The provincial government has shared information about New Brunswick motorists with the War Amps for the key tag program since the mid-70s. (Courtesy of etsy.com)

A Riverview woman is raising questions about the provincial government sharing New Brunswickers' personal information with a charitable organization.

The provincial government provides the names and addresses of 550,000 drivers in the province to the War Amps.

Leslie Last said she has no problem with the War Amps' work, but is concerned with how people's personal data is being handled.

"It's something that we're guaranteed is not given out, and for specifically that reason," she said.

"Information about your address, anything else could be given to them, too."

Last said she only realized something was amiss when an envelope bearing both her street address and her Post Office box number arrived at her home.

She and her partner had taken precautions to prevent identity theft, yet her home address and her middle name were on the package from the War Amps.

Only her New Brunswick driver's licence carried that same information, she said.

Can opt out

The provincial government admits it provides names and addresses from its files to the War Amps for the charity’s annual key tag program.

It’s a long-standing relationship that dates back to the mid-1970s and there are no plans to change that, said Mike Comeau, the assistant deputy minister for the Department of Public Safety.

People can opt out of having their information shared by calling Service New Brunswick, he said, noting that about 1,200 people already have.

"We are very protective of our clients' information — our clients being owners of motor vehicles and licensed drivers," said Comeau.

"When we share information with anyone else, it's usually done within government."

War Amps is the only charity the provincial government shares such information with, he said.

Six other provinces also share information with the charity and New Brunswick has looked into its work, said Comeau.

"We have taken the opportunity to review our practices and we're looking at the practices of our fellow provinces and territories and seeing if we can perfect them. There's always room for perfection," he said.

Key tag program

The War Amps key tag program provides a confidential nine-digit number printed on a tag, which can be attached to a set of keys.

If the tag owners lose their keys, the person who finds them can call the War Amps' toll-free number and a courier will be sent to pick up the keys and return them to their owner.

Alternatively, the person who finds the keys can put them in any mailbox and Canada Post delivers them to the charity, which will then return them by courier or mail.

The program has allowed more than one million sets of keys to be returned, according to the charity's website.

The service was launched in 1946 as a sheltered workshop where war amputees could work for competitive wages.