Ca: Province waited 7 months to notify public of sensitive security breach

Rob Shaw and Lindsay Kines report:

The British Columbia government knew seven months ago about a serious security breach involving sensitive personal information from 1,400 income-assistance clients, yet only notified the affected people last week, the Victoria Times Colonist has learned.

RCMP officers found the missing documents inside the Victoria home of a government worker in April, said Sgt. Andrew Cowan, head of the RCMP Federal Commercial Crime Team in Victoria.

“We gave them over to the government in early May,” Cowan said Tuesday.

Yet it wasn’t until last week — seven months later — that the province sent letters informing people their names, addresses, birth dates, social insurance numbers, personal health numbers and monthly income-assistance eligibility amounts had turned up in the employee’s home.

The minister handling the file, Ben Stewart, said he wasn’t told about the case until two or three weeks ago. “He may have found out about it two weeks ago but that doesn’t have any bearing on when we gave them (the files),” said Cowan.

Read more in the Vancouver Sun.

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