Privatizing health cards and driver

'There is no place for the profit motive when it comes to guaranteeing the security of citizens.' - Leah Casselman

Toronto (13 March 2007) - The Ontario government's announcement that it has selected a private company to manufacture health cards and driver’s licences jeopardizes the confidentiality of personal data-keeping and flies in the face of warnings by the provincial auditor general, says the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE).

The government’s move to privatize the public service also comes on the heels of a warning from the federal privacy commissioner, which has said that the proposed use of citizenship information on driver’s licences - to facilitate border-crossing between Canada and the United States - comes at a significant risk to privacy.

OPSEU president Leah Casselman says privatization of licence and health card production should be "of grave concern to all Ontarians who treasure the confidentiality of personal records."

“The government has provided no evidence whatsoever that a private company is better able to protect the security of personal information,” said Casselman. “Keeping this information under direct ministerial control inside the public service is a better way of protecting the privacy of Ontarians.

“There is no place for the profit motive when it comes to guaranteeing the security of citizens.”

Markham-based Giesecke and Devrient Systems Canada (G&D) will take over the production of health cards and driver’s licences. The change means the loss of 30 Ontario jobs at the government services ministry in Kingston.

Casselman cited the 2005 provincial auditor general’s report which said that 56,000 secure items – including temporary driver’s licences – had been lost or stolen from offices of private licence issuers. The auditor also found widespread overcharging, and illegal changes to data at private licence issuing offices. NUPGE

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