Montreal, December 10, 2019 - Desjardins Group President and CEO Guy Cormier and Senior Executive Vice-President, Chief Operating Officer and interim Executive Vice-President of Information Technology Réal Bellemare have announced new privacy protection measures.

Additional security investments

Last week, Desjardins announced new leadership with major changes to its senior management team and the creation of the Desjardins Group Security Office.

The Desjardins Group Security Office will:

  • Work closely with Desjardins's business sectors and support functions, including marketing, risk management and information security. The office will coordinate organizational initiatives and institute integrated, cross-sector security strategies.
  • Continue to protect Desjardins members and clients, their assets and their personal information.
  • Implement an industry-standard security reporting process.

"In addition to the security investments we made earlier this year and the creation of the Desjardins Group Security Office, we're substantially increasing our security budget moving forward," said Réal Bellemare.

More people covered by privacy protection measures

Our internal review and analysis has allowed us to clarify the scope and the scale of the information the ex-employee responsible for the privacy breach had in his possession. Given that as part of his job he had access to personal information about caisse (banking) members as well as credit cardholders and clients with in-store financing, and because he was clearly acting with ill intent, Desjardins has decided to extend its privacy protection measures.

However, it's important to note that Desjardins's internal review and analysis has not shown that any of this additional information has been shared by the ill-intentioned ex-employee with third parties. Credit cards and other payment methods (Interac, debit cards) have not been compromised, nor have passwords, security questions or PINs.

Desjardins's internal review and the latest information from the police still suggest that the ill-intentioned ex-employee acted alone in the privacy breach. Desjardins continues to cooperate with the police.

Desjardins has decided to extend Desjardins Identity Protection to all its members and clients. From now on, all members and clients who do business with Desjardins will be covered by Desjardins Identity Protection.

"As we've been saying since we first announced it, we intend to update Desjardins Identity Protection as needs evolve. Until Canada develops a robust digital identity system, we believe that expanding coverage to a larger group of people is the right thing to do. In the meantime, we intend to offer the best possible protection against identity theft. We hope the rest of the industry will follow suit," said Guy Cormier.

Desjardins would also like to reassure members that there has been no significant uptick in fraud.

About the privacy protection measures

Desjardins Identity Protection is free of charge and includes:

  1. Protection: Accounts and assets at Desjardins are fully protected against unauthorized transactions.
  2. Support: If a member or client's identity is stolen, Desjardins can provide individual support through every step of the identity recovery process.
  3. Reimbursement: Members and clients may be reimbursed up to $50,000 for expenses they incur to recover their identity, such as notary or attorney's fees and lost wages.
  4. Monitoring: Members and clients have access to free five-year Equifax credit monitoring, which includes daily access to credit scores on Equifax's website, as well as credit report monitoring and alerts of key changes.

Former members, and former clients who had a credit card or in-caisse or in-store financing, can also get free Equifax credit monitoring, which includes credit report monitoring, identity theft assistance and insurance to cover some expenses.

Notices will be issued to inform everyone who's eligible for Equifax credit monitoring. For more information, they can also visit www.desjardins.com/personal-information.

Progress on digital identity

When it comes to protecting personal information, Desjardins is in it for the long haul. In Q1 2020, Desjardins will be sharing the findings of its new privacy protection and digital identity committee. Desjardins will also have additional details on the creation of the francophone branch of the Digital ID & Authentication Council of Canada, which Desjardins co-founded.

"In today's digital world, we all need to adopt best practices to protect against identity theft. In addition to giving our members, clients and employees the best tools available, we'll continue to work closely with regulators and governments to implement best practices, including new legislative frameworks," said Guy Cormier.

For journalists only: Media Relations, Desjardins
514-281-7000 or 1-866-866-7000, ext. 5553436
media@desjardins.com