Terms of use

OutbreakHelp Terms of Use Agreement

(Last updated 28 April 2015)


OutbreakHelp (hereafter referred to as the Website) provides guidance for infection prevention, management and control. In particular, the Website provides front-line access to information on Ebola and access to submit questions to experts in infectious diseases. The Website is maintained by the National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools (NCCMT) and McMaster University (hereafter jointly referred to as the Owners of the Website).

The Website aims to be a trusted voice on Ebola virus-related outbreaks for health and allied professionals. It includes features such as:

  • A knowledge base/help centre with evidence briefs/content of relevance to Ebola
  • A clearinghouse of resources, such as relevant websites and documents
  • Online discussion forums, where users of the Website can dialogue about relevant topics
  • An Ask the Experts function, where users may submit questions that will be reviewed and responded to
  • Webinars from experts in the field.

The Website also provides opportunities to search the content, and sign up for email newsletters. More details about the Website and its features are available in the ‘About’ section and the ‘Getting Started’ section of the Website.

ACCEPTANCE. This Terms of Use Agreement (“Agreement”) is a legal agreement between you, NCCMT and McMaster University (“McMaster”), the “Owners” and operators of the OutbreakHelp Website (the “Website”). It states the terms and conditions under which you may access and use the Website. By accessing and using the Website, you are indicating your acceptance to be bound by and comply with the terms and conditions of this Agreement. If you do not accept these terms and conditions, you must not access or use the Website. The Owners may revise this Agreement at any time by updating this posting. Use of the Website after such changes are posted will signify your acceptance of the revised terms. You should visit this page periodically to review this Agreement.

USE OF WEBSITE. Information made available on the Website in any form is for information purposes only. It is not intended to provide professional medical, legal or medico-legal advice, nor is it intended to be a substitute thereof. You should not use any information contained on the Website as a substitute for consultation with healthcare or legal professionals or other professional advisors. You should not act or abstain from acting based upon information obtained from the Website without first consulting appropriate professional advisors. Except where stated otherwise, you are prohibited from reproducing in any way any element of this Website. You may download on a single computer and print a single copy of portions of any content from this Website for non-commercial purposes only. The Website operations may be interrupted or suspended. Regardless of the reason, the Owners will not be liable for any damage arising out of changes to information, or the interruption or suspension of Website operations.

LINKS TO THIS WEBSITE. You may link to this Website for non-commercial purposes only, unless otherwise prohibited by this Agreement, provided that (i) the text of the link accurately describes the content as it appears on the Website, and (ii) each page within the Website is displayed in full, unaltered and with no additional frames, style features, designs, logos, branding, trade-marks or other promotional materials. Unless otherwise expressly provided, the Owners shall not be considered associated or affiliated with, or to endorse or approve in any way, any third parties or sites that link to this Website. The Owners reserve the right to disable any links or frames at any time, or revoke this permission. If you wish to link, cache or frame any part of this Website in a manner not authorized in this Agreement, you must obtain the prior written consent of the Owners (see “Contact Us” below).

Re-posting content or images from this Website on other websites, or framing pages from this Website within another website is not permitted (open in a new browser window instead). Links to this Website are not permitted without providing appropriate credit.

LINKS FROM THIS WEBSITE. The Website contains links to third-party websites. These links are provided solely as a convenience to you and not as an endorsement or approval by the Owners of the contents of such third-party websites. The Owners are not responsible for the content of any third-party website, nor do they make any representation or warranty of any kind regarding any third-party website, including, without limitation (i) any representation or warranty regarding the legality, accuracy, reliability, completeness, timeliness, security or suitability of any content on any third-party website, (ii) any representation or warranty regarding the merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose of any material, content, software, goods or services located at or made available through such third-party websites, and (iii) any representation or warranty that the operation of the third-party website will be uninterrupted or error free, that defects or errors in such third-party websites will be corrected, or that such third-party websites will be free from viruses or other harmful components. You also understand and agree that the Owners’ Privacy Policy is applicable only while you are using the Website. Once you are linked to another website, you should read the privacy policy of that website before disclosing any Personal Information (as defined in the Privacy Policy).

