I am committed to protecting and respecting your privacy
which means that I collect, use and disclose your personal
information responsibly and only to the extent necessary for the services I provide.
This document describes my policies and
procedures as they relate to collecting, using and disclosing your personal
information. It also offers information about how you can access your records
and request correction of recorded personal information.
Who I Am
Sarah Baker, Psychologist, is sole owner of the private practice, which
delivers psychological services (e.g., psychological assessment and
psychological intervention) to adolescents and adults. I have one staff member
who is responsible for accounting and bookkeeping. I restrict this staff
member’s access to any personal information that is not relevant to tasks
associated with accounting and bookkeeping, and this staff member has been
given appropriate training and receives ongoing supervision in the maintenance
of privacy principles.
What is Personal Information?
information is information about an identifiable individual. It includes information that relates to an
individual’s personal characteristics (e.g., gender, age, income, home
address or phone number, ethnic background, family status); health (e.g., health history, health conditions, health services delivered to them),
activities and views (e.g., religion, politics, opinions expressed by an
individual, an opinion or evaluation of an individual). Personal information and
specifically personal health information is protected by privacy legislation
(i.e., the Personal Health Information Protection Act [PHIPA]), and is
different from business information (e.g., an individual’s business address and
telephone number), which is not protected by privacy legislation.
Collection of Your Personal Health Information
purposes of collecting your personal and health information are to provide you
with appropriate and quality psychological services, contact you for
service-related reasons, and prevent harm (such as reaching an emergency
contact). I will not collect information from you for any other purpose (such
as conducting research) without first obtaining your informed consent. If you
do not want to provide consent for the collection of this latter kind of
information, you are completely free to refuse and there will be no impact on
will collect personal health information directly from you, except when you
have provided consent for me to collect such information from others (such as a
spouse, family physician, or mental health professional with whom you have
previously worked), or when the law requires me to collect information without
your consent (such as emergency situations where the purpose of collecting
information is to prevent potential harm).
law and in accordance with professional standards, I am required to keep a
record of my contacts with and services to you. Your record includes
information that you have provided to me or have authorized me to receive, such
as consent forms, session notes, results of any assessments, billing
information, contact records, and correspondence that I have sent to or
received relating to your service. The physical records are the property of my
practice; however, you have rights regarding access to and disclosure from your
record (discussed below), regardless
of the form in which the information is recorded. In this office, information
is recorded in both written and electronic form.
If you contact me through my website I only retain the personal information you provide and only use that information for the purpose for which you gave it to me (e.g., to respond to your email message).
Use of Your Personal Health Information
personal health information is primarily used to provide you with psychological
services such as psychological assessment or intervention. The delivery of
psychological services includes such tasks as service planning, maintenance of
records, monitoring, billing, and collecting unpaid accounts. Other uses of your personal health
information include to guide and improve the quality of services provided in my
practice. Further, the College of Psychologists of Ontario may conduct external audits of psychologists' files; the College is the
organization that regulates psychologists in this province. Audits involve accessing and inspecting client records, however I
do not permit any identifiable client information to be removed from my
premises for the purpose of an external audit without your consent. In
addition, all individuals involved in such an activity are professionals
required by law to maintain the confidentiality of all information that is
accessed. Finally, when psychological services are paid for by third parties
(such as the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, motor vehicle accident
insurance, or the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board), those third-party
payers often require clients’ consent to collect and disclose to them
information that demonstrates their entitlement to this funding or coverage.
Discussing what information is shared with third-party payers is an important
part of the consent process as well as a topic that can and should be discussed
as needed during service delivery, and I encourage you to ask me questions or
raise any concerns you may have on this topic.
Disclosure of Your Personal Health Information
With few exceptions, your personal health information
will not be disclosed to people outside of this practice without your knowledge
and express consent. Written consent is always preferred; however in
time-sensitive situations if you provide verbal consent to share information,
written consent can be obtained in our next meeting. The exceptions are (a)
situations where disclosure without consent is allowed by law (e.g., clear and
imminent risk of serious bodily harm to someone, or professional or legal consultation),
and (b) situations where disclosure is required by law (such as the mandatory
reporting of a child who may be in need of protection, the mandatory reporting
of a regulated health professional who has sexually abused a client, or a court
order to release information from a record). These exceptions are entitled
“limits of confidentiality”; if other limits of confidentiality apply to your
situation, I will identify and discuss them with you before proceeding with
When providing consent to the disclosure of your
personal health information, you may restrict the information that I do share (with the exceptions noted above).
