OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 04/23/13 -- The Honourable Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board, outlined the steps taken by the Government to protect the privacy of Canadians in response to an Order Paper Question detailing the number of privacy breaches by public servants.
"Our Government takes the privacy of Canadians very seriously, especially the critical importance of the proper handling of sensitive personal information," said Minister Clement.
The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, added "We take all incidents very seriously - any error is completely unacceptable. To safeguard against future incidents, I have directed my Department to review the ways that employees handle Canadians' data, update network security practices to prohibit external hard drives, and provide more mandatory training for all employees on the proper handling of sensitive and personal information."
"Our Government is continuously taking measures to safeguard personal information," said Minister Clement.
"Since taking office we have greatly strengthened privacy protection, implemented stringent reporting mechanisms and hardened disciplinary measures for any incidents that occur," said the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs.
Since 2006, the Government has implemented new actions to strengthen privacy protection and implement stringent reporting mechanisms. These include:
-- Reporting privacy breaches to the Privacy Commissioner and taking swift measures to address the situation;-- Completing privacy impact assessments for all new or substantially modified programs or activities;-- Implementing the Directive on Privacy Practices, requiring all federal government institutions to have plans for addressing privacy breaches;-- Creating the Policy on Privacy Protection, requiring that all federal government institutions notify the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of any planned activities that could have an impact on the privacy of Canadians; and-- Developing new guidelines for responding to privacy breaches, which provides direction for institutions in identifying and preventing privacy breaches, as well as a "roadmap" on what to do when a breach occurs.
"In her last annual report, the Privacy Commissioner stated that Veterans Affairs has sent a clear signal that privacy is vital to its operations. The Department is moving from reacting to proactively addressing them," added Minister Blaney.
"We will continue to work closely with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to ensure that the privacy of Canadians is protected," said Minister Clement.
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Office of the President of the Treasury Board
and Minister responsible for FedNor
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat