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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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