Veterans Affairs Canada privacy breaches of CF and RCMP vets spotlighted

Canadian Veteran Dennis Manuge is fed up waiting for the government to take action against those in Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) who continue to access disabled veterans‘ private health records. He has built a new Facebook page called Veterans Affairs Canada Privacy Breaches on disabled Vets of CF & RCMP in which he is listing the names of VAC staff who breach CF and RCMP members’ files. He is doing it even if he is jailed, he says, though advocate Jeff Rose-Martland pointed out: “In order for them to send you to jail they’d have to prove your accusations are false…which would be difficult.”

Below is an article reposted from the CBC announcing Canada’s Privacy Commissioner will be releasing a report on how VAC handles privacy issues in early 2012. We all look forward to reading this. BONNIE

Veterans’ privacy audit report coming in 2012

By Laura Payton, CBC News

Posted: Nov 7, 2011 7:13 PM ET

Last Updated: Nov 8, 2011 12:19 AM ET

Sylvain Chartrand, Canadian Veterans’ Advocate, whose medical records VAC has breached.
Photo of Dennis Manuge, Canadian veteran whose privacy records VAC has breached.

An audit into Veterans Affairs Canada and how it handles privacy issues will be released in early 2012, Canada’s privacy commissioner said Monday.

The news came as a third veteran went public with complaints into the number of times civil servants accessed his file, and how his file was handled at the agency.

Sylvain Chartrand, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Bosnia, says his file was accessed more than 4,000 times between 2003 and 2010.

HIs complaint is similar to one by Sean Bruyea, another veteran who advocates for veterans’ rights, and whose private medical information was shared with both Liberal and Conservative ministers of veterans affairs.

A statement by a spokeswoman for Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart says an audit into how Veterans Affairs handles private information is coming soon.

“We are currently conducting an audit of Veterans Affairs,” Anne-Marie Hayden said. “It is examining, at a systemic level, the department’s personal information management practices and compliance with federal privacy legislation.

“As part of the audit, we are closely monitoring the progress of their implementation of our recommendations, resulting from the investigation of Veterans Affairs concluded in October 2010 … We anticipate making the audit findings public in the winter of 2012.”

Third Privacy Breach

Chartrand filed a complaint with the privacy commissioner in 2008 about an official at Veterans Affairs giving information to an official from the Department of National Defence.

Assistant Privacy Commissioner Chantal Bernier found the complaint was valid but didn’t recommend any corrective action because the agency had already taken action, she said in a letter to Chartrand.

Chartrand and fellow veteran Dennis Manuge requested their records after hearing about Bruyea’s case. They have all advocated for veterans rights.

Manuge, speaking to Evan Solomon on CBC Radio‘s The House, says records show civil servants in Victoria, Winnipeg and Mississauga, Ont., accessed his file, as well as a senior writer in the minister’s office. He says he doesn’t know why they would have needed access to a file containing his personal records.

Chartrand is now the third veteran to go public with privacy concerns, speaking to Solomon today on CBC’s Power & Politics.

A statement by Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney says the government worked with Stoddart’s office to strengthen its privacy rules.

“Our government will not tolerate any violation of veterans’ privacy. That’s why we took action a year ago to ensure strict disciplinary measures for those who violate the law, while strengthening access controls and monitoring,” he said.


About Bonnie Toews and John Christiansen

Bonnie's Blog Posts invite our readers and free spirits everywhere to share life's adventures with us. I talk about writing my novels, reading books, chatting with other writers and John's and my journeys around the world. We welcome your anecdotes to our experiences and discussions.
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