Newspaper article The Canadian Press

All 7 Workers Gone from B.C. Health Ministry over Research Scandal

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

All 7 Workers Gone from B.C. Health Ministry over Research Scandal

Article excerpt

All 7 workers gone in health research probe

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VANCOUVER - Seven workers who were either fired or suspended in a health research scandal now no longer work for the government, but one of them is fighting back.

Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid, B.C.'s health minister, announced in September that three employees had been fired and four had been suspended and the ministry had launched an investigation into the relationship between university researchers seeking grants and some employees in the ministry division that decides what drugs B.C.'s Pharmacare program covers.

MacDiarmid said Wednesday all the employees are now gone, including one who was suspended and later filed a defamation suit against her ministry.

"Once anyone goes forward and says they've been constructively dismissed, then they don't work for the employer anymore," MacDiarmid said.

"None of them any longer work for the ministry."

In September, MacDiarmid said she was "deeply troubled" over the allegations within her ministry, but she said Wednesday she can't give any further details in order to protect the privacy of those involved.

But the ministry filed a statement of defence earlier this month in response to a defamation lawsuit from Malcolm Maclure, who was a director of research and evidence development with the ministry's pharmaceutical services division.

The statement of claim and the statement of defence contain allegations and claims yet to be proven in court.

The statement of defence denies all of Maclure's allegations and also sheds some light on the issues involved in the scandal.

The statement of defence said that Maclure was suspended for failing to comply with policies and procedures by "giving preferential treatment to his preferred candidate and member of his extended family."

It also alleged Maclure disclosed confidential information and accused him of "facilitating or knowingly failing to prevent the unauthorized access to data by employees and/or third parties."

The statement of defence argued that Maclure ended his employment himself by having his lawyers notify the ministry that Maclure considered his employment to be at an end. …

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