A University of Victoria PhD student who was one of seven people fired last year as part of a Health Ministry investigation into an alleged privacy breach has been found dead.
Harold Roderick MacIsaac, 46, was found by police in his Saanich residence in the 3900 block of Cedar Hill Cross Road about 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Saanich police spokesman Sgt. Steve Eassie said detectives found no apparent foul play; nor was there anything “that confirms it’s suicide.”
The investigation has been handed over to the Coroners Service.
“We can confirm there was no indication of foul play,” said Vancouver Island regional coroner Matt Brown, who said it was too early to release details about how and when MacIsaac died.
MacIsaac was enrolled in UVic’s school of public administration PhD program and had just days left in his work term at the Ministry of Health when he was fired in September.
He was dismissed as part of an ongoing Health Ministry investigation that started in May 2012.
B.C. Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid has said the probe involves conflict of interest, along with inappropriate conduct, data management and contracting out in the ministry’s pharmaceutical services division.
Two of the seven people fired have filed defamation and wrongful dismissal suits against the province, while three who were members of the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union — including MacIsaac — filed grievances which are to be heard in the spring.
None of the allegations has been proven in court.
Rebecca Warburton was MacIsaac’s adviser at UVic.
“He had such potential he could have been part of that next generation of analysts,” Warburton said. “There are no words, my heart just goes out to the family.”
Warburton was fired from her part-time position as co-director of research and evidence development in the pharmaceutical services division as part of the investigation.
Emotional at times, Warburton said MacIsaac was a “really respectful” person who was one of four students in the public administration PhD program.
“He always wanted to do data analysis,” Warburton said.
“It’s just so sad he’ll never get the chance now. It’s so terrible. I keep thinking I’ll wake up and it won’t be true.”
Ron Mattson was manager of policy and special projects for the PharmaCare branch before he was fired as part of the investigation. He said he’s being treated for depression as a result of the firing.
Mattson said it took MacIsaac a long time to get a PhD topic but since finding one he was excited and liked what he was doing and the people he was working with.
MacIsaac was a key part of a committee evaluating the B.C. government’s smoking-cessation program rolled out September 2011. He was researching the safety, effectiveness and cost efficiency of the program.
“I just feel so bad about Roderick,” Mattson said. “He was just so delighted about what he was doing; so excited about the work he was doing.”
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