News Releases

News Release

Privacy Commissioner launches investigation of CIBC breach of Talvest customers' personal information

Ottawa, January 18, 2007 – The Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Jennifer Stoddart, announced today that she is launching an investigation into a breach involving the personal information of close to half a million clients of Talvest Mutual Funds, a subsidiary of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC).

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) was informed by the bank of the disappearance of a hard drive containing personal information and financial data of approximately 470,000 Talvest clients. While the police are investigating, the OPC has been working with the bank to establish the facts and the sequence of events, to assess the privacy risks and to provide advice on how to deal with the situation and notify the individuals affected. Today, the company issued a press release describing from its perspective what happened, what information was involved and what it is doing about the problem.

“Although I appreciate that the bank notified us of this incident and that it is working cooperatively with my Office, I am nevertheless deeply troubled, especially given the magnitude of this breach, which puts at risk the personal information of hundreds of thousands of Canadians,” said Ms. Stoddart. “My Office is committed to carrying out a thorough investigation into this matter and to ensuring that preventive and corrective measures are put in place so that this does not reoccur.”

The Commissioner has determined that she has reasonable grounds for a commissioner-initiated complaint against the CIBC to ascertain whether there has been a contravention of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). The Commissioner has this authority under section 11(2) of PIPEDA, which states that “if the Commissioner is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to investigate a matter… the Commissioner may initiate a complaint in respect of the matter.”

The OPC is mandated by Parliament to act as an ombudsman, advocate and guardian of privacy rights of Canada. The OPC has a number of resources available on its web site to help individuals protect their personal information, including fact sheets entitled Protecting your personal information and Identity Theft: What it is and what you can do about it. For more information go to www.priv.gc.ca.

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For more information, please contact:

Anne-Marie Hayden
Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
Tel: (613) 995-0103
E-mail: ahayden@priv.gc.ca