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WHITEHORSE – On September 21, the Yukon Party Official Opposition was inundated with concerns from Yukoners about a Privacy Breach involving the Department of Education.
The breach involved a member of the department emailing sensitive information of Yukon post-secondary students who had applied for a Yukon Grant in 2022 to an unknown member of the public. The information was sent via a spreadsheet on August 24 and included names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and social insurance numbers.
“This is a disturbing breach of Yukoner’s private information,” said Education Critic Scott Kent. “Those who had their privacy compromised are only being informed this week in a letter dated September 15. It is concerning the Minister of Education did not prioritize notification at the earliest possible opportunity.”
Besides the question of why it took so long for the breach to become public, there are several questions the Liberal government needs to answer. Why was such information stored in a spreadsheet and not a secure database? What actions are underway to track down the recipient of the information, instead of just reaching out electronically? When was the Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner notified of the breach, and will the department and the Liberal government ask the IPC to help improve processes going forward? Finally, what will be the cost to Yukon taxpayers to provide one year of credit monitoring for those affected by the breach?
“We are also asking when did the Minister become aware of the breach, and did she inform her Cabinet colleagues?” added Kent.