The Federal Government Must Protect Canadians’ Privacy

Ottawa (October 31, 2018): Cathy McLeod, Member of Parliament for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, was shocked to learn that Statistics Canada is asking banks across the country for financial transaction data and personal information on 500,000 Canadians without their knowledge.

“Statistics Canada said they need this data to develop a new institutional personal information bank. In fact, we learned that they have already accessed 15 years’ worth of Canadians’ financial information from the credit bureau TransUnion of Canada, without Canadians’ knowledge or consent,” stated McLeod. “The Prime Minister is in support of this project and even doubled down today in defense of it.”

Statistics Canada directed TransUnion to provide social insurance numbers, names, addresses, dates of birth and detailed credit information, including balances owed, balances overdue, and more than 30 other categories of data.

“Canadians’ personal financial information belongs to them and they have a right to know when it is being accessed and for what purpose,” said McLeod. “The government’s proposed new personal information bank represents a disturbing and unprecedented intrusion into the private lives of individual Canadians.”

This is truly troubling given the government just turned over to the Conservatives a stack of 835 pages of information detailing government privacy breaches. The question that was asked of the government back on April 23, 2018, was as follows:

With regard to privacy breaches, since September 19, 2016, broken down by department, agency, Crown corporation, or other government entity: (a) how many privacy breaches have occurred; and (b) for each privacy breach, (i) was it reported to the Privacy Commissioner, (ii) how many individuals were affected by each breach, (iii) what were the dates of the privacy breach, (iv) were the affected individuals notified that their information may have been compromised and, if so, on what date and in what manner were they notified, (v) what was the incident summary or nature of the breach?

“Once again, we see for ourselves with 835 pages detailing privacy breaches that the Liberals can’t be trusted to protect Canadians’ information. We are calling on the Liberals to stop this new information bank and protect the privacy of Canadians immediately,” concluded McLeod.