News Release: North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit Announces Privacy Breach

Posted on Thursday May 21, 2020

NORTH BAY, ON - The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit (“Health Unit”) announced today that there was a privacy breach in relation to its online COVID-19 dashboard. The dashboard contained information related to the number of COVID-19 tests and confirmed cases in the local community. Inadvertently, personal identifying information was made accessible through the dashboard. A member of the public reported the breach to the Health Unit. The likelihood of someone else 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.

Information that was accidentally made accessible was first and last name, municipality, unique identifying number (but not OHIP number), testing date and location, and the test result (if available). It may also have included a telephone number. There was no other health, financial or personal information accessible through our dashboard. The dashboard has since been removed from the Health Unit’s website.

“Our team has been working around the clock to ensure our community is safe, cared for and has access to accurate and timely information as we collectively battle COVID-19. We also take very seriously our obligation to respect and maintain individual privacy. This mistake should not have happened, and I am very sorry it did,” said Dr. Jim Chirico, Medical Officer of Health.

After the Health Unit was made aware of this issue, it immediately removed the information from its website and launched an investigation. The privacy breach affects those individuals whose permanent address is in the Health Unit district and were tested for COVID-19 on or before May 8, 2020.

“We are reviewing our training and quality processes to ensure such mistakes do not happen again,” continued Dr. Chirico.

Those affected will be notified by telephone or mail. The incident has also been reported to the appropriate authorities, including the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.

The public is urged to reach out to the Health Unit directly with any questions through its call centre at 1-800-563-2808 and select option 7 or through the website at www.myhealthunit.ca/dashboardbreach.

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Media Inquiries:

Alex McDermid, Public Relations Specialist
P: 705-474-1400, ext. 5221 or 1-800-563-2808
E: communications@healthunit.ca

North Bay

345 Oak Street West
705-474-1400

Parry Sound

70 Joseph Street Unit #302
705-746-5801

Burk's Falls

17 Copeland Street (by appointment only)
1-800-563-2808