Province mailed private information to strangers
WATERLOO — The personal information of many as 5,600 people in Ontario was mailed to strangers after a printing mistake on health card renewal notices.
The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services said Wednesday they were still trying to determine the exact number of people affected, and are investigating what caused the error.
Further printing and mailing of the notices has been suspended until the cause is determined, a spokesperson said.
At least two Waterloo Region families are left wondering who has their personal information after receiving health card renewal notices with someone else’s details.
“It’s kind of important the government protects that information,” said Darrell May of Waterloo.
His eight-year-old twin daughters have a birthday in July, and recently a renewal form came in the mail for both of them. One was fine. The other contained a shock.
On the front of the form that’s visible through the envelope was his daughter’s name and address. On the back was the full name, address, date of birth, and health number of a young girl in Brantford. Both shared the same birthday, although a different year.
“It was another person’s typed in with the wrong health card number,” May said of the information on the form.
Now he’s worried who may have received his daughter’s information, and what they could do with it. His other daughter’s form also included her birth certificate number.
“Obviously there’s some problem with the system,” May said.
A New Hamburg father also contacted The Record to say his daughter’s renewal notice came with another young girl’s details, also from a different city with a birthday that was a few days different.
He said when he contacted Service Ontario immediately after opening the letter, the two people he spoke to there did not seem overly concerned about the privacy breach. He was told a fixed version would be mailed, and he was asked to send back the incorrect form.
Both fathers wondered how widespread the problem is and how many other people’s personal information was sent to the wrong address. “I just thought people should know. They should be held accountable,” May said.
The ministry said it will be send an apology to all those affected, and ask they return the letters in the included prepaid envelopes. It notified the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario about the breach.
A Waterloo man says he was mailed private details about a Brantford girl.