Information and Privacy Commissioner to Investigate Information Management and Security in Light of Shaw Court Fire

July 16, 2012

Information and Privacy Commissioner Jill Clayton is initiating an investigation in the wake of the July 11 fire and explosion at the Shaw Court Building in Calgary, which affected a number of computer systems holding personal, health and financial information of Albertans.

Alberta’s access and privacy laws require public bodies, health custodians and businesses to protect against risks that could affect the security and integrity of personal and health information. This includes not only the management of information during normal business operations, but also preparing for unforeseen events.

The investigation will examine the safeguards that public bodies, health custodians and businesses had in place to protect personal and health information affected by the incident at Shaw Court. The investigation will also examine the measures taken by these organizations to protect the information while restoring access to services. The initial scope of the investigation will include Service Alberta, Alberta Health, Alberta Health Services, and ATB Financial.

The Commissioner says the results of her investigation will be published and the office will develop guidelines to assist organizations in planning for system failures. “There are valuable lessons to be learned from an incident like this. We want to make sure that businesses, public bodies and health custodians are able to maintain access to critical information systems in a disaster situation in a way that maintains privacy.”