BC Government has big surplus, but no plans to compensate victims of PharmaNet breach

MEDIA RELEASE

BC Government has big surplus, but no plans to compensate victims of PharmaNet breach

FIPA urges the Ministry of Health to pick up ID theft mitigation costs

Vancouver, February 20, 2017 – After the recent PharmaNet privacy breach, which victimized 7,500 British Columbians, it is astounding that the Ministry of Health has not come forward to offer compensation to those affected, especially since the BC government is sitting on a surplus in the billions of dollars.

The BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA) has sent a letter to Health Minister Terry Lake strongly urging his ministry to cover the costs these victims will have to incur resulting from the failure to adequately protect senstive personal information.

After the breach was discovered, the Ministry sent a letter to the victims advising that “the information gathered could possibly be used as a starting point for identity theft” and encouraging them to engage “the services of a credit monitoring company” as “the information gathered could possibly be used as a starting point for identity theft.” Such services cost money and are far from free.

In their last PharmaNet breach in 2014, the Ministry’s notice to those affected included an offer to pick up  the costs of the recommended ID theft mitigation measures. But for whatever the reason, they have failed to do so this time. This is inexcusable given that the Premier has recently stated that the government has a surplus in the billions that will be returned to taxpayers.

FIPA hopes the Minister will see fit to do what is right for the 7500 innocent victims in this case.

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Contact:

Vincent Gogolek, Executive Director
BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association
vincent@fipa.bc.ca | (o) 604-739-9788 | (c) 604-318-0031