Human Services is proactively contacting 86 Alberta Supports clients whose personal information was unaccountable for a 24-hour period.
The Information and Privacy Commissioner has been consulted and agrees with this approach.
As part of service delivery training for new Alberta Supports staff, a group of trainees were provided with snapshots of client information databases on USB sticks. All USB sticks were in the possession of current Government of Alberta staff, with one exception. A USB stick in the possession of a former staff member was briefly unaccountable, but located and returned the next day. All 79 USB sticks have been accounted for and information has been deleted.
Client information contained in database snapshots included names, contact information, dates of birth, Social Insurance Numbers, Personal Health Numbers, banking and financial information, and Alberta Supports program affiliation.
The Information and Privacy Commissioner was contacted as soon as Human Services became aware of a potential breach.
Clients are being contacted by telephone today and encouraged to reach out to their financial institutions, monitor their financial transactions and mail, obtain a free statement of benefits paid from Alberta Health Services, and contact a credit reporting agency. As a precaution, Human Services is offering to cover the costs of credit monitoring services.
“I am deeply concerned by this potential privacy breach resulting from a lapse in training practices. I want to assure all Albertans that we will work with them to address any potential concerns this may cause and we will be re-visiting our practices to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
All Albertans affected by this potential privacy breach will be directly contacted by Human Services staff and will receive follow up information by direct mail. Alberta Supports clients who do not receive a call are not affected by the potential privacy breach.