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Maximum payout for LifeLabs class-action drops from $150 estimate to $7.86

A sign is seen outside a LifeLabs location in North Vancouver B.C., on Friday, October 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck A sign is seen outside a LifeLabs location in North Vancouver B.C., on Friday, October 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Canadian LifeLabs customers who filed an application for a class-action settlement began receiving their payments this week, though at a much lower amount than initially expected.

The class action accusing the company of inadequate cybersecurity measures was launched after LifeLabs announced a data breach on Dec. 17, 2019. Those who lived in Canada and used LifeLabs' services on or before that date were eligible to apply for the settlement. 

Compensation was estimated to be between $50 to $150, though the exact amount per person was to be determined based on the total number of claims filed. As it turned out, more than 900,000 valid claims were received, which meant payments were brought down to just $7.86. Those who requested a cheque are receiving $2 less, after the deduction of a processing fee.

"The amounts have been calculated in accordance with the court-approved terms of distribution," a statement from KPMG, which is administering the claims, says.

Many claimants took to social media after receiving their payment, with some calling the payments "a joke."

As many as 8.6 million Canadians may have been impacted by the 2019 cyberattack targeting LifeLabs' database of customers' personal health information.

LifeLabs, a major provider of specialty laboratory testing services in Ontario, British Columbia and Saskatchewan, denied all allegations, and said it paid an undisclosed ransom for the data.

Ontario's and B.C.'s privacy commissioners found in 2020 that LifeLabs broke privacy laws by failing to have adequate safeguards on patient data. The commissioners ordered LifeLabs to deploy new safety measures and "improve its process for notifying individuals of the specific elements of their personal health information which were the subject of the breach."

On Oct. 25, 2023, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice approved a Canada-wide settlement deal for up to $9.8 million.

With files from CTV News' Christl Dabu Top Stories

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