Advertisement

Hundreds of federal civil servants lose personal information in data breach

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is looking into a data breach that affected 227 employees at Infrastructure Canada.
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is looking into a data breach that affected 227 employees at Infrastructure Canada. Jonathan Hayward / The Canadian Press

Ottawa police and the federal Office of the Privacy Commissioner are investigating a significant data breach in the federal government after a device was stolen from Public Services and Procurement Canada.

All 227 employees affected are at Infrastructure Canada, but they weren’t notified until more than two weeks after the breach.

The device in question was stolen on Aug. 20, but affected but employees were only informed on Sept. 7.

READ MORE: Ottawa to pay $17.5M to settle student loan privacy breach lawsuit

In an e-mail sent late in the day on Sept, 7, PSPC’s Deputy Minister Marie Lemay said “no banking or social insurance information was affected. However, your name, person record identifier (PRI), date of birth, home address and salary range may have been on the stolen device.”

Story continues below advertisement

PSPC is Infrastructure Canada’s service provider for pay, pension and benefits.

Lemay’s e-mail states there is no reason to believe any information has been used for illegal purposes, but Ottawa police have been made aware of the incident.

READ MORE: Air Canada says 20,000 mobile app users affected by data breach

According to the department, an employee filed a police report on Aug. 20 after the device in question was stolen. A supervisor was informed the following day.

Asked if the stolen information was encrypted, Pierre-Alain Bujold, a spokesperson for the department told Global News: “PSPC does not permit the use of unencrypted storage devices. An internal investigation is underway to examine why and how this happened and identify measures to ensure this does not happen again.”

Click to play video: 'Ex-privacy commissioner: Protecting personal data protects democracy' Ex-privacy commissioner: Protecting personal data protects democracy
Ex-privacy commissioner: Protecting personal data protects democracy – Mar 29, 2018

WATCH: Protecting personal data protects democracy, former privacy commissioner says

While Ottawa police won’t confirm that an investigation has been launched until charges are laid, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is looking into it.

Story continues below advertisement

“We can confirm that our office received a report about this breach from Public Service and Procurement Canada and we are analyzing the report,” said Corey Laroque, a spokesperson for the privacy commissioner.

Sponsored content