v Demme (2022 ONSC 1790), a class action case against William Osler Health System and one of its ex-nurses (Demme). The case deals with the tort of intrusion upon seclusion, which is a claim that can be advanced by individuals affected by… Read more »


Data Privacy Week 2022

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Data Privacy Week is an international effort that takes place annually to create awareness about the importance of safeguarding data and enabling trust in an effort to protect individuals’ privacy. This year, Data Privacy Week takes place from January 24 to 28, 2022. The National Cybersecurity Alliance is focusing on encouraging individuals to own their… Read more »


Feuding Parents and Privacy Requests: what to do when joint custodial parents disagree

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In Decision 160, the IPC reviewed a complaint from the father of two children (both under the age of eight) whose records request was partially denied by the hospital where the children received care. The records contained concerns about the father’s relationship with the children. The mother did not consent to the records being disclosed… Read more »


Health Privacy Update: IPC issued new guidelines for disposing of electronic information

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The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario released new guidelines today for disposing of electronic media. These guidelines explain what it means to take “reasonable steps” to safeguard personal health information through secure destruction. The guidelines apply to all custodians under the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004.  That means you, health care providers and… Read more »


Health Privacy Update: 4 new health privacy decisions of the IPC released

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On Friday January 12, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario released four new decisions. Here is my updated summary of all 64  IPC PHIPA Decisions Decision 61: Reasonable Search: A physician received a request for access to all records relating to the complainant’s deceased son. The complainant believed additional records should exist. The physician said… Read more »


New guidelines from IPC require Ontario’s healthcare organizations to start tracking privacy breaches in January 2018

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The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario released new guidelines that will come into effect March 2019 but require healthcare organizations to start tracking certain kinds of privacy breaches as of January 2018. Click here for the Annual Reporting of Privacy Breach Statistics to the Commissioner guidelines. Starting January 1st, Ontario’s healthcare organizations (all those who… Read more »


Health Privacy Update #2 – October 2017 – 2 new decisions of the IPC

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Last week the IPC issued two new decisions for health care organizations in Ontario. The first one has practical impact on group practices like family health teams. Group practices should proactively clarify who is the health information custodian  Decision 50 – This one will interest all family health teams and other group practices. It relates to… Read more »


Health Privacy Update #2 – August 2017 – Precedent setting new case Decision 49

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The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario just released two more decisions all health care providers in Ontario should read. Decision 48: A hospital received a request for access to records. The hospital provided the complainant with a full copy of his health records but the complainant believed there should be additional records (specifically letters from… Read more »


What does a Privacy Officer do in a health care organization?

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I train Privacy Officers to understand their role. So, what does a Privacy Officer do for a health care organization? In Ontario, every health care organization must have a “contact person” to do the following five tasks: Facilitate compliance with the health privacy law, PHIPA Ensure that everyone who works for the organization is informed… Read more »


Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

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 Foundations training
April 13, 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18, 25 2022 Coming Soon: Fall 2022 Next Program

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...

Join the Shush: a collective of health privacy officers
Annual membership 2022

For Privacy Officers within healthcare organizations

This is an annual membership program that takes theory into practice and tackles real life scenarios to build Privacy Officer skills.
Full details and registration here.

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

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our May program will address progressive discipline and in June we discuss the key responsibilities Boards need to know in primary care.
Full details of the 2022 webinar series and registration here.

Team Privacy Training Events
May 2, 9, 26, 27

For Primary Care clinics, Hospitals, Community Agencies, Mental Health Teams, Public Health Units, School Boards, Police departments

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

Ontario Hospital Association Professional Staff Credentialing Toolkit

2nd Edition is now available for managing physicians, dentists, midwives and nurse practitioners in hospitals Read here...

Free summary of all PHIPA IPC decisions

Want to read privacy breach stories to learn how to improve your work? We have summarized all the Information and Privacy Commissioner's health privacy decisions for you Download here...

Kate Dewhirst Health Law

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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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