This page outlines privacy-related topics, including information related to cookies and security at https://www.katehanton.ca, communication, informed consent, and confidentiality. It may be updated from time to time, and any significant changes will be posted here. If you require more information, or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
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This website also interacts with an Application Programming Interface (API), due to the use of certain Google fonts in the design template ("fonts.googleapis.com" and "fonts.gstatic.com"). The Google Fonts API "is designed to limit the collection, storage, and use of end-user data to what is needed to serve fonts efficiently...No cookies are sent by website visitors to the Google Fonts API. Requests to the Google Fonts API are made to resource-specific domains, such as fonts.googleapis.com or fonts.gstatic.com, so that your requests for fonts are separate from and do not contain any credentials you send to google.com while using other Google services that are authenticated, such as Gmail" (see Google Fonts, Freqently Asked Questions). The Google Fonts site indicates that font files are cached for one year for the purposes of speed and effiency.
If you would like to disable, and/or delete the cookies in your browser, you can do so through your browser's preferences. Information about managing cookies can be found in the documentation at your browser's website.
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) protection are enabled on https://www.katehanton.ca (you should see a lock icon next to the URL in your browser).
I may be reached by phone, email, fax, or mail (see my Contact page). There is also the option of a Secure Contact Form, available through my email provider, Hushmail at https://forms.hush.com/katehanton.msw.rsw. The secure contact form encrypts the information that you send to me, and the link to this form is also accessible from the Contact page. Although I take precautions in an effort to keep email communication private, its vulnerability to unauthorized access means that it is not a secure method of communication for sharing private information.
Before meeting for the first session, a phone consultation (free of charge) is often scheduled. This provides a more private place for us to talk a little bit about your situation, for you to ask questions, and get a sense of whether you would like to work together. It also helps me to determine if I have the necessary resources, skills and experience to assist you. The personal information you choose to share with me during the referral process is confidential, with some exceptions (see the section on Confidentiality below).
When you leave me a voice message, or send me an email, I will contact you as soon as possible, usually within 1-2 business days, unless stated otherwise on my outgoing voicemail message. Office hours are usually Tuesday to Friday.
Please note that I am not able to offer crisis services. If you need immediate help, please visit your nearest Emergency Department, call 911, or a local crisis line.
Most of the personal information, necessary for the provision of clinical social work services, is obtained when clients register, in-person, at their first counselling and therapy session. If you would prefer to do most of the initial paperwork process online, I can send you a link to a Secure Intake Form. There will be an Intake/Registration Form to complete (with details, such as name, date of birth, address, phone number, emergency contact, family doctor), and an Informed Consent statement to review - consisting of policies related to confidentiality, privacy, fees, and communication. Arriving a few minutes early for the session usually provides enough time to complete and review these forms. You'll be asked to provide your signed consent, indicating that you agree to be seen for counselling and therapy, understand and agree to the policies you've read through, and had the opportunity to ask questions. I'll provide you with a copy of the Informed Consent statement.
The Informed Consent statement is in compliance with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, 2004 (PIPEDA), and the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (PHIPA). As a registered social worker in Ontario, I am governed by the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW).
Personal health information is collected in order to maintain a working file to the standards of my profession and the OCSWSSW, to provide services in a manner that addresses your safety, to maintain professionalism, to assist in the process of billing for services, to meet other legal and regulatory requirements, and to maintain records pertaining to the operations of a business. I make every attempt to safeguard your personal information. Files are stored in a locked cabinet, in a secure area. Accounting data is de-identified, and I use an encrypted email and form provider, based in Canada. The office computer, mobile devices and back-up drives that may be used to communicate with you, or to store health care information are encrypted and password protected, with antivirus software and other security measures in place.
The information you share with me is confidential, and cannot be disclosed to anyone else unless you provide your informed, written consent. However, it is important to know that there are some exceptional circumstances where I am legally obligated to share information about you, or your situation, without your consent. These situations include: if I have any information about abuse or risk of abuse to a child; if I have a concern that a client may pose an imminent risk of harm to themselves or others; if I have information about serious misconduct by another social worker; if I must defend myself as part of a complaint filed with my professional college, or if I am required by law to release information as part of court action.
Thank you for reading this Privacy page. Please let me know if you would like to discuss any of the issues mentioned here. My contact details are at the bottom of this page.
(Updates: March 30, 2019; May 28, 2018)