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 capable to make decisions about taking specific drugs but that you are not capable 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.
Will anyone know if I go for healthcare?
A health practitioner should not give out any information about you to anyone (including your parents) without your consent unless you have been found incapable.
The consent you give should be done on a “Consent to Release Information” form that says exactly what information you allow them to share and who they are allowed to share it with. Before you sign a consent form, always read it carefully to make sure you agree with everything on it. You can ask for changes and withdraw your consent at any time.
You can also ask your health practitioner at the beginning to respect your rights and not tell anyone (including your parents) about your treatment and the information that you share with 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.
- Anyone who works 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 tell someone that you have been abused, neglected or poorly treated, they must report this to the Children’s Aid Society.
- If you say you are going to harm someone else, they may have to tell the police.
Can I see my healthcare records?
Yes. You have the right to see your healthcare records (also called “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 (eg. by the health practitioner or a Children’s Aid Society).
Who else can see my healthcare records?
In general, no one else can see your records without your consent. Any consent that you give should be done on a Consent to Release Information Form. Before you sign a consent form, always read it carefully to make sure you agree with everything on 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. You can ask for changes and withdraw your consent at any time.
- If you are under 16 and your records include 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.
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. Before any treatment, 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.
Can I change my mind after I consented to treatment?
Yes. You can withdraw your consent at any time 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 telling your health practitioner that you don’t want the treatment anymore. In this case, you should sign, date and keep a copy of your letter.