Algonquin College faculty union files grievance over data breach

The union representing faculty at Algonquin College has filed a grievance against the school after a recent data breach.

College refusing to say what information was accessed, union says

The union representing faculty at Algonquin College has filed a grievance after a phishing incident led to a data breach in February. (Marc-André Cossette/CBC)

The union representing faculty at Algonquin College has filed a grievance against the school after a recent data breach.

Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) local 415, which represents faculty at the school, wants Algonquin College to disclose the exact nature of the information that was accessed in last month's phishing attack — and take steps to protect any faculty whose personal information is used illegally.

The only assurance that the college has given the union is that no social insurance numbers were lost, said Pat Kennedy, the union's local president.

"We wanted to put the college on notice that we were looking for information related to the breaches as it impacts faculty," Kennedy said, explaining why the grievance was filed.

Faculty kept in dark, union says

Kennedy said there's widespread concern about how the college has handled the breach, including a lack of transparency about what information was accessed during the attack.

Faculty members are also having trouble figuring out what steps they should take to protect themselves, and that frustration is what led to the grievance, according to the union.

"This is what the grievance is going to go after. It's going to go after information, and its going to go after ... protection, financial compensation, whatever's necessary to make the situation right," Kennedy said.

The college declined to speak to CBC News about either the breach or the union's grievance.

College says issue fixed

Kennedy said the union wants Algonquin College to take responsibility for any identity theft that results due to the breach.

The college has told the union that the issue has been fixed, Kennedy said, and work continues to improve cybersecurity on campus.

One thing that has changed since the incident is instructors can no longer access their Algonquin College emails off campus. 

The college's student association said it had not received any complaints from students regarding the breach.


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