Ombudsman hands down nine recommendations after government data breach – Winnipeg Sun

ombudsman-hands-down-nine-recommendations-after-government-data-breach-–-winnipeg-sun

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Author of the article:

Josh Aldrich

Families Minister Rochelle Squires meets with the media after the opening of the spring sitting at the Manitoba Legislature in Winnipeg on Wednesday, March 3, 2021.
Families Minister Rochelle Squires meets with the media after the opening of the spring sitting at the Manitoba Legislature in Winnipeg on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. Photo by Kevin King /Winnipeg Sun

The Manitoba Ombudsman has made nine recommendations to the provincial government following a data breach last summer that sent affected 8,900 children receiving services from the Children’s disAbility Services program of Manitoba Families.

“This privacy breach was unprecedented in scope for this province,” said Ombudsman Jill Perron, in a press release. “When those affected are vulnerable children and youth, the impact of a privacy breach of sensitive personal health information for those children and their families can be devastating.”

The breach was a result of unintentional human error on Aug. 26, 2020, when the CDS blind-copied about 100 service agencies and community advocates on an email intended for the Manitoba Advocate of Children and Youth. This email contained a document with the personal information of those within the program.

The Personal Health Information Act report said Manitoba Families took appropriate action following the breach to limit the impact on those affected.

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The recommendations to Manitoba Families focus on strengthening policies, procedures and training employees about privacy obligations.

Families Minister Rochelle Squires said the department has already implemented most of the recommendations, all that is remaining is the implementation of new software to prevent future breaches.

“I want to apologize to all of the children and families that were impacted by this privacy breach,” she said. “We’ve implemented a better system to ensure that when we do share data with relevant independent offices, we do so in a way that is free from any opportunities to breach privacy information.”

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Twitter: @JoshAldrich03

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