Durham Region Cyber Breach FAQ: Information for Clarington Families
May 10, 2021,
On May 10, 2021, Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington (PVNC) Catholic District School Board assisted the Regional Municipality of Durham in notifying Clarington families about a cybersecurity incident that occured with a third-party software provider used by the Durham Region Health Department.
The incident has impacted the security of personal information for all students and their parents/guardians in our Clarington schools. The Board is mandated to share this information with Durham Health as part of the Board’s obligation under the Immunization of School Pupils Act.
Please read the Regional Municipality of Durham’s notification letter that was sent to impacted families on May 10, 2021, which outlines the nature of the cyber breach and the steps the municipality has taken to address the situation. PVNC is one of three local school boards impacted by this breach, which affects approximately 89,700 students in the Durham Region.
The Municipality has established a dedicated call centre to answer any questions you may have about the incident. Please call 1-833-526-0566, Monday- Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET with any questions you have. Please visit durham.ca/CyberSecurity for updated information.
This is a concerning matter to us as we take very seriously our obligations to protect the personal information of our students and families. We are assured by Durham Region that they have resolved the safety of their computer systems in this area.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does the school board send personal information about students and their parents/guardians to the health department and what does the health department do with this information?
The Board is mandated to share student and parent/guardian information with the health units in our jurisdiction as part of the Board’s obligation under the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA). The health units require this information to maintain up-to-date immunization records of students in accordance with the ISPA.
How many students at the Board have been affected by the Durham Region cyber breach?
At PVNC, 5,328 students have been impacted. All impacted students attend our Clarington schools. The cyber breach has not impacted any other regions of the Board’s jurisdiction. This incident has affected student information at three local school boards within the Durham Region.
My child attends a Clarington School, why have I not received notification of this breach?
We have used our School Messenger service to email the notification letter on behalf of Durham Region Health Department to all students and families in our Clarington school. If you subscribe to emails from your child’s school and have not opted out from receiving board updates, you should have received the letter in your email. You may want to check your spam folder.
For those who have opted out of receiving board email notifications, Durham Health Department will mail out letters to those families.
What is the Ontario Education Number (OEN) and how is it used?
The OEN is a student identification number assigned by the Ministry of Education to elementary and secondary students across the province. The number, which is unique to every student, is used as the key identifier on a student’s school records, and will follow the student through their elementary and secondary education.
The OEN allows school boards and the ministry of Education to maintain reliable records on the movement and progress of individual students through elementary and secondary school, while also protecting their privacy.
Will the release of my child’s OEN compromise their personal information security in the future?
The unauthorized disclosure of a student’s OEN should not pose any further security risk to a student or their family as the OEN is used for internal record keeping purposes and would not unlock any additional information about a student or their family.
In light of the breach at Durham Health, our IT department has reviewed all of our internal processes and applications that are accessible externally. With the information that has been disclosed, there are no internal processes that are impacted. Externally, PVNC will be reviewing any public facing processes and discontinuing any processes that use breached information for authentication.
I have specific questions about the nature of the breach, where do I go for answers?
The Regional Municipality of Durham has established a dedicated call centre to answer any questions you may have about the incident. Please call at 1-833-526-0566, Monday- Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET with any questions you have. Please visit durham.ca/CyberSecurity for updated information.
I have specific questions I want answered by the school board, where do I go for answers?
Please contact the Board by telephone at 1-800-461-8009 or through the Board’s contact form on our website.