B.C. health firings: lawyer says investigative process unfair

A number of former B.C. Ministry of Health workers say they will be saddled with high legal fees unlike the employees who potentially wronged them.

Joanna Gislason says, unlike ministry employees, her clients will be saddled with high legal fees

B.C. Premier Christy Clark has faced repeated questions about her office's involvement in the firing of eight Ministry of Health workers in 2012. (Darryl Dick/The Canadian Press)

A number of former B.C. Ministry of Health workers say the Office of the Ombudsperson's investigation into their 2012 firings is unfair because they will be saddled with high legal fees, and they don't have the same access as current employees to relevant documents.

Former employees Ramsay Hamdi, David Scott and Linda Kayfish, the sister of former co-op student, Roderick MacIsaac, who died by suicide after his firing, have retained Joanna Gislason to represent them during B.C. Ombudsperson Jay Chalke's investigation.

University of Victoria PhD candidate Roderick MacIsaac, committed suicide three months after he was fired by the B.C. government. His sister is being represented by lawyer Joanna Gislason during B.C. Ombudsperson Jay Chalke’s investigation.

"More than three and a half years have gone by since they were wrongfully fired and publicly defamed," Gislason told On The Coast host Stephen Quinn. "And they still want to know what happened to them. They want to know that, through a transparent and effective fact-finding process that's fair to them."

Gislason says her clients will only be given $1,000 in legal fees while the current Ministry of Health employees, "who potentially wronged them," will receive $25,000.

As well, Gislason says her clients will not be able to access their work emails and other work-related documents, but current employees will.

"It makes very little sense, and frankly, it only adds to the unfairness these individuals have already been through," she said.

Gislason argues that since the ombudsperson investigation is compelling her clients and eight other former healthcare workers to testify, they should have the same resources afforded to them as in a court of law.

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Lawyer for fired B.C. health workers criticizes ombudsperson process


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.