Commissioner Cavoukian’s investigation finds systemic failures at Elections Ontario – paving the way to the largest privacy breach in Ontario history


On July 5, 2012, Elections Ontario advised Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, Dr. Ann Cavoukian, of a privacy breach involving the personal information of an unprecedented number of individuals – up to 2.4 million Ontarians. In her report, the Commissioner found the agency’s loss of the USB keys could be traced back to the agency’s failure to systemically address privacy and security issues.

As a result of the investigation, the Commissioner has recommended that Elections Ontario take concrete steps in three areas to enhance the protection of personal information:

  • Policies, Practices and Procedures – Retain the services of an independent third party to audit Elections Ontario’s current privacy and security policies and procedures, as well as to develop an agency-wide privacy policy, including the requirement for any personal information stored on mobile devices to be encrypted.
  • Training and Compliance – Develop a comprehensive privacy training program for all staff at the time of hire combined with annual refresher training. An internal communications campaign should also be taken to provide constant reminders of privacy protocols and practices.
  • Accountability – Appoint a Chief Privacy Officer with overall responsibility and accountability for privacy and to establish the Technology Services department as a centre for responsibility for the delivery of training and support to staff as well as implementation of reasonable measures to protect personal information.

Report: Elections Ontario’s Unprecedented Privacy Breach: A Special Investigation Report

Published Date  Jul 31, 2012

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