N.S. minister now says advice on handling portal breach from staff, not police

Nova Scotia's Internal Services minister has modified her assertion that police asked the government to hold off on releasing information about a security breach, something police say didn't happen.

Patricia Arab says her department cybersecurity staff was in contact with police and recommended the government delay in notifying the public about the early March breach of the freedom-of-information web portal.

On Wednesday both Arab and Premier Stephen McNeil say they held off telling the public on the advice of police in order to help with their investigation, but Insp. Jim Perrin told reporters "there was no conversation between us and the province about holding off and not telling anybody."

Halifax police arrested a 19-year-old man, who faces the seldom laid charge of unauthorized use of a computer.

Arab says her department is in the process of contacting people who were affected by the breach and will offer to pay for third party credit checks where costs are involved.

The government says about 7,000 documents were inappropriately accessed between March 3 and March 5, with about 250 containing highly sensitive personal information such as birthdates, social insurance numbers, addresses and government services' client information.