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NEWS BRIEFS: Data breach at Health and Social Services


A laptop containing 33,661 health records belonging to NWT residents was stolen from a locked vehicle in the Ottawa area, the Department of Health and Social Services stated on Thursday.

The health information on that laptop included patient names, dates of birth, communities of residence, health card numbers and patients' health conditions and diseases.

The theft, which took place on May 9, constitutes a major breach of patient privacy.

The laptop had strong password protection, but because the device was not encrypted, the chief privacy officer concluded that the theft is tantamount to a data breach.

The department stated there is no evidence yet that data on the laptop has been accessed since the theft.

In response to the incident, Health and Social Services is working to encrypt all laptops and other electronic devices.

"I would like to apologize to our residents," Glen Abernethy, the minister of Health and Social Services, said in a statement on Thursday.

"We must ensure that we are taking all necessary steps to protect the private health information of our residents.

"I have directed our officials to ensure that patients' personal health information is protected at all times."

Library invites children to the Summer Reading Club

On the beach, by the river and in the yard – there are so many places in the summertime to crack a new book.

Recognizing this, the Centennial Library is starting up its Summer Reading Club again this year, through the months of July and August.

Interested young people can pop by the library any day after July 5 for a passport to track their reading.

There are prizes to be won each week, as well as snacks and stories on Thursdays.

Summer Reading Club events will take place on Thursdays, starting July 12.

There will be parent and tot story time for children ages 0 to 5 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., followed by the early readers club (ages five to eight) from 2:30 to 3:30 pm, and the summer readers club (ages nine to 12) from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Town hosts weekly social paddle

This summer, Tuesdays are paddle days.

Town of Hay River guides are hosting weekly social paddles from Hay River to Great Slave Lake.

The route begins at Bob McMeekin Chamber Park at 6 p.m. and finishes at the public beach at 9 p.m.

Rent a kayak for $20, or paddle for free in your own vessel.

Renters are provided with a ride back to town.

Prospective paddlers can register at the Recreation Centre. Spots are limited.