Sudbury

North Bay health unit says personal information released through online privacy breach

The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit says there was a privacy breach that affected information posted on its website regarding COVID-19 cases.

Breach affects those tested for COVID-19 in North Bay area on or before May 8

The health unit in North Bay says it will contact those impacted by a privacy breach. (Google Streetview)

The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit says there was a privacy breach that affected information posted on its website regarding COVID-19 cases.

The health unit posts information about the number of COVID-19 cases, the number of tests done and current outbreaks on its website, in a format known as the dashboard.

"Inadvertently, personal identifying information was made accessible through the dashboard," the health unit stated.

The health unit says it was made aware of the breach by a member of the public.

"The likelihood of someone having accessed the information is quite low, because it was not immediately visible and accessing it required a number of steps that were not obvious," the health unit said.

It says the information that was available included first and last name, municipality, unique identifying number (not OHIP number), testing date and location, as well as the test result.

The breach affects those whose permanent address is in the health unit's district and who were tested for COVID-19 on or before May 8. Those affected will be notified by the health unit. It says it has also notified the appropriate authorities, including the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.

"This mistake should not have happened and I am very sorry it did," Dr. Jim Chirico, medical officer of health for the health unit said.

"We are reviewing our training and quality processes to ensure such mistakes do not happen again."

The health unit says it has since removed the dashboard from its website.

Anyone with questions should contact the health unit.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.