Welcome to The Toronto Centre for Emotional Health. We do not collect any information on you while browsing this website, the following policy only applies to you once you start receiving care or other services through our organization.
This document outlines The Toronto Centre for Emotional Health’s privacy practices and policies and provides information about confidentiality and laws related to the collection, use and disclosure of your personal health information.
Personal health information is data that can be used to identify a person and details of their healthcare. This may include contact information (e.g., name, address, telephone number, e-mail address), personal characteristics (e.g., age, gender, cultural/ethnic background), and health details (e.g., presenting issues, health history, medical/mental health conditions, treatments being received).
The Toronto Centre for Emotional Health is composed of a team of social workers, social work students, registered psychotherapists, and administrative personnel. We provide care to those who seek treatment through our clinic.
In order to provide healthcare services, The Toronto Centre for Emotional Health will collect some personal health information about you.
The nature of personal information collected may include information required to maintain a working file according to the standards of our profession and the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW) or the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) such as your name, address, phone numbers, date of birth, other contact information, names of others who are significant to your situation (family, your doctor, and other professionals) and sometimes their contact information. We may also ask you to complete questionnaires or other self-report tests to enable a better understanding of your health-related function and treatment needs.
We may also collect information about your school or work, any correspondence sent to or received from us, any consents or other documents you have signed, copies of papers you have given us and other documentation particular to the nature of our involvement.
We will also collect information necessary for billing purposes, which may include information about other third-party payers (for example, if someone else will be paying on your behalf), copies of all receipts given to you including copies of electronic payments, copies of invoices and billing records and information related to the scheduling of appointments with you.
The primary purpose of collecting this information is so we may:
> Evaluate your health-related needs,
> Recommend appropriate treatment options,
> Provide counselling and therapy according yo your needs,
> Maintain a clinical file that meets standards of our profession and the
OCSWSSW and CRPO.
> Provide this service for you in a manner that ensures your safety.
> Maintain a high standard of professionalism in the provision of service.
> Assist in the process of billing for our services.
> Meet other legal and regulatory requirements.
> Maintain records pertaining to the operations of a business and to make these records available if requested.
In managing our practice, we make use of a secure, web-based practice management system to store and manage our client records. This includes information such as client appointments, billing documents, session notes, contact details, and other client-related information and documents. The system we use is encrypted, has servers exclusively located in Canada (Toronto and Montreal), and access to the system is granted only on an as-needed basis and governed by our strict confidentiality policy. Additionally, all practice data in the system is routinely backed up to ensure the privacy and protection of sensitive client information and to assist us with PHIPA compliance
Disclosure of Personal Health Information:
In accordance with the laws, professional standards, and ethical codes we are required to follow, the information you share with The Toronto Centre for Emotional Health remains confidential. This means your information will not be disclosed to anyone without your consent.
There may be occasions when we must share information about you or your situation without your written consent. These situations are very exceptional but may include the following:
1. Harm to Self / Others
If there is reason to believe that you are in danger of harming yourself or others in ways that may be life-threatening, The Toronto Centre for Emotional Health is ethically obliged to take action to ensure your safety and/or the safety of others. These steps may include contacting your identified emergency contact person, a family member or close other, seeking hospitalization, contacting the police, notifying others at risk, or some combination of these actions to ensure you and/or others are protected. When possible, we will consult with you and involve you in planning for your safety or the safety of others.
2. Abuse / Neglect
If there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a child under 16 years of age is, or may be, in need of protection, we must, by law, report this information to the proper authorities. Examples of reportable situations include physical harm/abuse, sexual abuse, emotional harm (e.g., verbal abuse, humiliation, witnessing violence), or a pattern of neglect or failure to protect a child from harm.
Additionally, if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a resident of a nursing, retirement or other long-term care home has suffered harm, or is at risk of harm due to improper or incompetent treatment or care, unlawful conduct, abuse or neglect, or possible misuse or misappropriation of the resident’s money or funding, The Toronto Centre for Emotional Health is required to report this information.
3. Sexual Abuse by a Regulated Health Professional
If there are reasonable grounds to believe that another regulated health professional has sexually harassed or abused a client, The Toronto Centre for Emotional Health must, by law, report this health professional’s name and information related to the sexual abuse to the appropriate regulatory body.
4. Court Order
Our records can be subpoenaed by a court order and The Toronto Centre for Emotional Health may be required to testify and give information obtained during the course of any assessment and treatment sessions. This information would never be provided voluntarily without your direct request or permission without the court order. If the police present a Court Order, Search Warrant or Urgent Demand for records related to a missing person, The Toronto Centre for Emotional Health is required to provide the information and/or records sought by police in order to assist with locating that missing person.
