Health Connect Client Handbook

Health Connect Counselling Partners (HCCP) is a group of six mental health counselling agencies with a combined 250 years of service to our communities. Starling Community Services (formerly Lutherwood) is one of those partners.

Our tagline is our commitment to you: Caring People. Strengthening Lives.


At our Mental Health locations, our goal is to give people the tools, strategies, and confidence they need to cope with their struggles. Our mental health treatment programs work to prevent further social, emotional, and behavioural difficulties for young people and their families at home, school and in the community. Building on each individual’s unique strengths and needs, we develop progress plans and strategies using therapeutic relationships and best practices that help people to achieve their goals. In addition, we use an individualized and strength-based approach in the work we do to support the young people and their families. We also consider and respect cultural, ethnic, spiritual, and religious traditions and encourage people to engage in opportunities for personal growth and development.

With us working together, we see positive changes in the lives of the individuals and families who turn to us for help.

Our mental health services are expanding with culturally aware staff, and we continually educate ourselves on the diverse needs of our community. We invite you to read more about Lutherwood, our Mission, Vision and Values, and about our commitment to Anti-Racism and Land-Acknowledgement throughout our website at

Terms of Service

In order to participate in our programs, you have signed a Terms of Service. The Terms of Service is intended to make sure you understand that the service you are requesting is voluntary and that you know what is involved in the program you are agreeing to. This agreement clearly outlines the things that Lutherwood is responsible for and committed to provide as well as your responsibilities while participating in our programs. We will be working together to make this service work.

If you are dissatisfied with what is happening, you can either ask to change the agreement or to end it. Some parts of this agreement may be changed but other parts cannot be changed because the laws and standards governing our service require them to be a part of our agreements (e.g. duty to report, confidentiality, etc.). As a voluntary service, you can choose to stop participating any time. We ask that you let us know when you are unhappy, and we will try to problem-solve the situation with you; however, the final choice of stopping service is yours.

If we are concerned that the agreement is not being maintained, we will contact you and ask for your commitment. If you don’t wish to provide it, we can assume that you are withdrawing your voluntary consent to participate in the program. We sincerely hope that this never occurs and will make every effort to work out whatever concerns you have with you. However, in the end if things cannot be resolved, we may need to withdraw our service.

What We Mean by "Voluntary Service"

If you are under 16 years of age both you and your parent(s)/caregiver(s) will be required to give consent to enter service voluntarily. If consent is not given by both you and your parent, we will try to assist in problem-solving and finding a resolution. In some instances, there are steps that may be taken when parents see a clear need to obtain help for their child and the child is unwilling.

If you are over the age of 12 and want individual service without family involvement, this can be provided, and your wishes respected.

Privacy Statement

Lutherwood takes privacy very seriously and is committed to protecting the trust and privacy of its employees, clients, residents, donors, volunteers and other stakeholders. We recognize that maintaining this trust requires that we be transparent and accountable in how we treat the information that you share with us.

Your Personal Health Information

Lutherwood programs follow the privacy principles as outlined in the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA), as well as the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) where they apply. Many safeguards are in place to protect the information you share with us. If you have any questions about our privacy safeguards, please ask your worker or ask to speak with our Privacy Officer.

Purpose of Information Being Collected and Used

When you enter one of our programs, we start a file. We only collect and use information necessary for the purpose of providing the agreed upon service. A more specific purpose statement for collecting and using your information can be found in the program handbook on this website or provided to you at your appointment.

On an ongoing basis, Lutherwood is required to report to our funders non-identifying aggregate (which means total or overall) data collected about clients using our services for the purpose of demonstrating accountability and measuring the effectiveness of services. Examples of aggregate data reported to funders include number of individuals served and outcomes of service.

Also, Lutherwood may use non-identifying data externally such as total numbers and/or quotes in proposals, research projects and/or social media for the purpose of seeking funding, promoting and making service improvements within our agency, region and beyond. Internally, Lutherwood uses non-identifying aggregate data for the purpose of informing risk management, quality improvement and planning.

