I’m Kate Dewhirst.

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

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Tag: snooping


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 »


When you set the bar higher than the law requires – make sure you can meet your own standards! PHIPA Decision 168

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New decision of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario for health privacy. And it is a doozy! As background, it is important to know that our health privacy law, the Personal Health Information Protection Act, allows hospitals and other health information custodians to use identifiable health information without needing the consent of patients for… Read more »


Warning: If you go privacy rogue – your employer’s insurance company likely doesn’t have to protect you

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If you ever needed a reason to behave, this is as good a one as any. In a new Ontario court decision, a nurse was denied coverage from her former hospital employer’s insurance provider for her legal fees and possible costs associated with her alleged snooping in health records. So now, she walks into court… Read more »


In case you were wondering, don’t use your ex-business partner’s ex-wife’s health information to learn about a new IT system

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Calling all clinicians, Privacy Officers, IT change management consultants and practice managers. Here’s a new case for you to read and absorb. Bierman v. Haidash 2021 from Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench So, imagine you work in a health care environment and you’ve got to learn a new IT system. Bummer right? You’ve got to… Read more »



Health Privacy Update: New class action certified in Ontario after privacy breach at a hospital

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Just when you thought it was safe … a new class action was recently certified after a health privacy breach at a hospital in Ontario. Here’s what every health Privacy Officer needs to know. Stewart v. Demme and William Osler Health System (2020) “The central question … is whether a privacy violation can be “highly… Read more »


What is new in health privacy in Ontario?

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In 2016 we saw changes to health privacy legislation in Ontario.  There were significant developments in health privacy litigation and additional certifications of class actions for health privacy breaches.  There were at least two physicians in Ontario who had their licenses to practice suspended for snooping in health records and at least two nurses faced… 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

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

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