Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid

UPDATE: Cash, apologies coming for fired health researchers

No political interference in 'rushed decision' to terminate seven employees and a drug research contractor, Ombudsperson says

The B.C. government will apologize and compensate health researchers fired after a “flawed investigation and rushed decision” to deal with allegations of mishandled patient treatment data, as B.C. Ombudsperson Jay Chalke recommended Thursday.

“Goodwill” payments from $15,000 to $150,000 should be made to the affected health ministry employees, Chalke recommended after a review of the 2012 investigation. He said a $500,000 scholarship endowment at the University of Victoria should be set up in honour of Roderick MacIsaac, who lost his UVic co-op position with the ministry and committed suicide in January 2013.

Other researchers have been reinstated or received out-of-court settlements since the government admitted the case was mishandled. Chalke’s report concludes that the decision to fire people was made by then-deputy health minister Graham Whitmarsh, and there was no political interference.

Kim Henderson, deputy minister to the premier and head of the public service, said compensation will be paid and she is considering whether further action will be taken against people in the health ministry who handled the case.

Henderson issued a statement that offered “an unqualified and comprehensive apology to all those who were adversely affected by public service conduct.”

Then-health minister Margaret MacDiarmid announced the terminations in September 2012, one day after being sworn in. MacDiarmid read out a ministry announcement that said the handling of confidential patient data used to evaluate drugs had been referred to the RCMP for investigation, which Chalke confirmed was not accurate.

“This breakdown happened in part because a number of government controls and practices were not followed,” Chalke said. “Investigators did not bring an open mind and the investigation process was unfair. The dismissals were rushed, the human resources process effectively collapsed and there was confusion about the scope of legal advice provided, all of which resulted in terminations that were unjustified.”

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: Explorers uncover Canada’s deepest cave in Fernie

The cave, named Bisaro Anima, was confirmed to have broken the record on New Year’s Day

New Glade ferry enters testing phase

The Glade II will be able to carry heavier loads and will emit less greenhouse gases.

Freezing rain warning in effect for B.C. Southern Interior

Environment Canada issued the freezing rain warning for most of the Southern Interior Tuesday morning

Rumble In The Rockies brings live boxing back to Fernie

Local boxer, Dylan Mitchell takes first career win at home

Smiles all around as province announces emergency ward funding

$2.1 million to go to much-needed upgrades

Solitary-confinement veto a chance to address mental health: advocate

B.C. Supreme Court made the landmark ruling Wednesday

B.C. civil rights group files complaint about RCMP arrest of man who later died

Dale Culver, a 35-year-old Indigenous man was arrested in Prince George last July

Lawyer says former B.C. government aide ‘barely guilty’ in ethnic vote scandal

Brian Bonney pleaded guilty to a breach of trust charge

Quite a few tears as homemade quilts distributed to residents of Ashcroft Reserve, Boston Flats affected by last summer’s fire

Quilters in B.C. and Alberta worked through the summer and fall to create more than 100 quilts.

Island Health: No need for alarm in wake of Victoria needle-prick incidents

Three incidents in a week prompts meeting between health authority, city service providers

B.C. coast loggers celebrate history, hope for improvement

Truck Loggers Association awaits B.C. NDP government’s new direction

Global Affairs aware of report of two Canadians kidnapped in Nigeria

The foreigners were heading south from Kafanchan to Abuja when they were ambushed around Kagarko

Whistler role in potential Calgary Olympic bid would be welcome: IOC

Calgary is mulling whether to vie for the 2026 Games, and could look to facilities in B.C.

Food industry failing at voluntary sodium reduction: Health Canada

Health Canada report shows the food industry made no meaningful progress in curtailing salt levels

Most Read