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LifeLabs data breach victims receive payments

Kingston residents are among the over 900,000 claims that have been deemed valid in a multi-million class action settlement against LifeLabs Inc.

Anyone who was a LifeLabs customer on or before Dec. 17, 2019 and who lived in Canada as of Oct. 25, 2023 was eligible to submit a claim, with the window to do so closing on April 6, 2024.

The private medical diagnostics company has three locations in Kingston, and in December 2019 the company had a data breach for which the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC) found the company failed to protect private information.

“A joint investigation by the Information and Privacy Commissioners of Ontario and BC has found that LifeLabs failed to protect the personal health information of millions of Canadians resulting in a significant privacy breach in 2019,” the 2020 statement read.

“The joint investigation revealed that the company’s failure to implement reasonable safeguards to protect the personal health information of millions of Canadians violated Ontario’s health privacy law, PHIPA, and BC’s personal information protection law, PIPA.”

The vast majority of those impacted were from Ontario and BC, although there were some throughout other provinces and territories.

Initially payments were expected to be ranging in between $50 and $150, but with deduction and 901,544 valid claims the payouts were only a total of $7.86 by e-transfer or $5.86 by cheque (a deduction of $2 for a processing fee).

LifeLabs has maintained that while the data was accessed by hackers, the company was not negligent in its protection of customer data.

“The Action alleged that LifeLabs was negligent in its protection of that data. LifeLabs denied all such allegations,” read the company’s statement.

“The Class includes approximately 8.6 million persons whose personal information (including provincial health card numbers) was stolen, including approximately 131,957 Class members whose confidential test requisitions or test results were stolen by hackers.

LifeLabs paid a ransom and the cyber-attackers returned the data. That data has not been identified as being sold on the dark web or otherwise misused by anyone.”

The negotiated settlement was approved in October 2023 with LifeLabs ordered to pay up to $9.8 million and at least $4.9 million.

When first presented, the class action sought $1.13 billion for Lifelabs’ clients.

Owen Fullerton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Owen Fullerton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporterhttp://ygknews.ca
Born and raised in Whitby, Ontario, Owen has been living in Kingston for about three years after starting the band Willy Nilly. Prior to that he worked at CKLB radio in Yellowknife and completed studies in Niagara College's Broadcasting program.

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