Open letter from Kitchener-Waterloo NDP MPP Catherine Fife on a private personal health information breach

Kitchener-Waterloo NDP MPP Catherine Fife issued the following open letter to the Minister of Government and Consumer Services Tracy MacCharles, calling for answers on massive privacy breach.

Hon. Tracy MacCharles, MPP
Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
Mowat Block
900 Bay St, 6th Floor
Toronto, ON  M7A 1L2

May 4, 2017

Dear Minister MacCharles,

The people of Ontario expect their government to treat their privacy and their personal health information with the utmost care.

Ontarians expect that they can trust their government to keep their privacy.

Reporting in the Waterloo Region Record today suggests that your Ministry isn’t living up to Ontarians’ expectations. At least 5,600 people in this province had their private, personal health information mailed to strangers and your Ministry doesn’t know how this happened or even how many people are affected.

This is unacceptable.

The solution to this breach of trust and privacy must go beyond asking those people who self-report receiving the private health information of strangers to just mail it back to the Ministry. To make matters worse, your Ministry has suspended health card renewal notices being mailed to Ontarians. The possibility that any Ontarians’ health card might expire because your Ministry does not know how to correct a breach of privacy is, frankly, stunning.

When will your Ministry know what caused this breach of privacy, how will the problem be corrected and when can Ontarians’ expect their health card renewal notifications to resume being mailed?

Sincerely, 

Catherine Fife, MPP
Kitchener-Waterloo