Direct and Indirect Collection of Information

Information will be collected from you directly as part of your participation in service. There may be circumstances where information is collected indirectly when it reduces risk or when it is not possible to collect it directly from you in an accurate, complete and/or timely manner.

Your Right to Access Your Records

It is your right to have access to your file. You may request to see your file and/or request a copy of information from your file. Certain exceptions apply as outlined in our access to records policy and will be explained to you at the time of request. To access your records as a current client, a request is made for an appointment with the Program Manager. If you are a past client, an appointment request is made with the Program Director.

Your Right and Responsibility to an Accurate File

You are responsible to provide accurate and up-to-date information and changes and have the right to correct information in your files. You may request that staff make corrections to your records where the record is shown to be incomplete or inaccurate. Staff may require that you put the request in writing to ensure accuracy of changes.

Storage of Records

Your file may be in paper and/or electronic format. Paper files are kept in a locked file cabinet within a locked room. Electronic files are part of a web-based client information system that has many security features in place. Your file cannot be accessed without an assigned and secure password.

Your files are kept for as long as required by standards and legislation. You may ask your worker how long records are kept specific to your program area.

Your Informed Consent

A consent is your verbal or written permission allowing us to ask for and/or share information with specific agencies, organizations or individuals. An "informed" consent for collection use and release of information, means that the purpose has been explained to you in language and format that is understandable to you.

Your Implied or Understood Consent

We would like you to be aware that as a participant in a Lutherwood program or service, your personal health information may be shared with other relevant Lutherwood staff members and joint service delivery partner staff who are working with you and your care team.

Your Verbal or Written Consent

For staff to either collect information or talk to third party such as a counsellor, family doctor, school, caseworker, landlord etc., we ask for your verbal and/or written permission or ‘consent.’

Limits to Confidentiality

We will not disclose your information to any third party without consent except where required by law, where failure to do so might result in serious injury or death of self or others, or where there is knowledge or suspicion of child abuse.

Your Right to Withdraw or Withhold Consent

Consent can be withdrawn at any time by informing us in writing. Once consent is withdrawn, we can no longer seek or share information. Withdrawal of consent cannot reverse any action that was already taken with your previous consent.

Electronic Communication, Phone, and Video Services Consents

Electronic Communication Consent

(as per Service Agreement)

Lutherwood recognizes that the use of technology can be a timely and friendly way to communicate however before we agree to communicate via email or text, it is important that everyone understands and accepts the risks and guidelines involved.

  1. The privacy and security of electronic communication through email and smart phones cannot be guaranteed. To ensure that all confidential information is secure, you are advised to use password protection on all electronic devices.
  2. Electronic communication is not always the best way to communicate. At times a face-to-face meeting with staff may be suggested.
  3. You are encouraged to always double check where you have addressed an email or text before sending, as it can be misaddressed and sent to unintended or unknown persons.
  4. Staff’s email address or contact information is not to be included in any mailing lists. If this occurs, it may result in not being allowed to continue electronic communication with Lutherwood staff.
  5. Deleted emails may not be permanently deleted; back-up copies may exist on a computer or in cyberspace.
  6. Emails can introduce viruses into a computer system and potentially damage the files. Emails can be viewed by Lutherwood IT staff for security purposes.
  7. Emails and text messages will be summarized and entered into your file as part of your record. Client records can be used as evidence in court. All copies of emails will be deleted by Lutherwood.
  8. No phone or online video software is entirely secure. Lutherwood computer systems have strong internal security, which helps protect your privacy and confidentiality. Lutherwood will not be responsible for breaches of your confidential information if they are not the direct result of intentional misconduct.
  9. There is no guarantee that staff will respond to email or text messages immediately. If you need immediate assistance please do not call your worker, call 911 or seek assistance in other ways appropriate.
  10. You are asked to inform your worker of any changes to your email/text address.