5. Audit by a regulatory body
It is important to note that as registered healthcare professionals, we may also be required to make our files available for audit by our regulatory body (e.g., OCSWSSW) or by the government. These audits are confidential, and a record of the audit will be inserted into your client file.
There are times where we may also share pertinent anonymous information about certain clients within the confidential context of supervision, for the purpose of providing the highest quality care in the benefit of the clients. However, all identifying information will remain confidential.
There will be times when we may ask you permission to use identifying information in the context of supervision. On these occasions, we will always discuss this information-sharing with you, and we will look at the benefits and consequences of speaking to others about your situation. We would then ask for your informed, written consent to share your information.
While these events are rare, we would like to help you become aware that these possibilities do exist. Our primary goal is to foster a safe space where you feel comfortable and able to explore and disclose personal concerns. If there are other limits of confidentiality in your situation, we will identify and discuss them with you before proceeding with your service. When we work individually with children and adolescents, we will attempt to keep parents informed of their child’s/adolescent’s progress and attempt to keep parents involved in the therapeutic process. However, in the case of older adolescents, they are afforded the right to privacy.
Access to Your Personal Health Information & Requests for Correction:
With a few exceptions, you have the right to access or amend your personal health information. This means that you may request to read clinical notes in your file, ask for corrections to be made to factual information, and for a copy of your health information.
In these cases, your clinician will review the clinical notes with you and can help you understand any information that is not clear (e.g., short-forms, technical terms, etc.). Copies of your file will take time to provide – we will provide an estimate of the timeframe and cost when your request is made.
If we cannot give you access, we will advise you in writing within 30 days if possible, and will outline the reason, as best we can, as to why we cannot give you access.
Email Communication :
The Toronto Centre for Emotional Health offers e-mail communication as a method of contact between yourself and our clinic. We use e-mail to provide appointment confirmations and reminders, and to send invoices for services rendered. We may also use e-mail to communicate with you about appointment bookings and cancellations).E-mail is convenient and efficient; however, communicating by e-mail also encompasses risks that should also be considered.
Every time you send a regular email, your messages and your privacy are at risk of being viewed, intercepted or modified by 3rd parties before your emails will be directed to our inbox. We recommend that clients request/schedule consultations (if needed in between sessions) via our secure client messaging system. We don’t accept liability for any interference with or damage to your computer system, software, or data occurring in connection with your use of insecure email to communicate with us at the Toronto Centre for Emotional Health.
We will use reasonable means to protect the security and confidentiality of e-mail information sent and received. However, because of the risks outlined above, we cannot guarantee the security and confidentiality of e-mail communication.
We will make reasonable efforts to read and respond to e-mails promptly. However, we cannot guarantee that any e-mail received will be read and responded to within any particular time frame. For this reason, e-mail should not be used for emergencies or other time-sensitive matters.
E-mail should not be used to discuss sensitive personal health information, such as that related to mental health, disability or substance use. Therefore, we will not discuss such matters over e-mail.
Internet and Telephone based services:
The Toronto Centre for Emotional Health offers video and telephone-based options for counselling and treatment services. You will discuss with your therapist which mode of service you prefer, and what may be recommended based on your needs. Changes can be made throughout the course of your treatment with respect to the mode of therapy you both decide to use.
Virtual care through video chat requires the use of a webcam or smartphone, a link to the virtual session will be provided by e-mail prior to the session. We highly recommend you test your video/audio settings the day before your session.
In the event of technical problems during your session, a back-up plan (e.g., a phone number where you can be reached) will be used to restart the session or to reschedule it. Your therapist may elect to use a different videoconferencing platform; the benefits/risks of that platform will be discussed with you prior to beginning virtual sessions.
Telephone-based sessions will involve your clinician contacting you by phone at your scheduled appointment time. Please note that in some cases, the Caller ID may show up as “Unknown” or blocked. We ask you to ensure you are available and can answer the call at the scheduled appointment time.
Engaging in treatment using virtual care or by telephone encompasses risks that should also be considered.
Consent to the use of virtual and telephone-based sessions indicates your agreement with the following conditions:
> Confidentiality still applies for mental health tele-services, and the session
will not be recorded by the therapist or yourself without permission from the
> It is important to be in a quiet, private space that is free of distractions during
> It is important to use a secure internet connection rather than public Wi-Fi.
> For child/adolescent clients, permission of your parent/legal guardian (and
their contact information) is required to engage in tele-sessions.
We are required to retain your personal health information for a period of 7 years after our last contact with you (for adults) or 7 years after you turn 18 years of age (for children), whichever is later. Any personal health information that is stored electronically is protected by appropriate security measures (PHIPA-compliant software that includes bank-level encryption). After 7 years, your personal information is destroyed in a secure manner that protects your privacy.
If you have any questions about our privacy practices and procedures, we encourage you to contact:
Privacy Officer, Risk Management and Founder
The Toronto Centre for Emotional Health