Consent & Privacy

  1. What is health care?

    Health care includes any procedure performed or prescribed by a health practitioner to diagnose or treat a physical or mental health condition. Examples of health practitioners are doctors, nurses, dentists, psychologists and psychiatrists.

  2. Can I see a health practitioner by myself?

    Yes, you can see a health practitioner by yourself and without your parents involvement unless the health practitioner decides that you are incapable. Being capable or incapable depends on your ability to understand the information you are given about the treatment, your ability to make decisions based on that information, and how complicated the treatment is. For example: a doctor may decide that you are able to make decisions about taking specific drugs but that you are not able to decide whether to undergo surgery.

    If you are 12 years of age or older and you are in the care of a Children’s Aid Society, you do not need permission to see a counsellor.

  3. Will anyone tell my parents?

    A health practitioner should not be giving out any information about you to anyone without your permission, including your parents or unless you have been found incapable. Any permission that you give should be done on a Consent Form that says exactly what information you are agreeing to share and who they are allowed to share it with.

    You can ask health practitioners from the beginning to respect your rights and not tell your parents (or anyone else) about the things you say to them.

    If you are 12 years of age or older and you are in the care of a Children’s Aid Society, your health practitioner cannot tell your foster parent, worker or anyone else about the things you talk about unless you give your consent to share this information.

    Exceptions:

    • All professionals who work with children under 16 are required by law to report all reasonable suspicions that a child is being harmed and in need of protection. For example, if you are under 16 and share that you have been abused, neglected or poorly treated, the counsellor must report this.
    • If you say you are going to harm someone else, they may have to tell the police.
  4. Who can see my Clinical Records?

    You have the right to see your Clinical Records as long as you have not been found incapable. These records include notes, letters and reports written by a health practitioner about you. Exception: you may be stopped from seeing your record if it has been decided that it is bad for you to see it (i.e. by the health practitioner or a Children’s Aid Society).

    In general, no one else can see your Clinical Record without your permission. Any permission that you give should be done on a Consent to Release Information Form. Read this form carefully to make sure you agree with everything before you sign it. If you only want specific parts of your records shared, then you should list exactly what you want to share and write down that everything else must be kept private. Exceptions:

    • If you are under 16 and your record includes any information that there is a reasonable suspicion that you are being harmed and in need of protection, the suspicion must be reported to the Children’s Aid Society.
    • If you are found incapable then your record can be seen by your substitute decision maker.
  5. What if I am not sure about a certain treatment?

    If you are unsure, ask lots of questions. Your consent or refusal for each treatment must be both voluntary and informed. Your health practitioner should explain:

    • what the treatment is and what its for,
    • how they expect it will help you,
    • the possible risks and side effects,
    • other options and alternatives that might exist, and
    • the likely consequences of not having the treatment.
  6. Can I change my mind after I consent?

    Yes, at any time you can withdraw your consent as long as you have not been found incapable. Tell your health practitioner that you don’t want the treatment anymore. You may also want to write a short letter saying this (sign, date and keep a copy).