COVID-19 has the potential to affect all of us in many ways. At DDO Health Law, and our sister firm, INQ Data Law, we are gathering the lessons already learned in operating in this new environment, and will post them here. This includes on clinical matters, health services delivery (including virtual care); privacy and information management; corporate and commercial matters; governance; regulated health professions; procurement; risk management (including reputational risk); public policy and more.

The health and safety of our staff and clients is of paramount importance. In light of the pandemic, we have closed our offices in Toronto and Ottawa but continue to deliver uninterrupted services.

We are proud to have taken measures in 2019 to operate a seamless legal services experience for lawyers and clients working virtually. Last year, we moved to an agile office space that supports remote working, purchased technical tools to support a completely paperless office, and we have equipped our lawyers with resources to easily work remotely, including using video tools to stay connected. Our continued goal is to provide exceptional service.

In the meantime, here is the full text of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, which applies when an emergency has been declared as is the case with COVID-19 today, March 17: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90e09#BK13.

This Act creates broad authority for emergency orders to be issued, including to compel the collection, use and disclosure of information where necessary to prevent, respond to or alleviate the effects of the emergency. Orders are in place for as long as necessary; and with limitations on intrusiveness. See s. 7.0.2(4) for a list of emergency orders that may be made by the Lieutenant Governor in Council (or if delegated, by a provincial Minister or the Commissioner of Emergency Management). See also paragraph 13 of section 7.02(4) for authority to make emergency orders compelling the collection, use or disclosure of information during a declared emergency. See sections 7.02(7)-(9) for the limits on intrusiveness of such orders – including special rules for research if information is de-identified or consent of the person is obtained.

We wish you and your families continued health and safety in these unprecedented times as we work collectively to contain COVID-19’s impact.