The province of Ontario accidentally created a data breach after printing the wrong mailing addresses on health care card renewal forms containing citizens' personal information.
The province of Ontario accidentally created a data breach after printing the wrong mailing addresses on health care card renewal forms containing citizens' personal information.

The Canadian province Ontario mistakenly exposed thousands of residents' personal information after printing the wrong addresses on individuals' health card renewal forms, causing them to be sent to other people, according to a report in the Ottawa Citizen.

One side of the double-sided forms include the recipient's health card number, birth date and home address. But because the mailing addresses printed on the other side of the forms were mismatched, more than 5,600 people had their information sent to a random stranger, the report explains.

“The ministry will be sending out a letter to all those who received these notices apologizing for this incident and asking them to return the letters they received in the included pre-paid envelopes," said Anne-Marie Flanagan, a spokeswoman for Ontario's Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, in an emailed statement, the Citizen reported. The province has suspended further printing and mailing of the notices until the cause of the problem is determined and resolved, Flanagan reportedly added.

Brian Beamish, information and privacy commissioner of Ontario, also commented on the breach: “It is the responsibility of public institutions to ensure that the personal information of individuals remains secure and protected at all times," said Beamish, according to the Citizen.