Health Authority refuses medical records of deceased family members to widows, executors, adult children

Politically appointed board members create culture of disrespect and secrecy

March 28, 2023 | Updated May 9 – When the family of Colm Harty, a Qualicum Beach man killed by a hit-and-run driver in 2021, requested ambulance records of the incident, they received a letter telling them they would also need to “provide a detailed explanation of the reasons” for their request.

“We must determine whether the request is in the best interest of the deceased patient, and whether the disclosure of any information would be an unreasonable invasion of the patient’s privacy.”

james bryce,
b.c. emergency health services,
Provincial health services authority

In a letter to the family, James Bryce, a senior analyst with B.C. Emergency Health Services’ Risk Management Program, wrote, “We must determine whether the request is in the best interest of the deceased patient, and whether the disclosure of any information would be an unreasonable invasion of the patient’s privacy.” The family was stunned, not knowing what to make of this statement.

When Jocelyn Reekie, widow and executor of her deceased husband Bill’s estate, requested medical records from his time as a patient at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, B.C. during which she says he had been mistreated, she wrote on the form under Purpose of Request that it was for “my own information.” The Vancouver Island Health Authority denied Reekie’s request for records to which she supposedly is legally entitled, without providing a reason.

How can this be? Who calls the shots? How are they held accountable? What visibility and interaction do these power players have with the actual people they serve?

Many people think that B.C.’s Ministry of Health is responsible for delivering health care to British Columbians and, therefore, that it is accountable to the public for the services provided (or not provided) to the public. Not so.

The Ministry is only responsible for shuffling the money it collects from taxpayers to the regional health care authorities (HCA’s) who actually turn that money into delivery of health services across British Columbia.

Of course, the Ministry needs lots of bureaucrats to oversee the funding of our public health care system, the largest expenditure of our government, and they don’t come cheap.

The most recent showdown between premiers and the prime minister for more federal funding to “fix” the broken health care system in December 2022 came to an impasse over whether “strings” would be attached to the billions of dollars requested by provinces, objective measures by which the performance of provinces could be assessed to determine how well they achieved critical goals or indeed, whether the money was spent on health care at all, or if it just went into the coffers known as “general revenue.”

Ultimately, the premiers were given less than they asked for, but the “good news” for the premiers was that the threat of “strings” didn’t really amount to much. So, everybody’s happy. Well, the politicians are happy, but the public isn’t.

More money isn’t going to fix the health care crisis. One of the perennial root problems of B.C.’s health care crisis lies with the oversight and management of health services delivery.

Accountability within our current system amounts to patients and their loved ones going either in aimless circles or in frantic dashes from one equally unhelpful patient care protection group to another, groups that do not serve the patients’ or public interest, but the political bosses of the day. The result, as these and many other experiences by users of B.C.’s health care system reveal, is a dysfunctional, secretive and all-powerful bureaucracy.

Families stunned by responses from health authorities

Despite Canada’s much-vaunted Freedom of Information & Privacy legislation, it appears that it is becoming inordinately difficult for family members or executors to obtain records pertaining to their loved ones, alive or deceased, from the B.C. government, other agencies and organizations such as the police, and the courts.

Colm Harty’s family

Ambulance and paramedic services are provided by the B.C. Emergency Health Services, managed by the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA).

BC EHS is just one of several dozen services and programs delivered by the PHSA, ranging from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control to the B.C. Autism Assessment Network, Provincial Laboratory Medicine Services and B.C. Mental Health and Substance Use Services.

Original artwork by Kasper Reist, 2023.

The Harty family is seeking ambulance records, in part because B.C. Prosecution Services declined to approve charges that the RCMP say they had recommended be filed against the hit-and-run driver. The family has not yet been able to obtain any information about the recommended charges, or why Crown prosecutors decided not to lay charges, nor do they have any information about the incident itself or Mr. Harty’s subsequent death.

In most provinces in Canada, the police are able to lay charges themselves, but in British Columbia the government requires that the Crown must approve all charges.

