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House of Commons Hansard #99 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was information.

Topics

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, throughout this process what is encryptic is the minister's constant responses.

As she did with the mismanagement of the HRDC funding, the minister is trying to minimize the magnitude of the issue. However the privacy commissioner has raised the alarm and made several very pointed recommendations. The HRDC information has to be secure to ensure Canadians' personal information is not misused.

Will the minister agree to implement these recommendations immediately?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I want to say first and foremost that the issue of privacy when it comes to the information of Canadians is—

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. Minister of Human Resources Development may begin her answer.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Jane Stewart Liberal Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to confirm again that the issue of privacy when it comes to information with regard to individual Canadians is a priority for this government.

I want to make it clear that the privacy commissioner recognized that the information is now securely protected. It is encrypted.

I want to draw attention to the fact that the privacy commissioner is more concerned about what may happen in the future. In that regard that is why we think it would be important to have a working group between my office and his to deal with those issues.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, once again we hear from the HRD minister all sorts of happy talk about the systematic compromise of Canadians' private information.

We have just received an access to information request from the department on an internal audit of HRD which says that because of a breakdown in its system it allows the user to compromise their system and/or engage in fraudulent activities.

This is what an internal audit in her own department shows. What assurance can she give Canadians that the system is going to protect confidentiality?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Because, Mr. Speaker, as a result of a particular audit to which the hon. member makes reference we have taken action.

I would note that we have identified respective regional IT security co-ordinators and we have defined their mandate. I would note that we have formalized the communications mechanism across HRDC, so everyone knows how the information is to be managed. I would also note that we have included an IT security structure and organization in all our security awareness programs.

We did an audit, we found shortcomings and we took action. That is how it is supposed to work.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

That is just great, Mr. Speaker. But what the minister does not tell us is the audit says that according to one network administrator, the main method of finding out about changes to an employee's network access “is at the employee's going away or promotion party”. Unfortunately not all network administrators are invited to these parties, particularly in larger offices.

Why is the government giving out access codes to confidential information for Canadians at bureaucrats' parties?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I would ask why is that party continuing to look at the past? I would point out that time and again that party decides to look at draft reports. It continues to look at old audits. It refuses to look at the actions that have been taken as a result of these tools to move us forward. It is very clear that party will just remain in the past, and Canadians know it.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, in response to the serious concerns of the privacy commissioner, the Minister of Human Resources Development is saying that her department's laws, internal policies and professionalism are enough to protect personal information on the public.

Do we laugh or cry at this? The minister responsible for the greatest administrative scandal ever to shake this government tells us to be calm.

Can the minister tell us in all seriousness that the public can rest easy? Does she not understand that the Canadian public will rest easy only once she stops this hateful collecting of documents?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I would note that not even the privacy commissioner is asking us to stop collecting and using this information.

I want to make it clear that I agree with the privacy commissioner that right now the information is being managed wisely and well. Through encryption and other mechanisms, the information is secure.

I would also agree with the privacy commissioner that we have to be careful as we move forward into the future to ensure that we have appropriate mechanisms in place to make sure this information continues to be secure. We will do that.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, two years have passed since the privacy commissioner informed the government that this practice made no sense.

However, according to the rule that people are not guilty until they are caught, nothing happened, as usual in the other files. The minister signed agreements with eight provinces to obtain even more information on the citizens of Canada. That stopped with Quebec, it did not work with Quebec, because the law in Quebec does not permit this sort of data collection.

When will the minister stop this data collection activity?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, again I want to point out that the privacy commissioner is not saying the information should not be collected. What he is saying is that it should be collected in a fashion so that the information is protected. We are doing that now. We will continue to work with the privacy commissioner to make sure that into the future the same confidence that Canadians need to have in this process will be sustained.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Dick Harris Reform Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister when confronted about constant problems in her ministry always says that they are taking steps and never mind what happened and the mismanagement that went on.

We are not talking about an old internal audit; this was in 1999 and it says “currently a formal national information technology security awareness program has not been established within HRDC”. That is from the minister's own internal audit department.

I have a simple question. How can Canadians possibly believe the assurances—

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Human Resources Development.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, again we see members of that party taking certain things out of context. They are very selective in the kinds of things that they report.

Again when we are talking about this particular audit, we see that the survey says that our information technology security processes were satisfactory by the risk management assessment. It says that HRDC security processes were consistent with what private and federal institutions use.

Those members do it over and over again. They try to scare Canadians when indeed what is happening here on this side of the House is that there is good administration, an administration that is committed—

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member for Prince George—Bulkley Valley.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Dick Harris Reform Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, if that was her final answer, she needs a lifeline perhaps from the lapdog who shares her desk.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I ask the hon. member to please withdraw the word lapdog.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Dick Harris Reform Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

First, Mr. Speaker, I actually like puppies.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Verchères—Les-Patriotes.

CinarOral Question Period

May 17th, 2000 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, for weeks now the Minister of National Revenue has been using confidentiality as his justification for refusing to provide the RCMP with information on the CINAR affair.

How could the Minister of National Revenue decently use the argument of absolute secrecy to justify his refusal to provide the RCMP with information on CINAR, when all this time his department was providing Human Resources Development Canada with T1 and T4 income information, as well as information on child tax benefits?

CinarOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of National Revenue and Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, at the risk of repeating myself once again, part one of the answer is that I cannot comment on a specific case, as the hon. member of the opposition has just done.

Part two is that I would like to tell the Canadian public that the element of confidentiality found in the legislation is a cornerstone, one we as a government are going to protect.

Part three is that, in reference to sharing information with Human Resources Development Canada, this is done according to the act, section 24(1)(c) in particular, for programs we administer jointly with Human Resources Development Canada.

CinarOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the minister can never give an answer in this House and everything is done behind the scenes, can he tell us whether he has been informed by the privacy commissioner, as was his colleague at Human Resources Development Canada, that this transfer of information by his department was, at the very least, inappropriate?