Canada’s Healthcare System Can’t Keep Track Of Patients And Is Vulnerable To Cyberattacks – OpEd


April 17, 2024 marked eight years since my mother, Victoria Billingsley, departed this life at the age of 94. It was also the same day she received a letter from Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare about “the recent cyber incident” affecting local hospitals in the Southwest Ontario region. 

“We can confirm,” the letter explained, “that, unfortunately, you were included in this group and some of the personal health information that you provided to Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare was stolen by cyber criminals. Based on our analysis of these files, we believe the following information of yours was included in the stolen data: Date of Birth, Personal Health Information, OHIP/Health Card Number.” But as my mother should know, it wasn’t all bad. 

“We would like to emphasize that the perpetrators of this attack did not gain access to Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare’s electronic medical record (EMR) system, and this attack did not result in the full theft of all of your personal health information.” 

Even so, my mother had plenty to ponder. 

We recognize that this incident may have shaken your trust in us, and we are focused on earning it back. We are, and always have been, dedicated to the security of your information. We will continue to reinforce that through improved security and training. We have rebuilt our systems to ensure that the perpetrators of this attack and their malware were removed. We have also made substantial improvements to our cybersecurity and network architecture. We have emerged stronger and safer from this.

And there was more to it. 

“We are focused on accountability. We promptly reported the incident to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC). The IPC has opened an investigation file, and while you are entitled to file a complaint, the IPC has advised that it is not necessary as they are already investigating the matter.” So my mother, resting in peace for eight years, need not worry. For those still around, the lesson should be clear

Canada’s government monopoly health care system is vulnerable to cyberattacks and has trouble keeping track of patients. This may prompt people to wonder how the government system performs with those patients still under care. My mother would be okay with that.

This article was published by The Beacon

K. Lloyd Billingsley

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at The Daily Caller.

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