Prov­ince mailed pri­vate in­for­ma­tion to strangers

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - JO­HANNA WEIDNER

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.

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