In B.C., according to VictimsInfo.ca, the “Crown reviews the police investigation report and decides, based on the evidence, case law, and their experience, if there is a strong likelihood of getting a conviction. This is called the ‘evidentiary test’. Crown counsel also decide if a prosecution is in the public interest (based on, for example, the possible danger the suspect poses to others in society). This is called the ‘public interest test’.”

In theory, this seems like a prudent check on police practices, but it can also provide an opportunity for delay, error, bias, obfuscation or even political interference, particularly when information is withheld from public scrutiny.

Puzzled and feeling stone-walled, the Harty family filed Freedom of Information requests with both the RCMP and the B.C. Prosecution Services.

B.C. Prosecution Services refused the Harty family’s request for records pertaining to the Crown’s decision to not approve the charges recommended by Oceanside RCMP against the hit-and-run driver who reportedly had been stopped by eyewitnesses after fleeing the scene.

As reported previously, the RCMP confirmed they will provide records, but the Harty family has not yet received any records, now months overdue, violating federal Freedom of Information legislation.

At the request of the Harty family, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of B.C. recently agreed to conduct a Review into the B.C. Prosecution Services’ refusal to provide records.

Jocelyn and Bill Reekie

On January 29, 2022, Jocelyn Reekie submitted a request for records to the Vancouver Island Health Authority about her late husband Bill’s several-months-long stay in the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, B.C. The hospital is operated by VIHA (aka Island Health). 

Along with the request, she attached copies of her marriage certificate, Bill’s death certificate and records confirming her authority to act as the Executor of her late husband’s estate, more than the minimum required to confirm a person’s authority to receive records.

Yet, Island Health denied Jocelyn Reekie’s records request. No reasons were given, but the background to the story reveals that it may have been an attempt to conceal evidence of wrong-doing by the hospital.

Reekie requested a fairly limited and specific set of records from the five-and-a-half-month period during which Bill, who had dementia, had been a patient in Royal Jubilee Hospital.

During that time, Reekie discovered that the doctors attending Bill had given him over a dozen electroshock treatments without informing her. “I know they know the ECT treatments Bill was given illegally exceeded the number of treatments authorized by me,” says Reekie. Observing Bill’s condition deteriorate rapidly after these treatments, she sought to have him released from hospital and returned back to her care but the doctors stone-walled her.

Jocelyn Reekie says she had to hire a lawyer to release Bill from unlawful detention at Royal Jubilee Hospital. While she won the legal battle to free her husband, she says Bill died several months after he was released, and believes he was harmed by the treatment administered at Royal Jubilee Hospital.

Three weeks after submitting her request, Reekie received a letter by regular mail from Cheryl A., Release of Information Officer at Island Health [the letter does not provide this person’s last name, only the first name and last initial*].

Cheryl A. confirmed that Reekie was an “appropriate person” to request her deceased husband’s records. But, says Reekie, requesting Bill’s records “for my information,” was apparently not good enough for Island Health.

“Now is the time to expand our efforts in ways that help seniors and their families navigate the system, easily access information about care options, and have a clear and simple way to have any concerns addressed.” 

Honourable Michael de Jong QC,
b.c. Minister of Health,
February 14, 2012

Cheryl A.’s letter demanded that Reekie, “explain the purpose of [the] request and how the records requested (ECT treatment records) relate to acting on behalf of the decedent. This purpose must have a reasonable connection to information that establishes the request is being made on behalf of the decedent… To determine this… Island Health must assess whether the purpose the appropriate person puts forward for acting on behalf of the patient aligns with the scope, volume and nature of information in the requested records. If both parts of the test [appropriate person and purpose] are not meet [sic] then Island Health must consider the applicant to be a third-party requestor. We must then balance the patient’s continuing privacy rights against what records are reasonable to provide to meet the stated purpose of the request. Island Health is only authorized to release records necessary to support the scope of the duties or powers granted to you and limited to your stated purpose. Access to records that are not necessary to support your granted duties, powers and stated purpose will not be provided.”

Reekie says she emailed VIHA back immediately, reminding them that she had already provided documents confirming that “I am the executor of my husband’s estate, and have been informed by the Pacific Medical Law office that, as such, I am entitled to all records regarding his stay and treatment in the Royal Jubilee Hospital.”

