Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid, with former premier Gordon Campbell at cabinet ceremonies in 2009, was on her first day as health minister in 2012 when she announced the firing of drug researchers.— Black Press Files

UPDATE: Cash, apologies coming for fired health researchers

Ombudsperson finds no political interference in decision

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 Christy Clark 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 had read 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

Victoria couple hope unmanned boat drone becomes first to cross Atlantic

Colin and Julie Angus, UVic scientists to have drone collect environmental data en route

Sooke councillor questions CRD governance model

‘We need to revamp the overall model,’ says Kevin Pearson

Saanich crash victim leaves behind pregnant wife and young son

The death of a Saanich man has left behind a grieving widow,… Continue reading

Chef struck by car on Gorge Road dies in hospital

Khushal Singh Rana leaves behind a wife, four-year-old son and unborn twins

Sandown reclamation plan will cost North Saanich $569,000

District approves paying for its impact on water flows to and from the former horse racing track

Big Brother runner-up, Karen Singbeil, buys longest-running business in Oak Bay.

Willows Park Grocery, operating since 1912, has been bought by Karen Singbeil, of Big Brother fame.

B.C. casino accused of illegal activity follows rules: operator

B.C. had launched review after concerns about money laundering at River Rock casino in Richmond

Opponents of LGBTQ program to file human rights complaint against Surrey School District

District denied Parents United Canada right to rent Bell Performing Arts Centre for rally next month

Red hot Vikes women to host playoff opener

UVic Vikes This Week: basketball season kicks off at home

Ex-employee describes alleged sexual assault by B.C. city councillor

Complainant was a teen during the alleged 1992 incident

Amazon gets 238 proposals for 2nd headquarters

Submissions were due last week. Online retailer has said tax breaks and grants would be factors

Sean O’Loughlin named Victoria Symphony’s Principal Pops conductor

American composer has built a career working with some of music’s biggest names

Highway, housing and amalgamation will be on Saanich’s council agenda Monday

A busy agenda awaits Saanich councillors meet Monday. Perhaps the most prolific… Continue reading

Maintenance taking place on Esquimalt Lagoon Bridge this week

Drivers should expect delays between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Most Read