March 17, 2017 1:44 am
Updated: March 17, 2017 1:46 am

Ontario student handed $25K fine for snooping 139 people’s health info

Generic image of people using the Ontario Government kiosks to renew or update provincial documents such as licenses, outdoor cards, health cards, etc.

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail via CP
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An Ontario student has been fined $25,000 for accessing personal health information, which provincial officials say is the highest penalty of its kind ever in Canada.

The Information and Privacy Commissioner’s office says the masters of social work student was on an educational placement with a family health team in Central Huron when she accessed the information without authorization.

A statement says the student, who was not named, pleaded guilty to accessing the personal health information of five individuals contrary to the Personal Health Information Protection Act.

As part of her plea she acknowledged she accessed the personal health information of 139 individuals between September 9, 2014 and March 5, 2015.

READ MORE: PharmaNet breach compromises personal medical info for about 7,500 people: province

The commissioner’s office says it was told the person was illegally accessing the records of family, friends, local politicians, staff of the clinic and other individuals in the community.

The statement calls $20,000 fine and $5,000 victim surcharge handed to the student the highest fine to date for a health privacy breach in Canada and Ontario Privacy Commissioner Brian Beamish hopes it sends a message.

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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