Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

July 29, 2009 14:54 ET

The Security of Ontarians' Personal Information Is at Risk: OPSEU

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 29, 2009) - The security of Ontarians' personal information will be at risk if the McGuinty government goes ahead with its plan to have private contractors renew health cards, says the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU).

"Ontario's health card, with its access to free medical care, is probably the most valuable government document there is," said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. "What government in its right mind would reduce its role and oversight of health card renewals?"

Up until now, only public servants who have undergone security checks have been able to register and renew the health cards of Ontarians.

Over the next 18 months, some private contractors who issue driver and vehicle licenses will also be able to renew health cards. This means they will get access to data bases that were previously off-limits.

"We know in a government office that everyone with access to Ontarians' personal information has undergone a security check," said Cheryl Rhodes, chair of OPSEU's government services division. "When it comes to private contractors, the same security controls just aren't in place."

"The contractor will have undergone a police check, but there is no way of knowing whether secure passwords have been shared with staff who have not been checked," she said.

The union is concerned that there will be a repeat of the security breaches that resulted from the privatization of driver and vehicle licensing in 2001, breaches that were highlighted in the Auditor General's 2005 Annual Report.

Contact Information

    Cheryl Rhodes
    OPSEU chair,
    Ministry of Government Services Employee Relations Committee
    (705) 492-7007
    Megan Park
    OPSEU Communications
    (416) 443-8888 ext. 8207