Canada Student Loans Program

Privacy Breach

New - Your credit file is now also protected, at no cost, by TransUnion Canada

June 28, 2013: HRSDC has purchased a customized package from the credit bureau TransUnion Canada, tailored specifically to this incident, and is available to everyone who may have been affected. This additional, reliable credit protection will, along with services already offered by Equifax, offer protection of personal information.

TransUnion will safeguard credit files of affected individuals with notations that information may have been compromised, and alert messages will be placed on those credit files. Through its agreement with TransUnion, HRSDC is able to offer, free of charge, this customized package to affected individuals.

Individuals who have already provided their consent for credit protection are not required to do anything as they will automatically be included to receive this service from TransUnion Canada.

For affected clients who have not yet provided their consent, they may do so by calling our toll-free line at 1-866-885-1866 (calls within North America), or 1-416-572-1113 (calls from outside North America), or 1-800-263-5883 (if you have a speech impairment and use a teletypewriter - TTY).

The notation will stay on credit files at TransUnion and Equifax for a period of six years unless affected individuals choose to have it removed. This flag will alert credit grantors that data may have been compromised, and lenders will then take additional steps to verify the person’s identity before granting credit or opening or using accounts.

Important: the credit file notation does not impact your credit rating.

At this time, HRSDC has no evidence that any of the information on the hard drive has been accessed or used for fraudulent purposes.

Additional Information is available if you wish to request this free service or if you suspect your personal information may have been compromised.


Notice - Change of Hours of Operation

Due to lower call volumes, as of March 4th, the hours of operation for the toll free number established by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada for individuals to verify if they are affected by this incident listed in the January 11th, 2013 news release, will be changed as follows:

  • Monday to Friday: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (EDT)

February 19th, 2013: Please be advised that the electronic storage device containing personal information of 583,000 Canada Student Loan borrowers who were clients of the Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP) from 2000-2006 also contained personal information of affected clients who fall outside the 2000-2006 period. Of the individuals affected, 2,800 fall outside the 2000-2006 period and of those 2,600 are in 2007. The department has already communicated with over 1,600 of these affected borrowers. Efforts continue to locate current contact information for all affected borrowers.


Update

February 8, 2013: HRSDC has sent letters to all affected individuals for whom we had current contact information, in order to advise them of the incident and what steps to take to help protect their personal information. Although the technical issue is now fully resolved, less than 100 people may have received in error a letter addressed to another client as the result of a printer error. The letter did not include any personal information beyond name and address. Pre-paid envelopes have been sent to the concerned individuals so that they may return the copies of letters sent to them in error.


New - Your credit file can now be protected by Equifax at no cost

February 1, 2013: HRSDC has purchased a customized package from Equifax Canada, which is a unique solution tailored specifically to this incident, and is available to everyone who may have been affected. This credit protection is a reliable and appropriate strategy that will assist in preventing misuse of personal and credit information.

Equifax will safeguard credit files of affected individuals with notations that information may have been compromised and alert messages will be placed on those credit files. Through its agreement with Equifax, HRSDC is able to offer, free of charge, its customized package to affected individuals who provide their consent to receive this service by calling our toll free line at 1-866-885-1866 within North America. For calls from outside of North America, affected citizens can call 1-416-572-1113 and dial 0 to speak to an operator in order to reverse the charges. Callers with a hearing or speech impairment and who use a teletypewriter (TTY) can call at 1-800-263-5883.

The notation will stay on credit files for a period of six years unless affected individuals choose to have it removed. This flag will alert credit grantors that data may have been compromised, and lenders will then take additional steps to verify the person’s identity before granting credit or opening or using accounts.

"In taking this proactive initiative, HRSDC is adopting a proven safeguard against identity theft," said Carol Gray, President of Equifax Canada. "The system of placing notations on your credit files, which we will do through this agreement, is an industry standard in protecting the personal and credit information of Canadians. Placing alerts on your credit file can help ensure that your credit and financial well-being are sound and safeguarded."

Important: the credit file notation does not impact your credit rating.

At this time, HRSDC has no evidence that any of the information on the hard drive has been accessed or used for fraudulent purposes.

Read the new Minister's statement on this new credit protection service.

Additional Information is available if you wish to request this free service or if you suspect your personal information may have been compromised.


January 11, 2013: Please be advised that an electronic storage device, also known as an external portable hard drive, containing personal information on 583,000 Canada Student Loan borrowers who were clients of the Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP) from 2000-2006 has been lost from an HRSDC office in Gatineau, Quebec.

While there is no evidence at this time that any of the information has been accessed or used for fraudulent purposes, this incident is being taken very seriously and the Office of the Minister has engaged the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Extensive and thorough search efforts have been undertaken and continue.

The external portable hard drive included:

  • personal information on 583,000 Canada Student Loan borrowers who were clients of the CSLP from 2000-2006. Student loan borrowers from the province of Quebec, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories during the same time period are not affected;
  • Student names, Social Insurance Numbers, dates of birth, contact information and loan balance of Canada Student Loan borrowers;
  • Personal contact information of 250 HRSDC employees;
  • No banking or medical information was included on the portable hard drive.

HRSDC is sending letters to individuals affected, for whom we have current contact information, to advise them of the incident and what steps to take to help protect their personal information.

A toll-free number has been set-up at 1-866-885-1866 (or 1-416-572-1113 for those outside of North America) for individuals to verify if they are affected by this incident, and to ask additional questions regarding this issue. Hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.EST, 7 days a week, starting Monday, January 14, 2013, for as long as needed.

People with a hearing or speech impairment and using a teletypewriter (TTY) can call 1-800-263-5883. This toll-free number will also be operational 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.EST.

Additional Information if you suspect your personal information may have been compromised.

Read the Minister's statement on this incident.