CONTENT. All materials displayed or otherwise accessible through this Website, including but not limited to text, graphics, videos, photos, trademarks, logos and other materials (collectively, “Content”), are protected by copyright and trademark laws, and are owned by the Owners and its licensors, or the party accredited as the provider of the Content. The material on this Website is covered by the provisions of the Copyright Act (Canada) and by other applicable laws, policies, regulations and international agreements that address intellectual property rights. Such provisions serve to identify the information source and, in specific instances, to prohibit reproduction of materials without written permission. Except as granted in the limited licence herein, any use of the Content, including modification, transmission, presentation, distribution, republication, or other exploitation of the Website or of its Content, whether in whole or in part, is prohibited without the express prior written consent of the Owners. The Owners and their affiliated parties respect the intellectual property of others. If you believe that your work has been copied in a way that constitutes copyright infringement, please contact us (see “Contact Us” below). By using the Website, you may be exposed to content and/or material that is offensive, indecent or objectionable. The Owners are not responsible for other Content posted or transmitted through the Website via other users of the Website. You must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of any Content. You may not rely on any Content created by us. You acknowledge and agree that we may preserve Content and may also disclose Content if required to do so by law or in the good faith belief that such preservation or disclosure is reasonably necessary to: (a) comply with legal process; (b) enforce these Terms; (c) respond to claims that any Content violates the rights of third parties; or (d) protect our rights, property, or personal safety and those of our users and the public. You acknowledge that, with the exception of comments posted on blogs and discussion forums, we do not pre-screen Content, but that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to refuse, move or delete any Content that is available via the Website. The Owners reserve the right to remove any Content that violates this Agreement or is otherwise objectionable in our sole discretion.

YOUR CONTENT. The Website also provides features for registered users which allow you to post your Content to designated areas on the Website. “Your Content” means material (including, without limitation, text, images, audio material, video material and audio-visual material) that you submit to our Website, for whatever purpose. Your Content is the sole responsibility of the person from which such Content originated. You are responsible for Your Content that you upload, post, transmit or otherwise make available on the Website.

You represent and warrant that (i) you are the owner of or have the right to use Your Content, (ii) Your Content is true and accurate, and (iii) Your Content will not cause injury, damage, embarrassment or harm to any person or entity. Your Content must not contravene the privacy rights of others or be defamatory, libelous, pornographic, fraudulent, discriminatory, infringing, plagiarizing, false, misleading, impersonating, or otherwise illegal, offensive, hateful, obscene, threatening, bullying, abusive, profane, or in poor taste. Your Content must not upload, post, link to, or transmit any material that constitutes a virus, spyware, adware, malware, worm, or other harmful component, or any other code, file or program designed to interrupt, destroy or limit the functionality of any computer or telecommunications system or equipment. Your Content must not be used for purposes of promoting or advertising any goods or services, for soliciting funds, or for any political purpose. The Owners reserve the right to remove any of Your Content that violates this Agreement or is otherwise objectionable in our sole discretion. The Owners are not responsible for any loss or theft of, or damage to, Your Content. You grant the Owners a worldwide, irrevocable, non-exclusive, royalty-free licence to use, reproduce, adapt, publish, translate and distribute Your Content in any existing or future media. You also grant to us the right to sub-license these rights and the right to bring an action for infringement of these rights.

LIMITED LICENCE. Subject to the terms and conditions of this Agreement, you are hereby granted a limited revocable non-exclusive licence to access, view and use the Website for your non-commercial use, and are granted the right to download, store and print single copies of items comprising the Content for your non-commercial use, provided that you maintain all copyright and other notices contained in such Content.

FEES AND PAYMENTS. Users from Canada and from low-and middle-income countries have a free, non-exclusive licence to use this Website. The Owners reserve the right to charge licensing, registration or user fees in the future for certain categories of users or types of use of this Website.

LIMITATION OF LIABILITY. Subject to applicable law, in no event shall the Owners and their partners, employees, consultants, agents or licensors be liable for damages of any kind including, without limitation, any direct, special, indirect, punitive, incidental or consequential damages including, without limitation, any loss or damages in the nature of or relating to lost business, lost savings, lost data and/or lost profits arising from your use of, reliance upon, or inability to use the Website or the Content, regardless of the cause and whether arising in contract (including fundamental breach), tort (including negligence), or otherwise. The foregoing limitation shall apply even if the Owners knew of or ought to have known of the possibility of such damages.

DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES. The Website and the Content is provided “as is” and “as available”, without warranty or condition of any kind, either express or implied. The Owners expressly disclaim all warranties and conditions, including any statutory or implied warranties or conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title, quiet enjoyment or non-infringement in respect to the Website and the Content, to the fullest extent permissible under applicable law. While the Owners endeavour to provide Content that is correct, accurate and timely, no representations or warranties are made regarding the Website and/or the Content including, without limitation, the Owners provide no representation or warranty that (i) the Website or Content will be accurate, reliable, complete, current, timely or suitable for any particular purpose, (ii) that the operation of the Website will be uninterrupted or error-free, (iii) that defects or errors in the Website or the Content will be corrected, (iv) that the Website will be free from viruses, malware, worms or other harmful components, and (v) that communications to or from the Website will be secure and/or not intercepted. You acknowledge and agree that you are using the Website and the Content, if applicable, at your own risk and liability.

