Close to 100 different agencies and advocacy groups received an email containing private information regarding Children’s Disability Services clients.

On Wednesday, staff from Children’s Disability Services (CDS) intended to send Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth (MACY) an email and spreadsheet containing personal information for 9,000 children. The spreadsheet contained personal information about the children's diagnosis and address but did not include personal health identification numbers, social insurance numbers or any financial information.

While the spreadsheet was password-protected, the password was provided in the messaging.

Instead of the email and spreadsheet going to MACY, the province says approximately 100 agencies and advocacy groups received the data. Manitoba Families says that the mistake was human error. 

"Manitoba Families has agreements in place with service providers that set out expectations for protecting personal information, in addition to their broader legal requirement to protect privacy and confidentiality," the province says in a statement. 

The province says that on Thursday it called the service agencies and advocacy groups that received the email to confirm the email had been deleted.

Now, the province is calling families affected by the error to advise them of the information sent and to apologize for the breach. They will also be following up by email.

"Manitoba Families recognizes it has a serious responsibility to protect the personal information of its clients. The mistake was human error, however, the department is following up with staff to review and improve processes to avoid this happening again."

The province says MACY has been informed of this issue and the matter has been referred to the Manitoba Ombudsman, an official that investigates complaints regarding maladministration.