Confidential files accessed, phones stolen during break-in at Yukon victim services

‘We deeply regret that this crime will cause serious concerns for members of our community,’ said Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee in a written statement on Monday. (Chris Windeyer/CBC)

The Yukon victim services office in Whitehorse is closed for two days and RCMP are investigating after a weekend break-in that involved an intruder accessing confidential files that contain personal information and sensitive legal documents.

The break-in and data breach happened sometime between Friday evening and Saturday morning, according to a news release from RCMP on Monday afternoon.

In a statement, the territorial government said that confidential files have been accessed and cell phones stolen, though it’s still unclear how much personal information may have been compromised.

“Files that may have been accessed often include individuals’ names, contact information, and birth dates, as well as information about legal proceedings,” the statement reads.

“We understand that those potentially affected may have serious concerns about their personal information having been accessed and how this information could potentially be used to cause significant harm, such as initiating unwanted contact, attempting identity theft, or attempting to cause reputational damage.”

The victim services office provides a variety of crisis and legal support to people who have been victims of crime. Among other things, it helps victims develop safety plans and apply for restraining orders.

The government says the stolen cell phones have been disabled.

The office will be closed until Wednesday but in the meantime the phone line for victim services with be staffed as normal, at 667-8500. The government statement says staff can answer questions and provide support, including assistance to cover the cost of changing a phone number if someone’s personal information has been accessed and they’re concerned for their safety.

“Our top priority at this time is responding to the specific concerns of those who may have been affected,” the statement reads.

It also says that the department of Justice is reviewing security protocols at the Victim services office.

“We deeply regret that this crime will cause serious concerns for members of our community,” said Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee in a written statement.

“We are taking steps to ensure the safety of our clients and are actively cooperating with the RCMP’s criminal investigation to determine who is responsible and bring them to justice.”

RCMP say they’re looking to the public for any information about the break-in. They’re asking anybody who saw suspicious activity on Main Street between Friday night and Saturday to contact them at 667-5555.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: “We still have a lot of healing to do with our fellow Canadians” – National Day for Truth and Reconciliation observed September 30, Eye on the Arctic

Greenland: Danish PM apologizes to Greenlanders taken to Denmark as children in 1950s, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Norway truth commission details country’s dark history of assimilation, CBC News

Sweden: Sami in Sweden start work on structure of Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Eye on the Arctic

United States: U.S. launches effort to document history of Indigenous residential schools, The Associated Press

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