Information Collected, Cookies and Regular Email

 
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Your privacy and confidentiality are very important to me. The information you share with me will be kept confidential except for any legal or professional obligations to do otherwise. For example, it is my duty to report any information regarding child protection concerns, imminent risk of harm to oneself or to others. In extreme circumstances your file may be subpoenaed to court or I may need to defend myself to my regulatory body, in which case your personal information may then be disclosed. Should you wish me to disclose your information to someone/ agency, I will need a signed consent form completed prior to the release of this information. From time to time I may seek peer consultation about aspects of concerns presented without providing any identifying information to affect your privacy and confidentiality. These colleagues are also bound by the ethics of confidentiality.

I do not collect information beyond what I require to work in a therapeutic manner with you, to meet the expectations of my regulatory body- the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, and to maintain appropriate records including billing information related to the general operation of a business. Your information is kept on an encrypted external hard drive which is securely locked when not in use and my computer always has up to date anti-virus software. Any paper files are kept within a locked filing cabinet as well. Any forms on my website adhere to Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology which encrypts and keeps your information secure. While accessing my website you should see a small lock button beside the website address which indicates the security measures are active. Should you ever wish to review your file or make a correction to something within your file, please do not hesitate to speak with me about this. Please note this may not be possible immediately upon your request due to the safeguards in place to protect your information.

Cookies (no not the yummy ones you eat) are stored bits of information on your device (computer, tablet, phone) to improve your experience on the website. Cookies remember preferences and understand the use of features. This website utilizes functional and required cookies for this purpose, however the analytic and performance cookies have been disabled so that IP addresses and other personal data is not collected. You may at any time disable and/or delete the cookies in your browser preferences.

Although I do everything within my power to keep your information secure, email communication is particularly vulnerable to access unauthorized by myself. For example, if email is routed through the United States of America or stored on an American server, it is subject to the Patriot Act and may be monitored. Therefore, I encourage you to only use email as a means for scheduling and not for sharing private information.


Informed Consent

 
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As is expected, you will need to provide me with some personal information in order to receive counselling services. Such information will be provided at the time of registration for services including name, date of birth, address, phone number, and emergency contact information. For in person counselling this may be obtained at the time of our first appointment or by phone prior to the appointment. This information may otherwise be obtained through a secure online forum should you wish to receive only cybercounselling services.

You will also be asked to sign an Informed Consent document which outlines various policies related to counselling services, including the privacy and confidentiality statement, means of communication, fees and provides your consent to obtain counselling. You may ask any questions you may have regarding the statement prior to signing and you will be provided with a copy for your own records. Part of this document will outline that I cannot guarantee the results of counselling services. I can however commit to this being a safe and supportive place to engage in the process of healing and moving forward. Part of this process may result in intense emotions prior to healing beginning. Either one of us are able to decide to terminate counselling at any time, although generally this will be a mutually agreed upon decision.

The Informed Consent document complies with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, 2004 (PIPEDA) and the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (PHIPA). I am further held accountable for my provision of counselling services through the regulatory body Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW) with whom I am registered.


PrivacEmail software and security

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All of your personal information is encrypted using 128 bit Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology and housed on a secure server. All information is encrypted for your peace of mind.

All Private Conversation and Text-Chat messages sent within our PrivacEmail system are secured by scrambling and encoding your messages with 2048 bit encryption so that only you and your counsellor can access them. Your communication is encrypted during transmission and when it is stored. Unlike regular email, the PrivacEmail system is a closed communications system. This allows for connection with your counsellor without worry of unauthorized access to your information and messages.

As this system is Web-based, none of the information is stored on your computer. This means that your information is safe even on shared computers as long as you log out from your session. As always, your protection is furthered by your own responsibility to keep your username and password safe from others. The system uses a 5 try lockout system for your security, so that if logging in fails 5 times, they are locked out.