Dan Albas

COLUMN: Protecting the privacy of Canadians

Personal information in the government is not as secure as it should be

In my November 2018 MP report, I focused on newly discovered revelations that Statistics Canada was “demanding access to certain Canadians personal financial and banking information, including all transactions along with bank account balances without citizens’ consent or even notification that this is going on.”

At that time, I raised this issue in the House of Commons and no surprise, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau fully supported this effort by a government agency to take your personal financial information without your consent or even knowledge.

Later, at the industry committee, the minister responsible for Statistics Canada said he had not been made aware of this program nor had he signed off on it, as is required under legislation.

After the privacy commissioner announced that he would launch a formal investigation into these proposed actions from Statistics Canada, the project was put on hold.

Why do I mention this incident today?

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Earlier this week, Blacklock’s reporter in Ottawa found a Canada Revenue Agency, Labour Board hearing disclosure, that “admits criminals infiltrated its (CRA) databases.

A CRA employee became “romantically involved with a biker gang member and used her access to give the gang personal information about their debtors and their lawyers.”

This information is not likely to impact the average Canadian.

I raise it because it reveals the extent that your personal information, within various departments at the government of Canada, is not as secure as it should be.

It was also announced: “A proposed class action has been filed against the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), accusing both the agency and the federal government of negligence and breach of privacy over the recent data breach incidents.”

This lawsuit alleges that “several failings by the government and the CRA allowed at least three cyber attacks to take place.”

In turn this theft of personal identification can result in fraudulent CERB applications being made, that can adversely impact the citizens who had their personal data stolen.

What greatly troubles me is that the prime minister has essentially been silent on this.

There has been no ministerial accountability.

In effect the prime minister and his cabinet effectively shrug this off and expect Canadians to accept this.

I have two questions this week: Do you believe there should be ministerial accountability from the Prime Minister when your personal information is compromised? Do you believe that someone should be held accountable?

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola. This riding includes the communities of Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland, Keremeos, Princeton, Merritt and Logan Lake.

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