If, however, it is my opinion that the information you wish to restrict is
reasonably necessary for another health service provider to provide appropriate
services, I am required by law to inform the other provider that you have
refused consent to provide some needed information.
The law requires that any disclosure of your personal
health information is limited to information that is reasonably necessary for
the purpose of that disclosure and does not include private information
provided by a third party. Professional ethical standards governing my practice
also require that I not disclose any information that might cause serious harm
to someone, unless the law requires disclosure.
Protection and Retention of Your Personal Health Information
privacy of your personal information is protected through the use of
established procedures in my office. Examples of those procedures include that
paper and electronic information is secured in a locked or restricted area at
all times, computers are password protected, paper information that is shared
is transmitted in sealed and addressed envelopes stamped “Confidential,” and electronic
documents are encrypted and password protected. Email communication is only
used with your consent. If you have a team of service providers and email
communication is requested among service providers to coordinate care, all
emails sent by my office have the subject line “Confidential message from Dr.
Sarah Baker” and contain a confidentiality warning, and you are only referred
to by initials in the emails. Faxing is used to transmit confidential client
information only to verified fax numbers.
need to retain your personal health information for some time in order to
ensure that I can answer any questions you might have about the services
provided as well as for my own accountability to external regulatory bodies.
The College of Psychologists of Ontario requires that client records be kept
for at least 10 years past the date of last contact for adults, and 10 years
past the date at which the client would turn 18 years old. Paper records are
destroyed through cross-cut shredding. Electronic information is deleted, and I
physically destroy the hard drive of discarded hardware.
Your Access to Your Personal Health Information
only a few exceptions, you have the right to access any record of your personal
health information and to request copies of the information (I reserve the
right to charge a nominal fee for record copying). If the record contains
personal health information about another individual, that person’s information must be severed before you access the
record. Other exceptions include access to raw data from psychological
assessments, information provided in confidence by a third party, and
information that could result in serious harm to someone’s treatment or
recovery (including your own) or in serious bodily harm to someone (including
If you are the custodial parent or guardian of an
adolescent under the age of 18 years who has received or is receiving service,
you may not access the personal health information of that adolescent unless
(a) s/he has provided written consent for you to access such information, or
(b) s/he has been deemed incompetent to consent to the service on her or his
If you believe that the information in your
record is not accurate, you have the right to request a correction. This right
applies to factual information and not to my clinical opinion. Your request
must be in writing and I will need 30 days to review it. Where we agree that
there is an error, I will make the necessary correction(s) and notify all
individuals to whom I may have sent the incorrect information. If I do not
agree that I have made a mistake, you may submit a notice of disagreement that
I must file in your record, and I will forward that notice to all persons to
whom I may have sent the information.
Do You Have Questions or Concerns?
privacy policies and procedures have been developed in accordance with the laws
of Ontario, as well as professional regulations and ethical standards. Further
details regarding the applicable laws, regulations and ethical standards may be
found at the websites of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (www.health.gov.on.ca),
The College of Psychologists of Ontario (www.cpo.on.ca),
and the Canadian Psychological Association (www.cpa.ca).
Dr. Sarah Baker, will speak with you directly to answer any questions you may
have regarding this Privacy Statement and to provide you with any further information
about privacy practices or limits of confidentiality that are specific to your
situation. If you have a concern about my privacy policies and procedures or
have a complaint about how your privacy has been handled, please do not
hesitate to speak or write to me.
or general inquiries may also be addressed to:
Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario
Bloor Street East, Suite 1400
Ontario M4W 1A8
If you have a concern about the
professionalism or competence of my services, I would ask you to discuss those
concerns with me. However, if I cannot satisfy your concerns, you are entitled
to complain to my provincial regulatory body:
The College of Psychologists of
110 Eglinton Avenue West, Suite 500
Toronto, Ontario M4R 1A3
Phone: 416-961-8817, 1-800-489-8388