Her efforts were all to no avail says Reekie. “The reply I got [again via regular post some weeks later] was that I had not responded in the allotted time and was therefore considered a third party and was therefore not eligible to receive the records I requested.”

Faced with a seemingly unending list of excuses from VIHA, Jocelyn Reekie says, “I have already stated I want the records for my own interest, so I’ve no idea how to force them to hand them over, unless I hire a lawyer again, which I’m not going to do.”

READ Jocelyn Reekie’s memoir of her experience THE UNPUBLISHED MEMOIR: I Hope You Know You’re Fodder For a Book Someday.

B.C. Ministry of Health dodges accountability

So, who is ultimately accountable for delivering health care? In the 1990s, the B.C. government decided to create arms-length corporate entities known as regional health authorities (RHAs).

Whatever rationale spurred this move, it had a definite political silver lining, namely distancing the provincial government from responsibility for any actions or actual results achieved in the delivery of health care services.

Under this management model, the government was suddenly no longer accountable for health care delivery. In the bargain, RHAs were given carte blanche to operate without meaningful oversight, thereby seeding the ground for the increasingly autocratic and secretive health care system that people like Jocelyn Reekie and the Harty family struggle with today.

Health care unique among government services in its lack of accountability

Health and education are the two most expensive public services paid for and at least partially delivered by government. They also consume about half of the total taxes paid to all four levels of government — municipal, regional, provincial, and federal.

To govern services provided locally (water, waste removal, fire, police etc.), we elect a Town Council of five. If we have an issue with anything from water quality to snow removal, we can contact a Town staff person or a member of Council, in person, by phone, by email and or letter. If and when enough people have enough unresolved issues, our community can un-elect the representatives in the next election.

K-12 public education services are a bit different. Budgets, curricula, standards, and major capital building projects are managed by the provincial Ministry of Education. But, like we do for our municipal government, we elect representatives, a Board of Trustees to govern the operation of the schools in our local District. They too serve at the pleasure of the local electorate.

We can assert no similar accountability at the community level for the delivery of health services. It hasn’t always been that way.

The 90s squeeze – rationing begins, again

In the late 80s and early 90s a pan-Canadian recession hammered provincial and federal government revenues. As is a perennial problem with governments in Canada, no-one had built up sufficient fiscal reserves for a rainy day. This was not a new situation. In the 70s the oil shock, wage-and-price controls, and stagflation decimated government budgets. In Ontario, consultants cranked the numbers related to hospital referral patterns to determine which handful of hospitals would be closed. As crude as the measures were, hampered by a paucity of uniform reliable metrics, at least they attempted to make hard, evidence-based cost reduction decisions.

In the 1970s operating acute care hospitals consumed the largest component of direct provincial government spending, so were a logical target for cost reduction. Twenty years later not much had changed.

In the 1990s large hospitals hired efficiency experts to find the fat. These “slash-and-dash” U.S.-based consultants left their copious recommendations on the hospital CEO’s desk and moved on. We hospital managers, including one of the writers of this story, then tried to put their ideas into practice, while coping with the adverse consequences of firing hundreds of staff, the majority of whom were front-line nurses and other direct care providers.

It was a short-term mad scramble from which the so-called system still hasn’t recovered. Or learned from.

New regional health services model emerges, tainted by “power struggle”

In the early 1990s, the concept of devolution — geographically dispersing management responsibility and accountability out closer to the communities served — became all the rage. The objectives of this overhaul in governance were vague, but blueprints for change sprang up across the nation.

Proposed in 1991, the Capital Health Council, was the “working model” for British Columbia’s first regional health body, established to serve the 283,000 residents who then called Greater Victoria home.

Original artwork by Kasper Reist, 2023.

According to a story in the Times-Colonist newspaper, “The concept of creating a health council is seen by many as the next logical stage in the metamorphosis of the planning and delivery of health care services within the CRD [Capital Regional District].” The objective was to move towards “an emphasis on wellness and delivery of more services to people’s homes, particularly for the frail elderly.”

The proposal for a Capital Health Council emerged under the auspices of the Victoria Health Project, a pilot program of co-operation between the CRD, the Greater Victoria Hospital Society and the B.C. Ministry of Health.

