CRA work­ers fired for roles in pri­vacy breaches

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD -

OT­TAWA — The Canada Rev­enue Agency says eight of its em­ploy­ees were fired in the last fis­cal year af­ter vi­o­lat­ing tax­pay­ers’ pri­vacy.

Pre­vi­ously, the agency has not al­ways con­firmed if an em­ployee was fired or shuf­fled out of the CRA for be­ing part of a pri­vacy breach, of­ten cit­ing the em­ployee’s pri­vacy.

A spokesper­son for the agency says the em­ploy­ees in each case were found to have had unau­tho­rized ac­cess to tax­payer in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing one in­ci­dent that the CRA calls the largest such breach in the agency’s his­tory.

In that case, one em­ployee im­prop­erly ac­cessed the ac­counts of 1,264 tax­pay­ers.

All of the fir­ings took place be­tween April 2016 and March 2017, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s fis­cal year.

All of the in­ci­dents were also re­ported to the fed­eral pri­vacy com­mis­sioner as re­quired on fed­eral gov­ern­ment pol­icy be­cause they in­volve sen­si­tive per­sonal in­for­ma­tion that could be used to cause “se­ri­ous in­jury or harm” to the in­di­vid­ual, or in­volved a large num­ber of af­fected in­di­vid­u­als.

“The CRA takes the pro­tec­tion of Cana­di­ans’ tax in­for­ma­tion very se­ri­ously. The con­fi­dence and trust that in­di­vid­u­als and busi­nesses have in the CRA is a corner­stone of Canada’s tax sys­tem,” agency spokesper­son Patrick Sam­son said.

The agency has looked to crack down on in­ter­nal pri­vacy breaches years af­ter Canada’s pri­vacy watch­dog re­leased a crit­i­cal au­dit of how the CRA con­trolled ac­cess to per­sonal in­for­ma­tion.

The pri­vacy watch­dog made 13 rec­om­men­da­tions in 2013 in ar­eas in­clud­ing mon­i­tor­ing of em­ployee ac­cess rights, threat and risk as­sess­ments for IT sys­tems and en­sur­ing the pri­vacy im­pacts of new pro­grams are eval­u­ated.

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