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
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.
- TIMELINE | B.C. health researcher firing scandal timeline
- Fired B.C. health researchers pen letter demanding inquiry
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.
- 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