Stolen hard drive privacy breach affects 3,000 people, GNWT says

A Google Streetview image of the Lahm Ridge Tower
A Google Streetview image of the Lahm Ridge Tower.

The Northwest Territories government says 3,000 people are affected by a privacy breach involving the theft of hard drives from a Yellowknife building.

In a news release on Tuesday, the GNWT said hard drives had been among items taken from the Department of Education, Culture and Employment offices at Lahm Ridge Tower on March 16.

Announcing the theft more than a month later, the territory said the hard drives contain the personal information of people who were on income assistance between 2006 and 2014.

The GNWT said the theft was immediately reported to the RCMP and the NWT’s information and privacy commissioner, and an internal investigation is ongoing.



Individuals affected have been sent letters, the territory stated.

The GNWT said information on the hard drives is believed to include:

  • names of people, their spouses and dependents;
  • mailing addresses;
  • dates of birth;
  • marital status;
  • income assistance financial case reports from 2006 to 2014; and
  • in some cases, social insurance and healthcare numbers.

“Following the discovery of the breach, staff immediately began a comprehensive audit of the 2006-2014 client files to create an accurate inventory of affected individuals,” the GNWT stated.

“The department continues to assist the RCMP, and a final privacy breach report is anticipated to be submitted to the information and privacy commissioner by April 28, 2023.”

The territory said anyone who believes they are affected and has questions, or did not receive a letter, should contact the manager of income security programs.