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

Fire crews investigating oil sheen on Penticton Creek

Fire crews are working to contain the oil from spreading

Family suspends search for missing Alberta couple, plane near Revelstoke

Due to bad weather, families of missing Albertan couple say they will resume in the spring

A proactive approach to the housing crisis

City staff are recommending Penticton help prepare affordable housing proposals

Summerland’s Justin Kripps completes first double-medal weekend of career

High-powered Canadian bobsledders celebrate four-man silver at World Cup in Igls

Frank Venables Theatre recipient of Canada Cultural Spaces Grant

The Franks Venables Theatre in Oliver has some new gear, thanks to… Continue reading

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Canadian grocers make $3M per year from penny-rounding: UBC study

Ottawa announced plans in 2012 to phase out the copper coin

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

B.C. anti-hate campaigner finds Google search on his efforts redirects to porn

Text from online news article about Cran Campbell being used to link to suspect websites

2 couples tie the knot in Australia’s 1st same-sex weddings

West Australian couple Anne Sedgwick, Lyn Hawkins have been together for 40 years

‘The Last Jedi’ opens with $220M, 2nd best weekend all-time

As anticipated, the movie fell shy of the opening weekend for J.J. Abrams’ 2015 franchise reboot

B.C. concert promoter bans Nazi symbols at shows

A man was witnessed making a Nazi salute during a heavy metal show at Pub 340

EDITORIAL: Putting #MeToo to work in your workplace

Workers from top to bottom need to stand together against the bully of sexual harassment

Most Read