Phone and Video Services

(as per Service Agreement)

The use of technology can sometimes be a helpful way to provide service to you and your family, when meeting in person is not possible or suitable. However, before we agree to offer services (such as support or therapy) through phone or video options, it is important that you and your family understand and accept the risks and guidelines involved.

  1. To ensure your privacy, you should choose a private and quiet place where our conversation cannot be overheard and you are free from distraction. When meeting by phone or video, there is a risk of others finding out about you working with Lutherwood if you did not want them to know.
  2. You are asked not to record the session without the direct permission of everyone involved.
  3. All individuals present for the phone or video session must be within view of the camera or acknowledge their presence so that everyone is fully aware of who is participating.
  4. It is necessary to let staff know of your location and provide an emergency contact, and that in the event of an emergency, emergency services may be called to your location.
  5. There could be interruptions in meetings due to technology or connection failures, and we will create a plan in advance for what to do if this happens.
  6. Everything outlined in the service agreement that applies to in-person meetings also applies to phone and video meetings. Phone and video meetings will be summarized and entered into your file as part of your record, in the same way as in-person meetings.
  7. Phone and video meetings are not always the best way to communicate, and staff may decide that they are no longer appropriate. Face-to-face meetings with staff or other alternatives may be suggested if phone or video meetings are no longer suitable.
  8. You are requested to use a private internet connection rather than public/free wifi, as this increases confidentiality and security.
  9. You are responsible for paying for your own internet costs.
  10. You are to use passwords on all your devices as this controls who has access and improves confidentiality and security.
  11. No phone or online video software is entirely secure. Lutherwood computer systems have strong internal security, which helps protect your privacy and confidentiality. Lutherwood will not be responsible for breaches of your confidential information if they are not the direct result of intentional misconduct of Lutherwood.
Professional Ethics

The counsellors at Lutherwood are bound by the Code of Ethics of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario, the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. You may ask to see the codes at any time. You have the right to ask any questions you wish about your therapy. You are free to leave therapy whenever it makes sense for you to do so.

Rights and Responsibilities

Your Rights

While receiving services from Lutherwood, every individual, family, and youth has given rights. Where relevant to your program and the service you are receiving, your participation is protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and all these guarantee your:

  • Right to legal counsel
  • Right to be informed
  • Right to be heard
  • Right to voice concerns or complaints
  • Right to know of the Office of Child & Family Service Advocacy
  • Right to know your responsibilities in the program
  • Right to receive and participate in an appropriate education, training or work program
  • Right to receive medical and dental care
  • Right to privacy of mail
  • Right to religious practice
  • Right to privacy
  • Right to personal property
  • Right to visits with family
  • Rights of communication
  • Right to a plan of care/reintegration plan

Your rights regarding participation in Lutherwood’s program or service will be reviewed with you, and/or your parent(s)/guardian(s) during the intake process. These rights include:

  1. Recognizing that the treatment service is voluntary and giving your consent to the service. Consent means that you clearly understand all aspects of the service.
  2. You have the right to participate in designing your Treatment Plan including setting goals, strategies and time limits.
  3. You have the right to be informed of any information, decisions and actions that will affect you.
  4. You have the right to participate in all decision making relevant to you.
  5. You have the right to review and, if necessary, correct Agency information your file/record.

Your Responsibilities

The following is a list of responsibilities that will help you get the most out of your experience while participating in our programs and services:

  • Let us know your needs in the most accurate and complete way possible so we can provide the most appropriate service options.
  • Be respectful of other clients, volunteers, students, staff and property.
  • Contact us when you’re unable to keep appointments or to notify us of any change of address or other information relevant to treatment.
  • Inform us of health and safety concerns and any accommodation required.
  • Provide feedback on services and programs.
  • Understand and follow the terms of the Terms of Service.
Client Complaint Process

At times, you may feel upset or unhappy about what happens while you’re involved with Lutherwood’s programs and services. Exploring your thoughts and feelings, even when they are negative is important. If, however, you have major concerns and feel that they are not being addressed, you have access to the Client Complaint Procedures outlined below.

