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

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Efforts to replace the aging Rutland Middle School have been put off by another year by the ministry of education. (File photo)
Education ministry won’t replace Rutland Middle School anytime soon

New Westside Secondary top priority for ministry of education

West Kelowna Warriors goaltender Roman Basran stood tall in a 4-3 shootout victory over the Vernon Vipers Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (Lisa Mazurek Photography)
Vernon Vipers fall to West Kelowna Warriors in shootout

Kelowna Rockets goalie Roman Basran helped the warriors to a 4-3 SO win Friday night.

Thanks to efforts by a Kelowna shelter and Elections BC, anyone who wishes to can vote in the 2020 BC Provincial Election, even if they don’t have a fixed address. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Kelowna group ensures people experiencing homelessness can vote

Shelter supervisor says voting ‘a fundamental right’ even for those without a fixed address

City Park, Oct. 23. Image: Lynn Morran
Snow forces tunnel closure under W.R. Bennett Bridge

Branches from trees are breaking and falling across City Park

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Cole Collingwood casts his mock ballot at Vernon’s Mission Hill Elementary School ahead of the provincial election Oct. 24, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
PHOTOS: Okanagan students cast mock election ballots

At Mission Hill Elementary, the election is a chance to learn about the democratic process

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The deer were allegedly shot within Princeton town limits, late at night. Black Press File Photo.
Armed man, in full camouflage, allegedly shoots deer in downtown Princeton

‘The list of charges goes on and on,’ said RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes

Andrew Allen performed for two intimate crowds of 50 at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Oct. 17. (Camillia Courts Photography)
Live events continue on North Okanagan stage

First Andrew Allen plays two sold-out shows, next up have a laugh with comedian Mike Delamont

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Most Read