RELEASE AND INDEMNITY. You hereby agree to release the Owners and their partners, employees, consultants, agents and licensors from, and in no event shall any or all of the Owners and their partners, employees, consultants, agents or licensors be liable to you or any other person or entity, for any and all liabilities and damages (including any direct, indirect, special, exemplary or consequential damages, including lost profits) whatsoever arising from your use of the Website (including any breach by you thereof), the Content or otherwise relating to this Agreement, and you agree that your sole remedy for any claim, loss, damage, costs or expenses is to cease using the Website. You will indemnify and hold harmless the Owners and their partners, employees, consultants, agents or licensors from and against any claims, losses, judgments, damages, costs and expenses (including without limitation, reasonable legal fees) incurred by any of them due to or resulting from your use of the Website, the Content or otherwise relating to this Agreement (including any breach by you thereof). You will also indemnify and hold harmless the Owners and their partners, employees, consultants, agents or licensors from and against any claims brought by third parties arising out of your use of the Website or its Content.

REGISTRATION. All of the Website content can be viewed and searched without registration. Registration allows you to comment on evidence briefs/content in the knowledge base, comment on blog posts or participate in the forums. Registration is also required to sign up for webinars. A valid email address is required to submit a request to the Website with a specific question, or to sign up for the email newsletter subscriber list. To register, you agree that you will i) provide true, accurate, current and complete information about yourself as prompted by any registration form; and (ii) maintain and promptly update the information to ensure it remains true, accurate, current and complete. You are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of the password and account, and for all activities that occur under your account. In consideration of use of the Website, you agree to maintain and update true, accurate, current and complete Registration Data. If you provide any information that is untrue, inaccurate, not current or incomplete, or if the Owners have reasonable grounds to suspect that such information is untrue, inaccurate, not current or incomplete, we may suspend or terminate your account and refuse any and all current or future use of the Website or any portion thereof. Individuals under the age of 18 are prohibited from creating or using accounts through the Portal.

PRIVACY POLICY. Your registration with the Website may enable you to participate in the forums. The Owners will not share personal information gathered on this Website with any other parties. It is the Owners’ intention to protect against improper use of your personal information. Accordingly, the Owners have provided safeguards for the protection and storage of the personal information you have provided. Access to your registration information is limited exclusively to those individuals who require it to process and record your registration. All personal information created, held or collected by the Owners is protected and used in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Ontario) and will be disclosed only in accordance with this Act.

The information gathered during your activities on the Website may be aggregated with that of other users so that we can make decisions about how to improve the Website. The information collected will not be linked to specific individuals, but will be accessed in aggregate form. Your statistical information may also be used for research purposes, e.g., to validate the effectiveness of the Content of the Website, but in all such circumstances will remain anonymous. Aside from the foregoing uses, the information you provide and any other information, will be protected and used in compliance with Ontario’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (RSO 1990), and will be disclosed only in accordance with this Act. If you have any questions about the collection and use of this information please contact info@outbreakhelp.ca.

In addition to voluntary information provided, the Website uses Google Analytics, which is a web analytics tool that reports on how visitors interact with the Website, to collect non-personal information and data. Google Analytics collects information anonymously and reports Website trends without identifying individual visitors. Like many internet services, Google Analytics uses first-party cookies to track visitor interactions. ‘Cookies’ are small text files that identify an individual computer’s browser entering a website. Cookies are used to store information, such as what time the current visit occurred, whether the visitor has been to the site before, and what site referred the visitor to the web page. Browsers do not share first-party cookies across domains. The Website uses cookies only for the above-mentioned purposes and will not use them to identify users or to track usage that is not related to the Website.

If you do not want a cookie placed on your computer by the Owners, you may disable cookies in the web browser configuration options. Note that it is possible that some aspects of the Website may be unavailable to you if this option is chosen.

PASSWORDS. Any passwords and user IDs used for this Website are for individual use only. You will be responsible for the security of your password and user ID (if any), and you are responsible for all activities that occur under your User Name and Password. You agree to notify the Owners immediately of any unauthorized use of your Password or account or any other breach of security. The Owners will be entitled to monitor your password and user ID and, at its discretion, require you to change it. If you use a password that the Owners consider insecure, the Owners will be entitled to require the password to be changed and/or terminate your account. You further agree that the Owners will not be responsible for the unauthorized use of your profile by any other person and is under no obligation to confirm the actual identity of any password or user ID. The Owners cannot and will not be liable for any loss or damage arising from your failure to comply with these provisions.

EXTERNAL SERVICE PROVIDERS. To effectively operate its websites, the Owners occasionally use external service providers that may be located within Canada or outside Canada, and may be outside your jurisdiction of residence. Such service providers are bound by contract with the Owners to treat any personal information they may receive in a manner that is consistent with the provisions of applicable privacy laws.

If you have any questions, concerns or complaints about how external service providers handle personal information, you may wish to direct them to info@outbreakhelp.ca.

