BCCLA speaks out against government’s dismissal of Privacy Commissioner’s report

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association says that today’s announcement by the BC government that it has signed a contract with an American company to administer the Medical Services Plan and Pharmacare is a shocking dismissal of citizens’ legitimate privacy concerns. Last week the BC Privacy Commissioner released a report stating that there is a real and substantial risk that outsourcing to US-linked companies will expose British Columbian’s personal information to surveillance by American authorities because of the operation of the USA Patriot Act.

According to BCCLA Policy Director, Micheal Vonn: “The Privacy Commissioner has outlined a comprehensive set of sixteen recommendations for protecting personal information when outsourcing to US-linked companies. The government hasn’t implemented a single recommendation and yet it is signing a contract to outsource our confidential medical information. The government is dismissing the Privacy Commissioner’s report and jeopardizing the medical privacy of British Columbians.”

Although it is too little, too late, the BCCLA nevertheless calls on the government to have the Privacy Commissioner review the contract and immediately implement further amendments to provincial privacy legislation mandating the Privacy Commissioner to undertake compliance audits.

Vonn: “The government has acted in contempt of its own process to ensure privacy protection. It has ignored 150 pages of the most comprehensive report of its kind and claims itself justified because the report did not go so far as to recommend a total ban on outsourcing.”