Dozens of workers at Canada’s tax agency have been caught snooping on their ex-spouses, mothers-in-law, creditors and others by reading confidential tax files.
Internal reports at the Canada Revenue Agency show that rogue employees are improperly reviewing the private financial affairs of taxpayers without their knowledge.
And some are using agency computers to give favoured treatment to colleagues, friends, family — and themselves.
In one egregious breach last October, a woman accessed 37,500 emails and 776 documents containing confidential financial information about ordinary Canadians. She downloaded the files onto 17 compact discs for her personal use, inexplicably helped by agency technicians.
Documents outlining the forbidden invasions into private tax data were obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.
In one case, a worker secretly operated a business on the side with her spouse, and between 2004 and 2009 “accessed the accounts of two creditors and the spouse of one of those creditors.”
Another worker was found to have inspected his spouse’s tax information 69 times without permission.
A woman in one unidentified office poked into the agency’s data looking for confidential information on colleagues, friends and family — apparently to give them a break on their taxes.
“The employee made unauthorized access to the tax information of three colleagues and to the tax information of a colleague’s daughter, spouse and mother,” says one report.