#CyberFLASH: Government knew of Phoenix privacy breach issue more than a year ago

national-capital-commission-ceo-marie-lemay-announces-detaIn an open letter to public servants posted online Thursday afternoon, Public Services and Procurement Canada deputy minister Marie Lemay said that in both instances, “There was no evidence that employee personal information ever left the hands of federal employees or government contractors.”

The first privacy breach issues surfaced between March and July 2015. The latest, as widely reported earlier this week, occurred between February and April of this year.

Lemay said the privacy breach situations arose during the testing and early implementation of Phoenix, and that “system adjustments and fixes were quickly implemented to prevent further breaches.”

The open letter was published in the wake of media reports outlining the latest privacy breach, in which personal information of all 300,000 civil servants enrolled in the Phoenix pay system could be accessed by as many as 70,000 federal employees.

“I understand that employees may be concerned about this, and I want to assure you that we take the safeguarding of employee personal information very seriously,” Lemay wrote, saying the government followed a “systematic approach … to assess and address causes and consequences.”

According to a CBC News report, documents released this week show officials were warned as early as Jan. 18 of the flaw that allowed the privacy breach.

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