LifeLabs signage is seen outside of one of the lab’s Toronto locations, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

LifeLabs ‘failed to protect’ personal information of millions of Canadians: investigation

The Canadian laboratory testing company was found to have violated its patients’ privacy

A joint investigation between B.C. and Ontario privacy commissioners has found that LifeLabs “failed to protect private information” during its 2019 privacy breach.

The privacy commissioners’ release on Thursday (June 25), found LifeLabs did not have “reasonable safeguards” in place to protect 15 million customers, largely in B.C. and Ontario. The company reported the breach to both privacy commissioners in November of last year, after detecting a cyberattack on its computer systems on Oct. 28.

READ MORE: Hackers target LifeLabs medical database in B.C., Ontario

Although B.C. and Ontario’s privacy commissioners released a broad overview of their investigation report on Thursday, they did not publish the entire report due to LifeLabs’ objections.

“LifeLabs has claimed that some of the information contained in the report is privileged or confidential and objected to the release of that information,” the release stated.

However, the privacy commissioners said they would release the full report unless LifeLabs attempts to get a court ruling in the company’s favour.

The privacy commissioners issued three joint orders to LifeLabs, outline broadly in Thursday’s release: to improve specific practices regarding information technology security, to formally put in place written information practices and policies with respect to information technology security, and to cease collecting specified information and to securely dispose of the records of that information which it has collected.

LifeLabs was also recommended to consult with third-party experts about if a longer period of credit monitoring would be “more appropriate.”

B.C’s privacy commissioner also said the LifeLabs case should serve as an example of why the office needs to be able to impose financial fines and penalties following investigations.

“This is the very kind of case where my office would have considered levying penalties,” said Michael McEvoy, Information and Privacy Commissioner of B.C. For its part, Ontario is expected to be able to levy financial penalties once a recently announced amendment to Ontario’s privacy law comes into effect. It would be the first province in Canada to have the ability to levy monetary penalties against individuals and companies that violate the Personal Health Information Protection Act.

READ MORE: LifeLabs facing proposed class action over data breach affecting up to 15M clients


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

privacy

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The plane crash at the top of the mountain

50 years ago, a small plane was lost within sight of the Cranbrook airport. What went wrong?

Fire Chief delivers update to Kimberley City Council

Somewhat of an odd year with pandemic, Prasad says

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Most Read