Boxes of priceless letters and artifacts from wars are part of Vancouver Island University professor Stephen Davies’ life’s work as the founder of the Canadian Letters and Images Project.

“It’s a matter of trust,” said Davies.

“And that people trust us to look after our materials.”

In all his years of running the project, he has never lost an item. And he said he holds the BC Pension Corporation to the same standards. But he has just learned his information was exposed in a privacy breach.

“I was shocked that this would be so sloppy,” said Davies.

The BC Pension Corporation revealed in a letter Davies received this week, that all of his personal information was lost when a box packed with microfiche (a flat piece of film containing microphotographs) of 8,000 members’ data vanished during a move between Victoria offices.

“It’s very serious and disconcerting to have your information lost by a government corporation,” said Davies.

Everything from names to social insurance numbers and employment history gone.

The letter reads:
“The microfiche contains the personal information of College Pension Plan members from 1982-1997. We immediately undertook an extensive search. Regrettably, we were unable to locate the missing microfiche and on January 28, 2019, declared a privacy breach.”

But the letter notifying Davies and colleagues wasn’t sent out until two months later.

“So I am worried,” said Davies.

“I do check my banking, but it has taken them two months to inform me,” he said.

BC Pension Corporation declined CHEK News’ request for an on-camera interview, but say they’re sorry for the breach. They are insisting that the risk of identity theft against the 8,000 people affected is low though because it takes special equipment, a microfiche reader, to read the lost data.

CHEK News’ brief search online found you can buy one of those readers for less than $100 on certain sites.

“It’s very creepy that someone has this information or could potentially have this information about you,” said Davies.

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for BC is now investigating the privacy breach.

Skye Ryan