Carol Pickup, then-Chair of the CRD’s Health Committee, described a “power struggle” that emerged late in the “process leading up to the recommendations to the Minister [John Jansen].” Pickup said, “Too many decisions have been made in camera rather than in open public forum.”  

“I believe we have both the responsibility to our individual communities and to the larger B.C. community to make sure that any Health Council model that we support and promote with the Minister is democratic, locally controlled and accountable to the people it serves,” the Health Committee Chair said. “The major criterion for any new health model should be a majority of elected people so that there is indeed accountability to the community at large.”

That didn’t happen.

In the final submission to the Minister, the expressed preference for elected board members was replaced by a proposal to have most of the board appointed by the Minister. Today, health authority boards filled with health care insiders and political appointees operate comfortably behind their fortress walls, seemingly oblivious, unwilling and unable to address the issues at hand.

By early 1997, as Jonathan Lomas reported in the Canadian Medical Association Journal[1], much of the decision-making in health care had already been devolved to local authorities in 9 of 10 provinces. Ontario was the only exception until they too followed suit in 2005.

Here in BC, in 1997 health services were managed by 52 district authorities. Today there are five, plus an additional authority for province-wide services like ambulance and cancer care, and a separate health authority to serve First Nations.

The creation of regional health authorities (RHAs) certainly engendered a lot of activity but not necessarily a lot of actual results. Provincial governments expected that regional devolution would result in cost containment and improved integration across services in each locale. But, as Lomas observed in 1997 and remains true today, “there has been little evaluation of devolution [regionalization] to determine whether these and other goals are being met.”

The province retained control over distribution of the money. None of the regional boards had any role in raising revenue, except that some collect local contributions to defray some of the capital costs of new construction e.g., the Nanaimo Regional Hospital District Board. In theory, all RHAs are responsible for local planning, setting priorities, allocating funds, and managing services for greater effectiveness and efficiency, within provincially defined broad core services.

Unfortunately, no agency or government in Canada is tasked with pan-Canadian long-term human resource planning or coordination. The management of the supply and demand for skilled labour in the health sector is patchy, poor to non-existent. The recent fights between provinces to poach nurses and doctors from each other’s territory is but one example.

However, the provincial governments did gain a huge self-serving dividend from regionalizing management of health services delivery. They were now able to deflect criticism from their ministries (e.g., health, finance) to the RHA Boards. Got a problem? Don’t call us — talk to your local health authority. A master stroke of accountability deflection or a dereliction of duty, depending on one’s perspective.

Alberta’s clever solution

When Alberta decided to pull the plug on regionalization in 2008, and eliminated all regional boards, they adopted a clever solution.

Rather than taking back the reins of control (and accountability), the Alberta government instead chose to create a single arms-length Alberta Health Services (AHS) agency with one Board of appointed cronies.

The Alberta saga got really interesting when in October 2022 the new unelected Premier Danielle Smith fired and eliminated the entire AHS Board, replacing them with an Administrator who reports directly to the Minister of Health.

Why not report to Alberta’s existing Deputy Minister of Health, you might ask? It appears the politicians wanted to avoid re-acquiring singular line accountability for the complete spectrum of health-related services. With arms-length distance comes deniability.

B.C. Ministry of Health deflects responsibility for seniors care

British Columbia exercised a comparable stroke of deception in the oversight of seniors care.

In 2014, the British Columbia government led by then-Premier Christy Clark garnered much praise and publicity for establishing the province’s first Seniors Advocate. Grandly touted as an “independent” watchdog, this Office is anything but.

Original artwork by Kasper Reist, 2023.

Mike de Jong, then-Minister of Health, conducted a sweeping, highly-publicized consultation with groups and individuals across B.C. prior to establishing the position. Seniors groups, academics, health care providers and the public were asked to advise the government about the role and structure of the proposed Seniors Advocate Office. Documents summarizing the results of the consultations reveal that the vast majority of people who participated said independence was essential, that “the Office should be independent from government, [and] an Officer of the Legislature.”

Instead, Premier Christy Clark’s government passed legislation stipulating that B.C.’s Seniors Advocate would report to the province’s Minister of Health, i.e. the governing party of the day.

