On April 24, 2020 a voter list containing contact information for Métis citizens within the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Region 7 was mistakenly sent to an official of another Métis government by a MNO staff member. As directed by the MNO’s Chief Electoral Officer, this document was intended to be emailed to one of the candidates running for office in that Region as per the requirements of the MNO Electoral Code.
*Please note this information did not include the date of birth of any MNO citizens.
The MNO leadership places a great deal of importance on its citizens’ privacy. For this reason, in the hours and days following the error, the MNO took decisive action:
- Informed the official of the Métis government who received the confidential information that the email was sent in error and requested that they immediately destroy it;
- Retained a privacy lawyer with expertise in these matters to ensure the appropriate steps are taken and implemented;
- Notified the Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (PCMNO) about the error and outlined the steps being taken to review and implement enhanced email protection measures.
- Took immediate steps to review its existing procedures related to the distribution of lists for election purposes and implemented a requirement that all lists be password protected.
- Sent a written letter from the privacy lawyer to the official that received the information in error reiterating that the information be destroyed and not be used for any purposes whatsoever.
- Prepared and is mailing letters to all citizens that were on this list informing them of the error, the actions taken to review and assess existing process and steps taken to strengthen and improve these processes including the implementation of enhanced email password protection measures.
- Prepared and posted this notice on the MNO website to inform citizens of the error.
We sincerely apologize for this error. Based on our review, the error occurred in part due to the autocomplete function of Outlook suggesting the email address of the official in the other Métis government, which was not identified by the MNO staff member prior to sending.
Effective immediately, any lists containing personal information of members will be password protected prior to being shared by the MNO. Further, password protected voter lists will be shared via email directly from the MNO Registry on behalf of the MNO’s Chief Electoral Officer to ensure a similar error is not repeated.
The MNO wants to assure its citizens that this error will in no way have any impact on the electoral process, nor will it give any candidate an unfair advantage. The MNO’s voting process remains rigorous and robust with extensive security protocols in place. More information can be found here /media/655686/elections-security-letter-april.pdf.
If you have any questions about this matter, please contact:
Jennifer St. Germain
Chief Strategy Officer
1100-66 Slater Street
Ottawa, ON K1P 5H1
w: 613-798-1488 x.101
Posted on April 29, 2020