Health unit privacy breach exposes email addresses of 500 residents of Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland, and Haliburton

Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit has reported incident to Ontario's privacy commissioner

A person reading email on a laptop. (Stock photo)

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit has reported a privacy breach, in which a mass email sent to around 500 residents in Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland, and Haliburton exposed their email addresses to anyone who received the email.

The health unit sent the email, which related to COVID-19 vaccine appointments, to email addresses provided by people when booking their initial appointments.

Because of the way the email was sent, the email addresses of all recipients were included in each copy of the email.

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“We take this issue very seriously and sincerely apologize for this incident,” says medical officer of health Dr. Natalie Bocking in a media release.

“We are reaching out to affected individuals and also working internally to ensure there is no repeat of this situation.”

The health unit, which has reported the privacy breach to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, is asking anyone who received a copy of the email to not forward it to any other person or third party and to delete the copy immediately.

Anyone who needs to contact the health unit can do so at info@hkpr.on.ca or 1-866-888-4577 ext. 5020.