On February 19, the Ministère de l’Éducation received confirmation that personal information concerning teachers may have been stolen.
Every effort has been made to properly support and guide the people who may have been affected. Beginning the week of July 27, 2020, those concerned were sent a letter informing them of the measures to take and the resources available. For their protection, they are being offered the services of a credit monitoring company, the cost of which will be assumed by the government for a period of 5 years.
It is possible that a person who never taught at an educational institution could have had their personal information stolen. This might be the case, for example, if a school or college evaluated the schooling of a person who applied for a teaching position and went through the hiring process but never actually ended up teaching. In fact, any teacher who has worked in the school and college networks, as well as any person who has applied for such a position, may have been affected by the data breach.
Anyone who may have been affected should remain vigilant.
The database contains information about everyone who has taught or is currently teaching in Québec, as well as any person who has applied for a teaching position and gone through the hiring process but never actually ended up teaching. However, not everyone listed in the database is affected by the data breach. Individuals who became teachers after February 21, 2020, are not affected either.
These individuals will be entitled to protection at the government’s expense. Beginning the week of July 27, 2020, they were sent a letter indicating the procedure to follow.
As of last February, these individuals have had the option to register for protection at their own expense. They may now modify their account once they receive the letter, and the government will assume the cost of protection.
Equifax has been hired to provide credit monitoring services.
The Equifax CompleteTM Premier plan is the credit monitoring and identity theft protection product used. The plan includes daily access and monitoring of your Equifax credit file and online notifications if there are requests to access or modify your Equifax credit file.
In case of identity theft, the service also includes insurance and services dedicated to identity restoration.
If you have questions, contact Equifax directly , via the website or by phone: 1‑877-493-8785. Phone assistance is available Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
All Equifax products and services are available in English and French.
You must register online. For help with the online registration process, please contact Equifax by phone at 1-877-493-8785, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., or Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
People who are covered by the Equifax CompleteTM Premier plan cannot register for it again. If they did, they would receive a message informing them that they are already subscribed. To take advantage of the protection services offered by the government and restart the 5-year coverage period, you can unsubscribe from the Equifax plan offered by Desjardins and re-subscribe to it using the activation code provided in the letter.
People who are covered by the protection service cannot register for it again. If they did, they would receive a message informing them that they are already subscribed.
To take advantage of this 5-year offer and subscribe to the Equifax CompleteTM Premier plan at the government’s expense, you must unsubscribe from your existing plan and sign up for the new plan using the activation code provided in the letter.
The system from which the information was stolen is used by educational institutions (school service centres, school boards, colleges, private schools) to evaluate a teacher’s schooling before they are hired.
When the system was implemented in 1981, a wave of evaluations took place to assess the schooling of all teaching staff in the school and college networks. As a result, any teacher who has worked in the education network may have been affected by the data breach, even if their employment predates the system’s initial evaluation wave.
A successful schooling evaluation leads to an Attestation officielle de scolarité (official attestation of schooling), which determines a teacher’s salary rate and scale. A teacher's schooling is evaluated using their transcripts, report cards, diplomas and other official documents in accordance with the rules set out in the Manuel d’évaluation de la scolarité (schooling evaluation handbook).
The schooling evaluation handbook itself is based on the Regulation respecting the criteria for evaluating years of schooling as a factor in establishing the qualifications of teaching personnel (RRQ, 1981, c. C-60, r. 4, s. 30).
None of the documents (e.g. diplomas and transcripts) used to evaluate a teacher’s schooling are retained in this database and they are therefore not part of the data breach.
There are five signs that may indicate that a person has become a victim of identity theft:
- A creditor informs them that a request for a credit card was made using their name and address, without the person having made such a request.
- The person receives a call or letter from a creditor informing them that a request under their name was approved or refused, without the person having made such a request.
- The person receives a credit card statement or other bills under their name for a card or for goods and services that were never requested.
- The person no longer receives their credit card statements or notices that they are no longer receiving all of their mail.
- A collection agency informs the person of a recovery process involving an unpaid account in their name, without the person having opened such an account.
Any person who believes they may have been a victim of fraud should contact their municipal police department. The Commission d’accès à l’information du Québec can also provide guidance to citizens following the loss or theft of personal information. A guide entitled Loss or Theft of Personal Information: How Should You React? lists the companies and public agencies to contact. This guide is available online at: www.cai.gouv.qc.ca/documents/CAI_FI_vol_rens_pers_citoyen_eng.pdf .
The people concerned may want to resort to the common law courts.
Government resources are available to victims of identity theft. The Commission d’accès à l’information du Québec provides guidance for citizens whose personal information has been lost or stolen.
A checklist is available for consultation. It explains what to do if you suspect your identity has been stolen and indicates the measures you should take, as well as the companies and public agencies you should contact. For example, it points out the importance of keeping copies of all relevant and official documents and of contacting certain agencies such as financial institutions, service providers, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and Revenu Québec.
Last update: October 9, 2020