BLOG POSTS. The Website includes or may include a number of features that facilitate online communication. The Website may include a blog section, where commentaries based on the best available and most recent scientific evidence related to key topics of interest for Ebola or other infectious disease outbreaks are posted, and where users of the Website can post comments. The Website includes a discussion forum or forums where users of the Website hold peer-moderated or otherwise moderated online conversations about matters of interest to them and the communities they represent.

Content Submission Guidelines

We welcome Your Content submissions. For blogs and forums, comments are open and welcome for variable intervals, and moderated as described below. When submitting Your Content, you understand that it is prohibited to:

  • engage in activities that prevent other users from using and enjoying the Website, interfere or attempt to interfere with the functionality of the Website, or do anything, which in the sole discretion of the Owner, imposes an unreasonable or disproportionately large load on the Website infrastructure;
  • provide or send any unlawful, abusive, defamatory, or obscene information of any kind, including, without limitation, any submission that could constitute or encourage conduct that would be considered a criminal offence, give rise to civil liability, or otherwise violate any local, state, provincial, territorial, national, or international law or regulation;
  • post any content that is offensive or that could expose an individual or a group of individuals to hatred or contempt based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age or mental or physical disability;
  • provide or send any submission, including, without limitation, articles, images, software, stories, or other material, which violates or infringes upon the rights of others, including material which is an invasion of privacy or publicity rights, or which is protected by any intellectual property rights, including, without limitation, copyright, patent, trade secret, trademark, or other proprietary rights herein, or derivative works with respect thereto, without first obtaining permission from the Owner or rights holder;
  • post or transmit any submission which contains a virus or other harmful component;
  • post or transmit “junk mail,” “chain letters,” unsolicited mass mailing, or “spam”; and
  • use or “mine” the Website for any type of commercial venture, including, without limitation, posting, uploading, or transmitting submissions that contain advertising, involve commercial activities, solicitations or sales, or that involve contests, sweepstakes, advertising, and pyramid schemes.

Moderation of content submissions. Your submission to the Website will be moderated. That means that we read it before it is published to make sure it adheres to the Content Submission Guidelines provided above. We will do our best to get it up promptly. To ensure that Your Content is posted, we ask that you follow the Content Submission Guidelines. We use a variety of moderation techniques including pre-moderation (before publishing), post-moderation (after publishing) and reactive moderation (in response to concerns). The Owners reserve the right to remove any content that does not adhere to the Guidelines. While every effort will be made to ensure that submissions and postings abide by the Guidelines, the Owners are not responsible for the postings of individual users. 

If you think someone else’s content violates the Content Submission Guidelines, you can alert us at info@outbreakhelp.ca. We will investigate and act accordingly. 

SECURITY. Any information sent or received over the Internet is generally not secure, and may be intercepted, lost or altered. The Owners cannot guarantee the security of any communication to or from the Website. The Owners do not assume any responsibility or risk for your use of the internet.

GOVERNING LAW AND JURISDICTION. The Website is operated by the Owners (NCCMT and McMaster) within the Province of Ontario, Canada. By accessing or using the Website, you agree that all matters relating to your access to, or use of, the Website and its Content shall be governed by the laws of the Province of Ontario and the federal laws of Canada applicable therein, without regard to conflict of laws principles. You agree and hereby submit to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of the Province of Ontario with respect to all matters relating to your access to and use of the Website.

TERMINATION. The Owners may, in their sole discretion, cancel or terminate your right to use the Website, or any part of the Website, at any time without notice. In the event of termination, you are no longer authorized to access the Website or the part of the Website affected by such cancellation or termination. The restrictions imposed on you with respect to both Content and the Website set out in this Agreement shall survive. The Owners shall not be liable to any party for such termination.

ENTIRE AGREEMENT. Except for any agreement in respect of Content, this is the entire agreement between you and the Owners relating to your access and use of the Website and the Content herein.

GENERAL. If any term or provision of this Agreement is held by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, it shall be severed and the remaining provisions shall remain in full force and effect without being invalidated in any way. You may not assign, convey, subcontract or delegate your rights, duties or obligations hereunder. The Owners will not be considered to have waived any of their rights or remedies described in this Agreement unless the waiver is in writing and signed by the Owners. No delay or omission by the Owners in exercising their rights or remedies will impair the Owners’ rights or be construed as a waiver. Any single or partial exercise of a right or remedy will not preclude further exercise of any other right or remedy. The Owners’ failure to enforce the strict performance of any provision of this Agreement will not constitute a waiver of the Owners’ right to subsequently enforce such provision or any other provisions of this Agreement. The headings used in this Agreement are included for convenience only and have no legal or contractual effect.


If you have any questions regarding the terms and conditions of this Agreement you may direct them to us by email at info@outbreakhelp.ca, or use the request submission form on the Website.