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Privacy Commissioner of Canada findings to “Marihuana Medical Access Program” Privacy Incident

privacy-commissioner-canadaA complaint under the Privacy Act, that was filed against Health Canada (HC), by this author and 338 other complainants that took the time to stand up for their rights, has finally been concluded and a detailed lettered response dated March 3rd 2015, has been received after nearly a year and a half waiting.

 

The office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada ((OPC), investigated why the Health Canada “Medical Marihuana Access Program” (MMAP) had sent out 41,514 letters on November 21st, 2013 to clients who received the mail out and were very concerned that the full name of the program was legible through the openly visible windowed envelopes they received, as well as displaying the name and address of the participants involved with the MMAP.

 

The letter, signed by Daniel Therrien, Privacy Commissioner, and dated March 3rd 2015 was sent to this author and is shown below and states that;

Following the investigation into this incident,we have concluded that the matter is well founded.

health-canada-MMAR-letterSummary of Complaint

1. This Report Findings relates to a Commissioner-initiated complaint under the Privacy Act “the Act” against Health Canada (HC). It relates to the mailing 0f 41,514 letters using windowed envelopes to “Marihuana Medical Access Program” (MMAP) clients that allowed the name of the program to be openly visible.

 

Background

2. On November 21st 2013, HC posted a notice on its website from the Deputy Minister stating that the department had “recently sent approximately 40,000 informational letters to individuals with an interest in upcoming changes to the Medical Marihuana Access Program (MMAP)”. It further stated that ,”as a result of an administrative error the envelopes were labelled to indicate that they were sent by the program. This is not standard Health Canada practice.

3. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) determined that there were reasonable grounds for a Commissioner-initiated complaint against the department.

4. Accordingly, the OPC initiated a complaint

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