A stolen hard drive containing pension data for about 800 former City of Ottawa employees will likely never be retrieved, according to the company that was handling the information.

New York-based Towers Watson notified the city of the breach after the hard drive disappeared from an office in the Philippines.

Towers Watson had been hired by the city to evaluate pension funds and was in the process of transferring the unencrypted data to a new computer system where the data would be encrypted.

But in May they discovered the hard drive missing from a safe.

Names, birthdates, SIN information on hard drive

"It was stored in a locked, secured storage room. A couple of days after it was placed into that room someone went to wipe the hard drive completely clean and found it was missing from the room," said company spokesman Michael Millns.

The hard drive contained names, birthdates, social insurance numbers and pension amounts of about 800 former City of Ottawa staff, police officers, firefighters and their beneficiaries.

Millns said the company went to great lengths to recover the hard drive, but have been unsuccessful.

"We've hired a local private investigator firm. We've obviously interviewed the people who had access to that room. And unfortunately, at this point in time, we've been unable to retrieve it and we don't believe that we will retrieve it given the time that's elapsed," he said.

Update to come in September

Councillor Rainer Bloess, who serves on the board of directors for the city's pension fund, said the company will have an update on the breach at a meeting in September. He said he hopes the update will answer key questions for both city officials and pensioners.

"Has there been any violation of anybody's identity? What other measures are being taken?" asked Bloess.

The company has offered to pay pensioners so they can enroll in a credit-monitoring service.

Millns said the hard drive is not likely to be retrieved, but said the company believes it was stolen for parts, not data.