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Information of 360,000 people affected in Ontario vaccine data breach

The breach happened on Nov. 16, 2021 after the Ford government received reports that spam text messages were being sent out to some Ontarians who booked vaccination appointments through the system or accessed their proof of vaccination QR code.
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THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

The Ontario government says it is notifying about 360,000 people whose personal information was involved in a vaccine database breach more than a year ago.

The breach happened on Nov. 16, 2021 after the Ford government received reports that spam text messages were being sent out to some Ontarians who booked vaccination appointments through the system or accessed their proof of vaccination QR code.

The Ontario Provincial Police investigated and charged two people, 22-year-old Rahim Abdu from Québec and 21-year-old Ayoub Sayid of Gloucester, Ont. Sayid worked in a vaccine booking call centre and is a former employee of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.

Since then, the government says it has been working with the police and privacy commissioner.

The government says it takes time to determine the scale and impact of such a breach.

The Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery said in a statement that for more than 95 per cent of the 360,000 people affected, only their names and/or phone numbers were exposed in the breach.

The ministry tells CityNews that four per cent of individuals had their health card number compromised.

“Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine booking system is regularly monitored and tested as part of the Ministry of Health’s cyber security protocols and we remain confident that the booking system continues to be a safe and secure tool for Ontarians to use,” the ministry said in a statement.

Files from Richard Southern were used in this report. 

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