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Public Service school called upon to better protect confidentiality

Senior officials of the Canada School of Public Service, the federal government’s main education institution, received a first-hand lesson about the importance of having procedures to protect personal information.

In August 2012, the School received a letter from the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner (PSIC), the federal official responsible for overseeing Canada’s whistleblower law, the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act.
The letter said that the Integrity Commissioner was going to investigate numerous allegations of wrongdoing against seven employees at the School, identifying the seven individuals and the alleged wrongdoings.

The School had a copy of the PSIC letter hand-delivered to all seven employees named as alleged wrongdoers, advising them to cooperate fully with the investigation.

One of the seven employees being investigated also complained to the OPC that his personal information, due to his name being revealed via the aforementioned letter, had been made public contrary to Privacy Act provisions. Our investigation found his complaint to be well founded.

Following our Office’s recommendations, the School has developed procedures to ensure the confidentiality of information associated with the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act and a plan for addressing privacy breaches.

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