Federal departments or agencies have mishandled personal information belonging to 144,000 Canadians over the past two years, according to new figures tabled in the House of Commons — and not everyone who was swept up in a privacy breach was told about it.
The new figures were included in the federal government’s answer to an order paper question filed by Conservative MP Dean Allison late last month. The nearly 800-page response didn’t offer an explanation for the errors, which range in seriousness from minor hiccups to serious breaches involving sensitive personal information.
The Canada Revenue Agency leads the pack in breaches, with more than 3,005 separate incidents affecting close to 60,000 Canadians between Jan. 1, 2018 and Dec. 10, 2019.
The department blames the breaches on misdirected mail, security incidents and employee misconduct.
Even the keepers of Canada’s official secrets aren’t immune. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Communications Security Establishment and the RCMP all reported missteps as well.
The Department of National Defence said most of its 170 breaches, which affected more than 2,000 people, were due to inappropriate access to, or use or disclosure of, personal information.