B.C. Health Ministry firings to get ombudsman investigation

Decisions surrounding the firings 'weren't handled as well as they should have been,' minister says

Decisions surrounding the firings 'weren't handled as well as they should have been,' minister says

B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake has requested an investigation from the provincial ombudsperson regarding eight researchers who were fired in 2012. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake has requested an investigation from the provincial ombudsperson into the controversial firing of eight health researchers in 2012. 

"The decisions surrounding the 2012 terminations weren't handled as well as they should have been," said Lake in a letter to MLA Scott Hamilton, the Chair of the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services.

In September of 2012, the government fired eight staffers citing an alleged breach in the handling of confidential public health data.

One of those terminated, University of Victoria PhD candidate Roderick MacIsaac killed himself three months later.

The seven remaining researchers and the sister of the deceased banded together to demand an inquiry into what happened. 

Lake says an ombudsman review is the "perfect" avenue to take a critical look at what happened.  

'This vehicle will in fact provide clarity for everyone, provide answers that people have been looking for, and also provide recommendations for government going forward so we can make sure that matters like this are handled in an appropriate way," Lake said. 

In his letter to the ombudsperson, Lake points out RCMP reviewed the Office of the Comptroller General's report on the firings and declined to investigate any further. 

But RCMP documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun through a Freedom of Information request show Mounties were never given evidence by the government to investigate the wrongdoing which was used to justify the firings.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story said Health Minister Terry Lake made a statement in an open letter to the provincial ombudsperson. In fact, it was in a letter to MLA Scott Hamilton, the Chair of the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services.
    Jul 03, 2015 2:51 PM PT

With files from Richard Zussman and Jeremy Allingham

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.