With the OSC investigation of maternity records improperly still obtained ongoing, RESP dealers are put in the spotlight. And it could be just the tip of the iceberg.
The initial comments on WPs website regarding last week’s story
about RESP-gate have been clear in their contempt for the OSCs latest takedown. Incredulously, while the privacy of 8,300 patients was compromised over a period of four years, the OSC has yet to reveal any of the RESP dealers involved in buying these improperly obtained lists.
Michael Crystal is an Ottawa-based lawyer. His firm is leading a $412 million class-action lawsuit
against Rouge Valley Centenary Hospital on behalf of the patients whose records were compromised. Crystal believes this privacy breach is far reaching involving many more hospitals. In his words, “there’s a lot more information coming down the pike.”
From an industry standpoint, should it be proven that RESP dealers were proactively working with alleged defendant Shaida Bandali, the economic consequences could be extremely detrimental to the entire group (a federal government website lists 79 promoters) which doesn’t have a stellar reputation to begin with.
To make matters worse, the RESP dealers who contacted new parents immediately following the birth of their children were extremely hard sell in their approach making several calls to prospective clients. Things are so sensitive at this point that the RESP industry has contacted Crystal in an attempt to mitigate damages.
Crystal is quick to point out that Rouge Valley Centenary’s been very proactive in its efforts to investigate and deal with the matter. Unfortunately, it appears that snooping, whether for titillation (Rob Ford) or commercial purposes in the case of Bendali, has become commonplace in health care facilities these days.
It’s for this reason Ontario’s Privacy Commissioner is conducting its own investigation
into what happened at Rouge Valley Centenary. It wants to avoid these types of incidents from repeating themselves.
So, until all the information comes out about this case including the names of the dealers involved, it’s going to very hard for anyone to have much faith in the RESP industry.
And when it comes to hospitals and privacy, this could be the tip of the iceberg.