Your privacy is our concern
Privacy and confidentiality of personal information is important at New Hope Counselling Centre. We are committed to responsibly handling your personal information. The following further describes our privacy policies.
What is Personal Information?
Personal information that is obtained from the client refers to information about an identifiable individual. This personal information includes an individual’s personal characteristics, such as, name, date of birth, home address and telephone number, health condition, presenting problem(s), health history, health services received by the individual, social situation, their activities and views. Personal information is different from business information, which is an individual’s business address, and telephone number, which is not protected by privacy legislation.
As a client you have the legal right to obtain access to your records, we simply require a form of access to be signed before viewing. An exception applies if access would significantly jeopardize your health or safety (the client) or another person. In all cases of access you as the client will be consulted with first and foremost and only with your written consent can others have access to your record other than your Counsellor/Therapist.
Collection of Personal Information
Collecting, using, and disclosing information is only used to directly serve the client. The primary purpose for collecting personal information is to provide counseling and psychotherapy services. Such as collecting information about a client’s health history, family history, social situation, emotional, mental, and physical condition and function in order to better assess their needs for therapy purposes.
Protecting Personal Information
At New Hope Counselling Centre we understand the importance of protecting personal information. For that reason, we have taken the following steps:
- Paper information is stored in a locked or restricted area.
- Electronic hardware is either under supervision or secured in a locked or restricted area at all times and with a secure password.
- Paper information is transmitted through sealed, addressed envelopes.
- Electronic information is transmitted either through a direct line or is anonymized or encrypted.
- Any files that are transported are stored in a locked area such as a car trunk, a carrying case with a lock.
External consultants and agencies with access to personal information must enter into privacy agreements with us.
Retention and Destruction of Personal Information
Out of necessity New Hope Counselling Centre retains personal information for some time to ensure that ongoing therapy processes are accurate and to be able to answer questions you might have about the services you have received. However our goal is not to keep any personal information for too long in order to protect your privacy.
Client files are required by law to be kept for ten years following the client’s last visit.
Please note that we do keep only general personal information for the purposes of general correspondence. If an individual desires to be removed from all such general correspondence then that will be done so immediately upon contact.
A confetti shredder destroys all paper files containing personal information. Electronic information is destroyed by deletion and where a hard drive is discarded it is physically destroyed.
No one other than authorized health professionals in the client’s circle of care will be able to access your (client’s) records. Privacy protections are in place to ensure that records cannot be seen, altered or removed by others. Paper records are kept under lock and key, and electronic records stored on a computer must be password protected. Computers used to store records have firewall and virus protections, and are backed up on a regular basis.
All information which you reveal to your counsellor/therapist, including test results, notes, and records is confidential and will not be released to any outside person or agency without your written authorization. Where children are being counselled their legal guardian or parent must be present and have signed a consent form. There are several circumstances, which require release of information without patient consent: (1.) If, in the counsellor’s opinion, revealing the information would be necessary to prevent a person’ death or serious injury, (2.) If a patient is being evaluated or is in treatment by order of the court of law, the results of the evaluation and/or treatment must be revealed to the court, (3.) In instances where there is evidence or admission of child neglect or abuse. (4.) In addition, where insurance companies are involved, the insurance company will require information regarding diagnosis and a description of services rendered in order to process the claims, (5.) Anywhere where the laws of Canada require information to be forfeit be it understood that the law in these special cases will be followed. (6) In the case where there is third party payment of fees, i.e. a parent(s) of a child is paying the fees, privacy of the sessions are disclosed to the parents of children less than 18 years of age without written permission of the child. If the child is 18 years of age or older, no disclosure is given to the parent(s) without the written permission of the child and that within the agreed guidelines.