- What is personal information?
- Why does Dr. Voss collect personal information?
- Protecting your personal information
- Retention and destruction of personal information
- You can look at your information
- Do you have a question or complaint?
Confidentiality is assured when you come to see a psychologist. Dr. Voss will not speak to anyone about what has been discussed in sessions without your permission. There are some rare exceptions to this rule where Dr. Voss may have to divulge some information. The exceptions are: (1) she learns that you in immediate danger of hurting yourself or someone else, (2) she learns that there is a child who is being abused or neglected or at risk of this, (3) her records are subpoenaed by the court, (4) she learns that you were sexually abused or harassed by a regulated health care provider in Ontario.
Dr. Voss’ records may be reviewed by the Ordre des Psychologues for quality assurance or by Revenue Canada or Revenue Quebec. In these cases, your information would still be kept confidential.
Privacy of your personal information is fundamental. As a clinical psychologist, Dr. Voss is committed to collecting, using and disclosing personal information responsibly and only to the extent necessary for the goods and services she provides. She also tries to be open and transparent as to how she handles personal information. This document describes her privacy policies.
What is personal information? [top]
Personal information is information about an identifiable individual. Personal information 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 received by them); or, activities and views (e.g., religion, politics, opinions expressed by an individual, an opinion or evaluation of an individual). Personal information is different from business information (e.g., an individual’s business address and telephone number). This is not protected by privacy legislation.
Why does Dr. Voss collect personal information? [top]
The primary purpose for collecting, using, and disclosing personal information is to provide you with clinical services such as assessment and therapy. For example, Dr. Voss collects information about a client’s health history, family history, physical condition and function and social situation in order to help her assess what their health needs are, to advise them of their options and then to provide the health care they choose to have. A second primary purpose is to obtain a baseline of health and social information so that in providing ongoing health services she can identify changes that occur over time. It would be rare for Dr. Voss to collect such information without the client’s express consent, but this might occur in an emergency (e.g., the client is unconscious) or where she believes the client would consent if asked and it is impractical to obtain consent (e.g., a family member passing a message on from a client and Dr. Voss has no reason to believe that the message is not genuine).
On the website Dr. Voss only collects, with the exception of cookies, the personal information you provide and only uses that information for the purpose which you provided it (e.g., to respond to your email message).
Dr. Voss also collects, uses and discloses information for purposes related to or secondary to these primary purposes. The most common examples of related and secondary purposes are as follows:
- To invoice clients for goods or services that were not paid for at the time, to process debit or credit card payments or to collect unpaid accounts.
- Dr. Voss is regulated by Ordre des Psychologues du Québec and the College of Psychologists of Ontario. These regulatory bodies may inspect her records and as part of their regulatory activities in the public interest.
- Like all organizations, various government agencies (e.g., Revenue Canada, Information and Privacy Commissioner, Human Rights Commission, etc.) have the authority to review Dr. Voss’ files as a part of their mandates. In these circumstances, she may consult with professionals (e.g., lawyers, accountants) who will investigate the matter and report back.
- The cost of some goods/services provided by the organization to clients is paid for by third parties (e.g., SAAQ, private insurance). These third-party payers often have your consent or legislative authority to direct Dr. Voss to collect and disclose to them certain information in order to demonstrate client entitlement to this funding.
- Dr. Voss may disclose some information to professionals such as lawyers and accountants. In these cases, these professionals have their own privacy policies.
Protecting your personal information [top]
Dr. Voss understands the importance of protecting personal information. For that reason, she has taken the following steps:
- Paper information is either under supervision or secured in a locked or restricted area.
- Electronic hardware is either under supervision or secured in a locked or restricted area at all times. In addition, passwords are used on computers. Cell phones are digital as these signals are more difficult to intercept.
- Paper information is transmitted through sealed, addressed envelopes or boxes by reputable companies.
- Electronic information is transmitted either through a direct line or has identifiers removed or is encrypted.
- External consultants and agencies with access to personal information must enter into privacy agreements with us.
Retention and destruction of personal information [top]
Dr. Voss needs to retain personal information for some time to ensure that she can answer any questions you might have about the services provided and for her own accountability to external regulatory bodies.
Dr. Voss keeps her client files for about ten years. This may be longer if the client was an adolescent at the time they last saw Dr. Voss. She destroys paper files containing personal information by shredding. She destroys electronic information by deleting it and, when the hardware is discarded, she ensures that the hard drive is physically destroyed. Alternatively, she may send some, or all of the client file to her client.
You can look at your information [top]
With only a few exceptions, you have the right to see what personal information Dr. Voss holds about you. Often all you have to do is ask. She can help you identify what records she might have about you, and help you understand any information you do not understand (e.g., short forms, technical language, etc.).
Dr. Voss may ask you to put your request in writing. She may need to confirm your identity, before providing you with this access. If she cannot give you access, she will tell you within 30 days if at all possible and tell you the reason, as best she can, as to why access cannot be given. She reserves the right to charge a nominal fee for such requests.
If you believe there is a mistake in the information, you have the right to ask for it to be corrected. This applies to factual information and not to any professional opinions Dr. Voss may have formed. She may ask you to provide documentation that her files are wrong. Where she agrees that she made a mistake, she will make the correction and notify anyone to whom she sent this information. If she does not agree that she has made a mistake, she will still agree to include in her file a brief statement from you on the point and she will forward that statement to anyone else who received the earlier information.
Do you have a question or complaint? [top]
Please feel free to contact Dr. Voss if you have any questions.
If you wish to make a formal complaint about Dr. Voss’ privacy practices or if you have a concern about the professionalism or competence of her services you are entitled to complain to the following regulatory bodies: Ordre des Psychologues du Quebec or The College of Psychologists of Ontario.
This policy is made under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. That is a complex Act and provides some additional exceptions to the privacy principles that are too detailed to set out here. There are some rare exceptions to the commitments set out above.
For more general inquiries, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Canada oversees the administration of the privacy legislation in the private sector. The Commissioner also acts as a kind of ombudsman for privacy disputes. The Information and Privacy Commissioner can be reached at: 112 Kent Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1H3. Phone (613) 995-8210 | 800-282-1376 | Fax (613) 947-6850 | TTY (613) 992-9190. www.privcom.gc.ca