Employees from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada lost a USB key and hard drive last fall containing personal information for some 500,000 Canadians who had student loans. Officials apologized Thursday for losing the data, but said no fraud had been detected. (Mark Lennihan/Associated Press)

We're sorry — and we're trying to make sure it never happens again.

That's the message from senior federal bureaucrats responsible for the loss of personal information belonging to more than half a million Canadians.

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada lost an external hard drive and USB key last year, resulting in the massive privacy breach.

Both the RCMP and privacy commissioner are investigating and at least three class action lawsuits have been launched as a result.

Bureaucrats from the department apologized today in front of a House of Commons committee as they tried to explain what went wrong.

They say they've been monitoring for signs the data is being misused, but no fraud has been reported so far.