Update on work to address break-in at Whitehorse Victim Services office

Since the break-in at the Whitehorse Victim Services office, staff at the Department of Justice have been working diligently to assess records and client information stored at the office on Main Street and to address identified security concerns while continuing to serve clients.

A large portion of the records at Victim Services are contained in an electronic database, including client case notes. An audit of the database has been completed and the Department of Justice can confirm that it was not accessed during the break-in.

Staff are still working to complete a detailed inventory of paper records. The cases with the highest potential risks to clients have been prioritized to be reviewed first, though every client’s file will be carefully examined over the course of the records inventory. If any cases have been identified where there are concerns about the integrity of the personal information contained in the files or there is reason to believe the information may have been seen by an intruder during the break-in, efforts are being made to notify those clients directly. In some cases, clients’ contact information may have changed since they accessed support from Victim Services, and staff are continuing their efforts to reach former clients if needed. While staff have completed the assessment of the highest risk cases, the complete inventory will be ongoing into next week.

The cell phones belonging to Victim Services staff that were stolen and contained electronic information have all been disabled remotely through the security software installed on the phones. Work continues to assess and address potential risks from the window of time from when the phones were stolen to when they were disabled. Some additional cell phones were also stolen during the break-in, but they did not include any personal information. The majority of stolen phones were new and blank phones intended to be given out to clients.

Some physical security improvements have already been made at the office. Further improvements will be made as the review of security features continues.

The Whitehorse office will remain closed for the duration of the weekend and is anticipated to re-open to the public next Monday, March 25. Victim Services workers are continuing to provide support services to clients this week, including support with navigating court processes.

Further updates will be provided as information relevant to Victim Services’ clients becomes known through the ongoing work to respond to the break-in and related privacy breaches. In the meantime, anyone concerned about their own files is encouraged to contact Victim Services at 867-667-8500 to discuss the specifics of their file with Victim Services staff. 

I would like to thank the RCMP for their very timely work to identify and apprehend the suspect and to recover items stolen from the Victim Services Whitehorse office. I would also like to thank the staff of the Victim Services Branch who have responded to this crime with the compassion, attentiveness and professionalism that victims have come to expect from the Victim Service workers at the Department of Justice. 

Minister of Justice Tracy-Anne McPhee

Media contact 

Laura Seeley
Cabinet Communications

Fiona Azizaj
Justice Communications

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