Notice to the Public Respecting the HRLSC’s Recent Cyberincident
Please note that this FAQ section will be updated as required as the HRLSC’s reopening process moves forward.
This is general information only. It is not legal advice about your situation.
The HRLSC experienced a cybersecurity incident, preventing access to most files and some communications systems. As a result, we had to close temporarily and have our IT team reinforce all our existing technology before being able to resume our services.
Due to the cybersecurity incident on our network, our entire system has been down, including email and phone service.
We are working with our IT staff and technical experts to get our systems back up and running as soon as possible.
We are presently working closely with a team of IT experts and law enforcement agencies, including the Ontario Provincial Police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to discover the source of this cybersecurity incident and of the party responsible for this incident.
Due to ongoing technical issues with our network, we are currently unable to access our data system to retrieve any information or previous files/calls.
We are working with IT experts to retrieve all the information on our network. We will provide updates once we have more information.
We understand your concerns, and we take the security of our communications seriously. Unfortunately, we have lost certain data from the days preceding the incident. At this time, we have no evidence of actual misuse of any of your personal information. The HRLSC is working closely with law enforcement, and a team of legal, forensic, and cybersecurity experts to manage the cybersecurity incident.
We have taken comprehensive measures to secure and reinforce our systems:
- We are working with cybersecurity experts to protect and monitor client information.
- Emails that are sent from HRLSC staff are not infected.
- Out of an abundance of caution, we advise you to stay vigilant of your accounts and of suspicious emails or links that may be sent to your email address associated with us. For information on such precautionary measures see Questions #8 and #9.
Yes, our team took immediate action to secure our systems and engage cybersecurity and forensic experts. To provide legal advice, our Law Society of Ontario obligations require us to collect certain personal information.
We have also enhanced our security protocols to monitor and prevent any future issues. Our priority is and remains the protection of the interests of the individuals who rely upon our services when seeking relief from human rights discrimination under the Human Rights Code of Ontario.
Our staff are continuing to work to meet Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) deadlines, proceed with mediations and working to reopen the HRLSC. We ask for your patience during this difficult time.
The Government of Canada has provided a helpful website to guide individuals on cybersecurity, including how to secure your passwords, devices, and connections. All of that and more can be found at: https://www.getcybersafe.gc.ca/
To summarize some general points from the above link:
- As a general precautionary measure, it is recommended that you regularly change your passwords on all platforms and any other accounts where you use similar passwords;
- Additionally, it is recommended that you keep your operating systems, antivirus software, and all applications up to date;
- Lastly, it is considered best practice to avoid clicking on suspicious links or downloading attachments from unknown sources.
We have also already informed the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC) of this cybersecurity incident. If you have any further concerns, you are free to contact them by phone or by email.
The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario:
Toronto Area: 416-326-3333
Long distance: 1-800-387-0073
We have worked extensively with IT experts to investigate the incident and upgrade the security of our systems with the goal of preventing future cybersecurity incidents such as this.
Once we receive further information from our IT staff and experts working to restore our Portal system, we will let all clients know through our website and social media accounts.
If you have further questions, please refer to our website for further updates and messages regarding our return to service.
We are currently operating at a reduced capacity temporarily as of November 9, 2023, until further notice. Please check our website for updates to confirm our full reopening.
Last updated on 2024-02-05.