Quebec court approves $200 million settlement in Desjardins personal information leak

The Quebec Superior Court has approved a settlement agreement of more than $200 million reached with the Fédération des Caisses Desjardins in class actions related to the personal information leak announced in June 2019.

Law firms Siskinds Desmeules and Kugler Kandestin said in a statement Friday that all individuals affected by the Desjardins personal information leak will be able to file a claim, regardless of where they live.

According to the law firms, the total monetary compensation available to class members could reach a maximum of $200,852,500.

Class members will be able to claim compensation for lost time due to the leakage of personal information, as well as compensation for identity theft.

The latter will be a lump sum payment of up to $1,000, according to the official Desjardins Settlement website, administered by RicePoint.

Class members do not need to take any action at this time. Notices to members with instructions on how to file a claim will be sent out over a period of several months beginning around July 21, the law firms said.

Notices to members and clients are planned through AccesD, by mail, and through newspaper advertisements.

The targeted group includes anyone in Canada affected by the personal information leaked publicly disclosed by Desjardins on June 20, 2019.

The two firms noted that the agreement provides an extension for class members who have not yet subscribed to the Equifax credit monitoring service to allow them to subscribe for a period of five years, at Desjardins’ expense.

There is also talk of maintaining the other protection measures put in place for the last five years by Desjardins in response to the personal information leak.

DAMNING REPORTS

In December 2020, two damning reports on the data leak that affected more than 9.7 million people in Canada and abroad, including nearly 7 million Quebecers, concluded that Desjardins had not respected several of its obligations under the Act respecting the protection of personal information in the private sector.

The Commission d’accès à l’information du Québec report noted that the cooperative had “failed to comply with its obligations to limit access to personal information, particularly that stored in shared directories.”

The Desjardins employee who leaked the information was a member of the marketing team at Desjardins’ head office.

He had access to personal information that his database access rights did not allow him to obtain, the Commission d’accès à l’information report noted.

Contrary to the guidelines, the confidential information was located in directories shared by all employees of the marketing team.


— This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on June 17, 2022.

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