Ottawa city staff scramble after accidentally releasing retirees’ medical information

Susan Sherring reports:

The City of Ottawa has been left scrambling after committing a serious breach privacy in releasing to a reporter the names and some personal and medical information of about a dozen city retirees.

Worse yet, the city didn’t realize the error until notified by this reporter.

“Allow me to begin this response by thanking you for drawing this matter of a privacy breach to the city’s attention,” wrote city solicitor Rick O’Connor, acknowledging human error resulted in the “serious breach.”

The information had been released under an access-to-information request on an earlier fiasco in January in which nearly 2,000 city retirees were affected after the city chose Great-West Life Assurance Company as its new benefits provider.

As a result of the leak, the names of residents who’d complained about the loss of their benefits had been released. And in a some cases, they wrote about their health problems and financial situations.

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