Where there is a concern about the service you are receiving, Lutherwood needs to know and is committed to resolving all complaints.

There will not be any negative consequences as a result of making a complaint in good faith. Lutherwood is committed to ensuring that the complaint procedure is carried out in a timely fashion while recognizing some time may be needed to bring the necessary people together.

Lutherwood will support you to choose a staff member who will assist you with the client complaint process. The staff member is responsible for ensuring your concerns are clearly and accurately communicated in writing, and that you are able to access external support at any time throughout the process.

STEP ONE: The first step to resolve complaints is for you to talk with your designated staff.

STEP TWO: If you are dissatisfied with the response and feel your concerns have not been satisfactorily resolved, we will support you in contacting a Program Supervisor, Manager or Assistant Director or Director in that order. Staff will facilitate contact between you and one of the above individuals in a way that best supports you and the circumstances involved.

STEP THREE: Ongoing unresolved issues may be escalated to the Chief Executive Officer, or his/her designate either by phone or in writing. Staff will assist you in making contact or by providing you with contact information. The CEO will review the issue, seek perspectives from those involved to help resolve the complaint in a timely and equitable manner.

Each step will be acknowledged within 3-5 business days and resolved within 14 business days from point it was acknowledged. If meeting defined timelines is not possible, you will be notified verbally or in writing that it will take longer and the reason for the delay.

If your concerns cannot be addressed at Lutherwood, you may write to and/or call the Office of the Child and Family Services Advocacy. You can also, at any time, submit your concerns in writing to the Ombudsman, Member of Parliament or the Prime Minister. Lutherwood staff cannot read this correspondence.

Community Advisory Committee

Lutherwood’s Community Advisory Committee is a small, informal group that offers constructive feedback to Lutherwood on ways to enhance the quality of its mental health services. We value the unique perspectives of the parents of our youth or adult past participants of one of our programs or services. For more information or to get involved, contact our Director of Mental Health Services at

Emergency Numbers


  • Police, Fire, Ambulance 911
  • Waterloo Regional Police (non-emergency) 519-653-7700


  • Grand River Hospital Crisis Clinic 519-742-3611 ext. 2353
  • Distress Centre 519-745-1166
  • Telecare 519-658-6805
  • Youth Line (<18 years) 519-745-9909
  • Kitchener-Waterloo Sexual Assault Support Centre 519-741-8633
  • Here 24/7 1-844-437-3247
  • Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868
  • Parents Help Line Phone 1-888-603-9100


  • Anselma House (Domestic Violence) 519-742-5894
  • Haven House (Domestic Violence) 519-653-2422
  • YWCA (Women & children) 519-744-0120
  • Argus (female 16-21 years) 519-650-0452
  • Argus (male 16-21 years) 519-623-7991
  • Safe Haven Shelter (Youth 12-17) 519-749-1450
  • House of Friendship (Men) 519-744-4666
  • Wyndham House Guelph (Youth 16-25) 226-962-3574,1-844-437-3247


  • Grand River Hospital 519-742-3611
  • Cambridge Memorial Hospital 519-621-2330
  • St. Mary’s General Hospital 519-744-3311
  • Cambridge Urgent Care Centre 519-624-2273
  • Fairway Road Urgent Care Clinic 519-748-2327
  • Victoria Street Urgent Care Clinic 519-745-2273
  • Telehealth 1-866-797-0000
  • CMHA Guelph 1-844-264-2993


  • OneROOF (Youth 12-25 years) 519-742-2788
  • Waterloo Region Family & Children’s Services 519-576-0540
  • Waterloo Region Social Services 519-883-2100
  • After Hours 519-883-2230
  • Ontario Works Guelph 519-837-2670
  • Wellington County Employment Resource Centre Guelph 519-823-7887
  • Action Read (adult reading/learning services) Guelph 519-836-2759
  • Family Counselling and Support Services Guelph 519-824-2431
  • Immigrant Services Guelph 519-836-2222