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

Everyone should be aware of the Labour Day movement

My hat is off to Tyson Whitney for his article on Labour Day.

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

BC Timber Sales’ operations on the North Island and Central Coast to be audited

The Forest Practices Board randomly chose the region to check for compliance to legislation

Transformative ‘Centre of Hope’ coming to Port Hardy

With the new building, the Salvation Army will be able to run the shelter year long.

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Vancouver Island sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Oak Bay man was attempting to circumnavigate the world solo

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

Most Read