Region of Peel announces breach

Press statement by Emil Kolb, Chair of The Region of Peel, Regarding a Breach of Personal Health Information from a Public Health Program:

Despite having practices and protocols in place to protect the privacy of our clients, we have had a breach of personal health information that affects more than 18,000 clients who participated in Peel Public Health’s Healthy Babies Healthy Children program.

We take our responsibility to protect personal health information very seriously. We did not do that and I apologize to all residents of Peel – but most importantly to those who were directly affected – for this breach.

An SD card that was not encrypted was inside a bag that was stolen from an employee’s car. The card contained the name, address, birth date/age, marital status and assessment information of clients who were in the program from March 2010 to August 2011, as well as a small number from earlier dates. There were no Social Insurance or Health Card numbers on the card.

We have already started to contact the people affected by this breach to help them understand the implications of this loss of their personal health information. We will also help them understand the actions they can take to increase their personal security.

I want to reassure the public that this was an isolated incident. It is not standard or acceptable practice for us to put client information on unencrypted devices. As part of our investigation into this breach, we will be examining all of our privacy and protection protocols, and tightening controls on the information that has been entrusted to us.

Anyone who was in our Healthy Babies Healthy Children program between March 2010 and August 2011 can contact us at 905-791-5202 or 1-866-888-9007 with their questions. We have also prepared a more detailed list of questions and answers about the situation and posted it to our web site.

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