Eli Ridder | Report

York Regional Police are investigating a data breach of customer information from 407 ETR, the company that manages the Toronto area toll route and the former employer of University of Guelph-Humber alumnus Simmer Sandhu. 

GH alumnus quits race

Justice head PC candidate

Mr. Sandhu was in the running for the provincial election as a Progressive Conservative Party candidate before resigning on Wednesday over allegations of stealing data from the company, an accusation he denies.

A spokesperson for York police told CBC News on Friday that the probe is in its earliest stages and thus very few details were available at this time, and did not say whether the investigation will include the accusations of Sandhu’s ties to the breach.

Mr. Sandhu, who graduated Guelph-Humber as part of its inaugural business class, won the nomination in December to run for the PC Party in Brampton East and is featured on the university’s website as a notable alumnus.

Sandhu worked for nine years at 407 Express Toll Route as a team leader for collections litigation, the company that owns a toll road through the Greater Toronto Area.

Late on Wednesday, the company said it was informing 60,000 customers that identity information such as their names, mailing addresses and a few phone numbers were stolen from its office during the past year.

In a statement posted via social media, Sandhu said he had “recently been made aware of allegations anonymously made against me pertaining to both my work life and my nomination campaign,” calling the accusations “totally baseless”.

Sandhu made clear that he would “vigorously defend” himself and he is confident he will be found not guilty, without going into detail into exactly what the allegations are.

“However, I feel it is impossible for me to continue as PC candidate in Brampton East while doing so,” explaining that he didn’t want to take attention away from the campaign of the Progressive Conservative campaign.

407 ETR’s investigation into the incident “is being investigated as an inside theft of data”, but the company has not said who is part of the probe.

However, PC spokeswoman Melissa Lantsman said that “in light of the investigation into Simmer Sandhu, he felt it was necessary to stand down as a candidate and we accepted his resignation.”

Liberal campaign co-chair Deb Matthews titled the allegations as “very disturbing” in a written statement released Wednesday evening.

The Progressive Conservative Party named Sudeep Verma as its new candidate in place of Sandhu Simmer in Brampton East.

“I think they are implying he used the customer list to force people in his riding to sign up for the nomination,” an individual involved in the PC Party told The Avro Post, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

The member continued, saying that Sandhu “signed up over 7,000 people with it being a highly contested nomination and there being 20,000 eligible voters, so from reading between the lines, I assume that.”

PC dropped Sandhu ‘immediately’

PC Party leader Doug Ford told gathered reporters on Friday that the police had not contacted him or his campaign over the stolen data, and explained that the party “acted immediately” as soon as the allegations against Sandhu were known.

Mr. Ford said that the PC’s would not stand for these types of allegations in its party, saying for a second time this week that his caucus parted ways with Sandhu “as soon as we found out about it.”

The PC leader also said that there were no other candidates or ridings involved in the data breach, to his knowledge.

More details to follow. Image of York Regional Police from . With files from CBC News. 





Written by Eli Ridder

Eli Ridder is a freelance journalist. He founded The Avro Post in October 2017. He writes for Breaking911 and Guelph Politico, among others. Feel free to connect at ELIRIDDER@ICLOUD.COM or at ELIRIDDER.CA

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