The Ministry of Public Security forgot documents containing confidential data of employees and inmates when emptying its Tanguay women’s prison in 2016.
These documents were freely accessible, while the disused building in the north of Montreal was subject to repeated intrusions. The presence of these files was also reported on social networks.
“Two uncrossed files contain files of employees of the correctional network, in which there is personal information,” describes a legal decision rendered during the summer. “A box, containing personal information on incarcerated people, is also spotted. »
The information leak was previously made public in December 2020, but this is the first time that so many details have been disclosed.
This is because the Ministry official held responsible and suspended for this blunder, Koffi Doumon, is now fighting his employer in order to have access to the investigation report on the events. The Ministry refuses. A first decision from the Commission for Access to Information (CAI) aimed at resolving this dispute reveals facts unknown until now.
In particular, it is revealed that it was retired employees who alerted the Ministry to the fact “that messages were circulating on social media stating that personal information had been found in the establishment, although it was closed”. During an initial visit to the premises, “DVD recordings” were also found.
Threats of prosecution
The Ministry of Public Security has opened an investigation into the situation.
“The investigation reveals that personal and confidential information was left inside the establishment following its closure,” testified Vince Parente, director general of the Montreal correctional network, before the CAI. “The investigation concluded that certain factors contributed to the occurrence of this incident, including, mainly, the negligent actions (of Mr. Doumon), responsible for the move and the closure of the establishment. » Recommendations for improving administrative processes were also made.
The Ministry of Public Security has just suffered a first setback in its attempt to keep its report secret. His lawyers argued that it had to be kept secret because it could potentially be used in a lawsuit.
Moreover, several of the “people targeted by (the violation of) confidentiality had threatened the organization to file complaints and demand payment of damages by invoking its failure to protect the personal information concerned,” argued the Ministry. .
The CAI determined that the report was prepared in the ordinary course of the Department’s business and not in preparation for a trial, rejecting the Department’s arguments. A new hearing will take place on the other reasons for refusal.
Reached by telephone, Koffi Doumon did not want to comment on the matter.
“After verifications, we are awaiting a hearing date before the CAI for the continuation of the case,” indicated Louise Quintin, public relations officer for the Ministry of Public Security (MSP). In order to respect the judicial process, the MSP will not comment at this time. »