Manitoba Ombudsman offers changes following accidental release of children’s health information

WINNIPEG — The Manitoba Ombudsman has released a report about a privacy breach involving the health information of nearly 9,000 children.

On Aug. 26, 2020, Children’s Disability Services accidentally sent health information of 8,900 kids to around 100 services agencies and community advocates in an email.

The documents included the children’s names, gender, date of birth, address, their disability and medical assessments.

The Ombudsman launched an investigation to review the breach.

The investigation found the breach was unintentional and was due to human error. The agencies that received the information deleted it right away.

The Ombudsman added the department took the right measures to respond to the breach but it didn’t completely implement privacy policies and procedures.

The investigation also found the volume of information handled needs a “stronger commitment” to protection.

“This investigation provides the department with guidance to increase compliance with the act and the opportunity to strengthen its privacy protection practices across all of its programs,” said Ombudsman Jill Perron, in a news release.

The Ombudsman said it offered the agency nine recommendations to prevent a similar situation and that the department accepted all of the recommendations.

The organization also provided details on how it plans to implement proper safeguards.

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