Health Canada probes harassment charges

Health Canada's deputy minister has hired a lawyer to investigate allegations that a manager harassed scientists.

The scientists work in the bureau of veterinary drugs.

They complain that the manager threatened to move them to another department after they raised concerns about their workplace.

David Dodge appeared before a senate committee Tuesday night to explain what he knows about the allegations.

They come from Shiv Chopra and other scientists in the bureau of veterinary drugs.

Chopra alleges that his manager, Andre Lachance, threatened to have them moved to another department if they continued to raise questions about the way the bureau was operating.

Dodge has hired a lawyer to find out if there is any substance to the allegations.

Chopra, who attended the hearing to listen to Dodge's testimony, says and his colleagues won't talk to the lawyer.

"Our lawyer has suggested that there should be an independent inquiry if the department wants it under an independently appointed adjudicator, not a private lawyer, investigator or whoever".

This is the latest chapter in the story of a bureau that has been described by a consultant's report as existing in a state of crisis.