Information that is provided from a client to his or her psychologist is strictly confidential. This means that no information is shared with or released to others without explicit consent from the client. The only exceptions to this are situations in which Ontario law requires or permits this information to be shared without consent.These situations include:
If there is reason to believe that a client poses an imminent and serious danger to the self or others. In these cases, psychologists and psychotherapists are required to inform others who may be able to mitigate the danger. This may involve contacting relevant authorities, others who can intervene (e.g., loved ones), or the person to whom a threat was directed. Only information that is relevant to ensuring the safety of the client or others will be shared.
If there is reason to believe a child's welfare may be at risk (e.g., through abuse or neglect). In these cases, psychologists and psychotherapists are required to report all relevant information to the Children's Aid Society (CAS). It is then up to CAS whether any action needs to be taken in order to ensure the safety of the child or children.
If a client reports sexual abuse by a Registered Health Professional in Ontario (e.g., physician, chiropractor, psychologist, psychotherapist). In these cases, psychologists and psychotherapists are required to report the name of the health professional and details of the abuse to the professional's regulatory college. The name of the client is not shared, however, without the client's consent.
If a client's clinical file is subpoenaed by a court of law. In these cases, psychologists are required to release any information requested. When appropriate, psychologists may make a request to the court that certain information contained in the file not be released. It is up to the court, however, whether such requests will be honoured.