All psychologists are bound by principles of strict confidentiality. That is, what you discuss with me during your assessment or treatment is confidential and may not be released to anyone else without your implied or express consent. I normally send a consultation note to your referring physician or healthcare provider on the assumption that your consent is implied regarding my communication with other health care providers who are involved with your care. When you require information to be disclosed to someone who is not a health information custodian under the Ontario Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA,) such as an employer, I will then specifically ask for your express consent to do this, usually in writing.
Ontario law, however, obliges a psychologist to break confidentiality and act without the consent of a patient in the following situations:
If you are unclear about any of these exceptions, please contact me, and I would be happy to clarify them for you.
As a member of the College of Psychology of Ontario (CPO,) I am required to:
I am also required to practice according to the rules set out in the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) regarding the collection, usage, and sharing of your personal health information. All your personal information, whether in hard copy or electronic format, is private and is protected by encryption and kept in locked filing cabinets. Files may, at times, be transported between my Carling Avenue office and my home office (for report preparation, for instance,) but I take all possible precautions to maintain the privacy of your personal information. I collect and record only information which I believe to be essential to your proper care. Please feel free to ask me to address any concerns you might have about information you are asked to disclose and how that information is protected. For a description of limitations to the privacy of your personal health information, please read the section entitled Confidentiality.
Generally, I maintain files for a period of 10 years after having completed treatment with a patient. For further information regarding your rights and my responsibilities under PHIPA, please consult me or contact the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. You may also obtain further information regarding standards for professional practice on the website for the College of Psychology.