I am pleased to provide service for you, your family or a member of your family. I am committed to protecting the privacy of your personal information and have developed practices in compliance with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, 2004 (PIPEDA) and the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (PHIPA).
I would like to take this opportunity to inform you about the personal information I collect, how it is used and how I protect the confidentiality of your personal information and your rights in respect of this information.
The personal information I collect may include:
- information required to maintain a working file according to the standards of my profession and the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW), such as your name, address, phone numbers, date of birth, other contact information, names of others significant to your situation (e.g. family members, your doctor, other professionals) and sometimes their contact information,
- information about our work together, including notes detailed enough to reflect the scope of the work and my actions in this regard, any correspondence sent or received, any consents or other documents you have signed, copies of papers you have given me and other documentation particular to the nature of our involvement,
- information necessary for billing purposes, which may include information about your health insurance plan(s), information collected to comply with the policies of your Employee Assistance Programme and their standards, information about other third party payers, copies of all receipts given to you including copies of electronic payments, copies of invoices and billing records, and
- information related to the scheduling of appointments with you.
I collect this information for the following reasons:
- to maintain a clinical file or working file that meets the standards of my profession and the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW),
- to provide services to you in a manner that ensures your safety,
- to maintain a high standard of professionalism in the provision of service,
- to assist in the process of billing for my services,
- to meet other legal and regulatory requirements, and
- to maintain records pertaining to the operation of a business and to make these records available if requested.
There may be times when I ask you if I may speak with others about you and your situation. There may be times when you will ask me to do this as well. On these occasions I will always discuss this information sharing with you and we will consider the benefits and consequences of speaking to others about your situation. I will then ask for your informed, written consent for me to share your information.
There may be occasions when I must share information about you or your situation without your consent. These situations are very exceptional but may include the following:
- if I have concerns about the possibility that a minor child is being abused or neglected, I am legally required to report my concerns under the Child, Youth and Family Service Act,
- if I am concerned that you are at risk of harming yourself or someone else, I must take action to ensure your safety or the safety of others,
- if I am required by law to release information (e.g. if I receive a subpoena)
- if I must report a colleague to the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW)
- if I must defend myself against a complaint filed with the OCSWSSW, or any other court action.
From time to time, I may decide I need to seek clinical supervision or peer consultation. Supervision and consultation can provide different and innovative ways of looking at your situation. In this event, and in the interests of providing you the best possible service, I may share non-identifying information about you and your situation with my supervisor/consultant. This individual will be bound by the same requirements for confidentiality as I am.
As a practitioner in private practice, I have taken steps to safeguard your privacy and the privacy of your personal health information. I would like you to know the following:
- Your file contains all the personal information about you and your situation with the exception of copies of billing information such as receipts and electronic payments. I will use secure means to store any personal information that I collect, including in the event that I store information about you on my computer. If I prepare a document about you on the computer it may be stored on a USB that will be maintained in a secure area.
- Your file is maintained according to regulations set by my profession and the OCSWSSW and in accordance with other legal requirements.
- When information about you is no longer required, I will shred and dispose of it.
- In the event of incapacity or death, a designated social worker would have some access to your information in order to assist you in a transfer to another therapist or to maintain the file according to legal and regulatory standards. This social worker would also be a member of the OCSWSSW and would be obligated to provide all services to the same standard that I would.
You have the right to request to see any personal information that I have collected about you or your situation. You have the right to view your clinical file. I will assist you to understand everything that has been written in your file. If you believe that some information about you is incorrect, you may request that the information be changed. I will then correct this information with any third parties who may have been given the wrong information. If you wish to view your file or if you have any concerns about the privacy of your information, please let me know.