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Some staff not receiving EI payments after cyber breach at Waterloo Region District School Board

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As Waterloo Region District School Board attempts to restore its IT system after what it’s calling “cyber incidents,” CTV News has learned the breach is causing some staff and support workers to not get paid.

The school board has declined on-camera interviews since news of the breach broke on Wednesday, but confirmed Thursday the incident disrupted services like submitting staff members’ records of employment to Service Canada. That means employees who get laid off every summer and collect unemployment insurance, like educational assistants, child and youth workers, and supply teachers, haven’t been getting paid.

Educational assistant Sue McLeod is one of them.

“We don’t get a paycheque through the summertime, but that doesn’t mean our mortgages stop and we don’t have to put food on the table for our families,” McLeod told CTV News. “We rely on that coming in on time, and now we're at the 21st of July, nothing yet, and no end in sight.”

The school board has told staff data was stolen, but the exact content of that data has not yet been determined.

It said the incident was first brought to its attention on July 10.

Staff have been provided with one year of complimentary credit monitoring – a service that notifies people about unusual banking activities.

“Anytime somebody that you don’t want to has personal information, it’s a big concern and especially because our board has all of our information, our social insurance numbers, our banking information,” said McLeod.

Rima Khatib, an associate professor in business technology management at Wilfird Laurier University, said the most plausible impacts of the breach could be identity theft.

“So possibly hackers could take advantage of the information they have [and] use it to impersonate the people they’ve hacked,” Khatib explained.

The board said it’s working to resolve the issue and working with Service Canada to find an alternative solution.

Meanwhile, McLeod and others are worried.

“We're stressed,” said McLeod. “It’s not an enjoyable first three weeks of summer because we are stressed as to whether we're going to be able meet our bill payments.”

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