Timeline of the Health Ministry’s investigation and firings

April 2012: Health Ministry says investigation is warranted.

Sept. 6, 2012: Health Ministry fires four and suspends three employees without pay and freezes access to ministry data. Also suspends contracts and drug data access to the University of Victoria and University of B.C.-based Therapeutics Initiative.

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Sept. 14, 2012: Malcolm Maclure sues for wrongful dismissal.

Oct. 5, 2012: Health Ministry’s counter claim says Maclure was fired with cause.

Oct. 24, 2012: Ministry confirms seven employees fired and contractors have lost work: Ron Mattson, manager of policy and special projects; Malcolm Maclure, UBC professor and co-director of research and evidence development; Robert Hart, director of data access, research and stewardship; Rebecca Warburton, UVic professor and co-director of research and evidence development; David Scott, senior researcher; Ramsay Hamdi, senior economist; Roderick MacIsaac, UVic co-op student. Contractor William Warburton, husband of Rebecca Warburton, loses data access.

Dec. 3, 2012: Ron Mattson sues.

Dec. 24, 2012: Government files response, saying Mattson circumvented policies and procedures.

Jan. 8, 2013: UVic PhD student Roderick MacIsaac, 46, commits suicide.

Jan. 8, 2013: B.C. Coroners Service launches investigation into MacIsaac’s death.

March 8, 2013: Rebecca Warburton sues province.

March 11, 2013: Robert Neil Hart sues the ministry.

April 22, 2013: Government responds to Hart’s claim, alleging he was terminated for cause.

May 2, 2013: Health Ministry files counter claim, saying Rebecca Warburton improperly shared data and breached conflict of interests rules to benefit her husband and their company.

May 6, 2013: William Warburton sues province.

May 28, 2013: Government denies Warburton’s allegations.

June 25, 2013: Deloitte and Touche Canada produces $600,000 report on Health Ministry’s data handling and offers recommendations on strengthening security practices.

June 26, 2013: B.C. information and privacy commissioner Elizabeth Denham concludes Health Ministry did not have reasonable security in place to protect personal information.

June 2013: Deputy health minister Graham Whitmarsh is fired and will be paid more than $400,000 in severance.

June 2013: Stephen Brown appointed deputy health minister. Upon review, ministry says Brown finalized investigation, took steps to restore frozen contracts and initiated process to address terminations of former ministry employees.

Sept. 6, 2013: MacIsaac’s sister, Linda Kayfish, and her husband, Doug, tell the Times Colonist that the family received $480 — the amount MacIsaac would have been paid for three days between when he was fired and when his co-op work term would have ended.

October 2013: Health Ministry reinstates contract with UBC-based Therapeutics Initiative.

March 3, 2014: In first public settlement arising from investigation, Robert Neil Hart is rehired.

July 18, 2014: Drug researcher Malcolm Maclure is rehired.

August 25, 2014: B.C. government says it made a “regrettable mistake” firing Ron Mattson as it settles third out-of-court wrongful dismissal lawsuit. Mattson retires.

Oct. 3, 2014: Health Ministry says after review, some terminations were unwarranted or excessive.

Oct. 3, 2014: Health Minister Terry Lake says letter of apology will be sent to Kayfish family for wrong and “heavyhanded” firing of MacIsaac.

Oct. 3, 2014: Lake announces independent review by Lynda Tarras, head of Public Service Agency, to be carried out by Victoria lawyer Marcia McNeil.

Oct. 8, 2014: B.C. Premier Christy Clark apologizes for MacIsaac’s firing.

November 2014: Government tweaks terms of reference of independent review, announcing that McNeil will instead report directly to the deputy attorney general.

Nov. 24, 2014: American drug expert Dr. Jerry Avorn says he and colleagues found firings and suspension of data sharing “perplexing at best and sinister at worst.”

Nov. 25, 2014: Graham Whitmarsh, the former B.C. deputy health minister who signed termination papers for fired health researchers, says he won’t participate in a review “that government has deliberately constructed in a way to limit the findings.”

Dec. 19, 2014: Review released.

There remain two outstanding wrongful dismissal suits — those filed by Rebecca Warburton and her husband Bill Warburton. The government has filed its responses. Nothing has been proven in court.

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