Up to 8,300 patients had their personal information stolen and given to financial companies by staff at Ontario's Rouge Valley Centenary Hospital, it was revealed.

Two staff at the health care facility, in the city of Scarborough, were paid by outside companies to deliver names, addresses and phone numbers. These were then used to contact families to sell Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs), a spokesman for the hospital reportedly said. RESPs are investment schemes designed to prepare for a child's post secondary education.

The breach was discovered in two parts. The biggest, involving 7,600 patients, was discovered in October. A second, smaller breach came to light in March this year. Most of the individuals affected were new mothers.

Ann Cavoukian, Ontario privacy commissioner, and the Ontario Securities Commission are investigating the incident. The two employees involved no longer work at the hospital.