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LifeLabs Cyberattack and the OHS

Dec 18, 2019 // Study Updates

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LifeLabs Medical Laboratories is a former service provider to the Ontario Health Study. The OHS learned on December 17, 2019 that LifeLabs had sustained a large cyberattack on its computer systems.

Approximately 28,000 blood samples were collected by LifeLabs on behalf of OHS between fall 2012 and March 2017.

The blood sample requisition form that was filled out by OHS participants and handed to LifeLabs included the following:

  • First and last name
  • Date of birth
  • Sex
  • Health questions related to giving a blood sample

The requisition form did not ask participants to provide their OHIP number.

Upon learning of the LifeLabs incident, OHS immediately contacted LifeLabs for more information, and notified our Privacy Lead. It will take time for the OHS to determine from LifeLabs whether our Study participants’ data were part of the LifeLabs cyberattack, what data may have been involved, and the extent to which any of our participants’ privacy may have been affected.

LifeLabs has stated it will be contacting directly those LifeLabs customers whose lab results may have been impacted. A joint investigation is also underway by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia. Read the joint statement.

We will update you as soon we have more information to share.

 

Kelly McDonald

OHS Program Manager

 

Additional resources:

  • LifeLabs customer notice, including a toll-free number for LifeLabs customers
  • Joint statement and backgrounder by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia.
  • The Ontario Health Study Privacy Lead will respond to your privacy questions or concerns. Contact privacy@OntarioHealthStudy.ca