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Confidentiality

The information you provide during any consultation, meeting or session is private and confidential. That means that we are not allowed to talk to anyone else, unless we have your written permission to do so.  Even the fact that you have consulted us as clients is confidential.  That means we are not even allowed to tell someone else that you have consulted us, unless we have your permission to do so. There are however some exceptions to confidentiality. Whether or not confidentiality can and should be broken is governed by a number of federal and provincial laws and by the regulatory body, the College of Psychologists in Ontario, which governs how we practise as psychologists in the Province of Ontario. There are five situations in which confidentiality can be waived, without your permission.

1. 
Harm to Self. If you are at immediate risk for ending your life or committing suicide, we (as registered psychologists) are expected to and will take all appropriate steps to ensure your safety and reduce the risks of your harming yourself.

2. 
Harm to Others: If you are at immediate risk for harming or injuring someone else, we (as  registered psychologists) are expected to and will take all appropriate steps ensure the safety of others. This could include informing that person of the threat to his or her well-being as well as informing the police of that risk.

3. 
Abuse: As part of your assessment, we may ask if you have ever been physically, emotionally or sexually abused by someone. If you are under the age of 16 and say that you have been abused by a specific person, then we are required by law to report that abuse to the Children's Aid Society, which will then determine whether or not any further investigation or action is required or needed.

4. 
Court Order: Although extremely unlikely, there is the possibility that your record, chart or file containing information about you or your visits can be requested to be reviewed by a court of law. In the event that we receive that request, our response will be to deny the request, arguing that your record is confidential and that the information cannot be released. This will allow you the opportunity to hire a lawyer to grant us time to negotiate what information (if any or all) should be released to the court.

5. 
Audit: Although rare, there is the possibility that your record, chart or file containing information about you or your visits can be audited by the College of Psychologists of Ontario. Each year, the College of Psychologists of Ontario audits the files of registered psychologists to ensure that psychologists practise psychology in a responsible and ethical manner. The auditors are bound by law to respect your confidentiality and are in fact not interested in you as much as they are interested in us.