LifeLabs signage is seen outside of one of the lab’s Toronto locations, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

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

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Interior Health reported 43 new COVID-19 cases in the region Feb. 23, 2021 and no additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
43 new cases of COVID reported in Interior Health

No new deaths, Williams Lake outbreak over

Black Press file photo.
Interior Health: 6 new deaths and 67 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend

An outbreak has been declared at Kelowna General Hospital

Janet (left) and Karen Johnson. (Shelley Woods Boden/Facebook)
Petition to keep Wells Gray murderer in jail garners 39K signatures and counting

Family and friends compiling victim impact statements to keep David Ennis behind bars.

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Interior Health officially declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Creekside Landing in Vernon on Jan. 3, which was followed by the first death from the virus 10 days later. (Kaigo photo)
COVID outbreak over at Vernon care home

Creekside Landing cleared of coronavirus, despite additional death in last day

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

Most Read