Our Privacy Policy

Abma Counselling is in full compliance with the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) and the Personal Information Protection & Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). A complete review of our privacy policy is listed below.

Abma Counselling Privacy Policy

Because your privacy protection is a priority for us, Abma Counselling Services is in full compliance with the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) and the Personal Information Protection & Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). We are committed to collecting, using and disclosing personal information responsibly and only to the extent necessary for the services we provide.

 

Personal information refers to information about an identifiable individual and includes demographic information (e.g., name, date of birth, home address and telephone number), their health (e.g., presenting problem, health services provided to the individual), as well as other private matters. Personal information is not the same as business information (e.g., an individual's business address and telephone number), which is not protected by privacy legislation. Our administrative staff do not have access to your private clinical notes, and are limited to accessing your demographic information, counselling needs and appointment details.

No personal information will be communicated, directly or indirectly, to a third party without your informed and/or written consent. We retain personal information to ensure that we can answer any questions you might have about the services provided and for our own accountability to external regulatory bodies, the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO), the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) and the The Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSASSW). Your records are maintained and stored, then disposed of after a mandatory period of time in order to protect your privacy.

Disclosure of Personal Information

No personal information will be communicated, directly or indirectly, to a third party without your informed and written consent. Rare exceptions to this policy include the legal and/or ethical obligations stipulated by law. Each of our therapists is regulated by their respective College - including the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO), College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) and the The Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSASSW) - who may inspect our records as part of their regulatory activities in the best interest of public protection. External regulators have their own strict privacy obligations. Like all organizations, various governmental agencies (e.g., Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, Information and Privacy Commissioner, Human Rights Commission, etc.) have the authority to review our files as part of their mandates. In these circumstances, we may consult with professionals (e.g., lawyers, accountants) who will investigate the matter and report back to us.

 

As well, the cost of some goods/services provided by our practice to clients is paid for by third parties (e.g., WSIB, private insurance, motor vehicle insurance, EAP Companies, etc). These third party payers often have your consent or legislative authority to direct us to collect and disclose to them certain information in order to demonstrate client entitlement to this funding. 

 

Clients have a legal and moral right to know what information is contained about them in their record. Clients or their legal designates shall have access to all information which can be identified as pertaining to them (and only them) and which is stored in the client record, with the exception of information that is believed to be harmful, prohibited by the regulating Colleges or that is confidential about or from third parties. We will need to confirm your identity and legal right to have access to the information. We also reserve the right to charge a nominal administrative fee for such requests.

In the event you or a third party on your behalf wants a copy of your file, we may ask you to put your request in writing and provide consent. If we cannot give access to your record, we will provide an explanation within 30 days.

Disclosure of Personal Information

We uphold the primacy of protecting your personal information. For that reason, we have taken the following steps:

  • Paper information is stored either under supervision or secured in a locked or restricted area.

  • Electronic hardware is either under supervision or secured in a locked or restricted area at all times. In addition, passwords are used on computers.

  • Paper information is transmitted through sealed, addressed envelopes or boxes by reputable companies (e.g., Canada Post).

  • Electronic information is transmitted through a secure server.

  • Any files being transported are required to be stored in a secured area. 

  • Mental health practitioners and staff are trained to collect, use, and disclose personal information only as necessary to fulfil their duties and in accordance with our privacy policy.  

Retention and Destruction of Personal Information

As required by our external regulatory bodies, we retain personal information for 10 years following the client’s last contact or, if the client was less than 18 years of age at the time of last contact, for 10 years following the day the client would have turned 18. To safeguard your privacy, we destroy all paper files containing personal information. We destroy electronic information by deleting it and when the hardware is discarded, we ensure the hard drive is physically destroyed.

If you have any other questions about our privacy policy,

please call us at (905) 321-0550.

Abma Counselling Services has been providing counselling services in Niagara since 2008. What began as a solo practice by Steve Abma has grown into a group practice of six experienced therapists providing treatment for a wide variety of issues, including depression, anxiety, ADD, relationships, marriage, addictions & stress. We are a team of dedicated professionals, passionate about helping individuals, couples and families feel and be their best.  Serving Niagara Falls, St. Catharines, St. David's, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Virgil, Fort Erie, Ridgeway, Beamsville, Jordan, Vineland, Grimsby, Thorold and Welland.

​© Steve Abma. Published by Steve Abma.