As a result, B.C. Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie reports directly to Adrian Dix, not to the Legislature as a whole. Yet, the government presents the Seniors Advocate Office as independent, as if her Office’s recommendations are coming from an objective, non-partisan, independent body.

Isobel Mackenzie was initially appointed as B.C.’s first Seniors Advocate by Terry Lake, formerly a Minister of Health in the Christy Clark government. Prior to her appointment, Isobel Mackenzie was the CEO of Beacon Community Services. Terry Lake is now CEO of the BC Care Providers Association, a lobby group for B.C.’s long-term care industry whose members include both publicly-funded and private, for-profit seniors care facilities.

Opaque VIHA Board and executives resist community engagement – video offers ample evidence

During the formation of British Columbia’s first regional health council in 1991, the Health Policy Committee recommended to the Minister of Health that “all meetings of the Capital Health Council should be open to the public, except for any extraordinary circumstances which may arise.” That recommendation also was disregarded.

B.C.’s arms-length regional health authorities (RHAs) function as a shield for the Ministry of Health. In turn, the RHAs have been allowed to operate as opaque fiefdoms, governed by a cadre of autocrats, operating behind a wall of lawyers, risk managers, and propaganda specialists. The recording of a recent VIHA board meeting provides ample evidence (see link to recording later in this article).

If this sounds extreme, consider the efforts of Citizens for Quality Health Care (CQHC). This volunteer grass roots organization has been working for over three years in a still-futile attempt to secure a single meeting with Island Health (VIHA) management.

CQHC wants to restore local lab services that have been removed from the Campbell River Hospital by VIHA who, without consultation or notice — or tender — contracted pathology services out to a private company in Victoria whose board includes a doctor who holds a managerial position in VIHA’s corporate structure.

According to the CQHC, James Hanson, Island Health’s VP of Clinical Operations for Central/North Island, refused to meet with the group and, instead, dismissed their concerns in a letter. The CHQC wrote back to Hanson correcting the errors and misperceptions conveyed in his letter, such as this example.

  • Hanson letter: The majority of clinical pathology samples continue to be processed by local technologists in both communities: CQHC reply: Yes, this is true BUT the techs are required to take digital pictures and email them to Victoria (or use other digital modalities wasting valuable technologists’ time) for diagnosis when there is an on-site pathologist very capable of doing that much quicker, but they are no longer permitted to. This also puts more stress on the technologists as they are already shorthanded. It puts urgent and emergent patients at risk as it takes longer to get a diagnosis from Victoria where a specialist is not always available.

Meanwhile, Hanson emerged a few weeks ago to give an “exclusive” interview to Black Press about the growing health care services scandal on the North Island, ostensibly answering “tough questions.” The fact of VP Hanson making himself available to a single member of the media (Black Press) is a perhaps unwitting confirmation of VIHA’s disdain for broader engagement with the public it is supposed to serve.

Apart from the alleged conflict of interest involving a VIHA manager, according to CQHC, lab services in the region have since notably declined. Local lab staff and doctors have made serious allegations of harassment by Island Health, reports a spokesperson for the group. Some of these skilled and badly needed health care professionals have recently fled the region to work elsewhere.

Lois Jarvis, a founding member of Citizens for Quality Health Care, says that when they attempted to raise this issue with the VIHA board, “it was evident that the board had already met and decided prior to the public meeting what topics would be addressed.”

Qualicum Beach’s VIHA board representative missing in action

VIHA gives the impression that they wish to cultivate community engagement by hand-picking and appointing Board members who represent each of the districts on the Island. In reality, they take steps to bolster the fortress.

Without looking it up — can you name the Nanaimo region’s current VIHA Board member? If you wanted to, do you know how to contact them? Hint: You won’t find any contact info on the Island Health website for the Board. The executive floor in Victoria apparently doesn’t want you to engage directly with any Board members. The VIHA Board members are essentially gagged from discussing Island Health business with their constituents.

Unlike your Town Council or local School Board, all VIHA Board meetings are held in secret and no actual Minutes are posted for public viewing. As a token gesture, VIHA schedules a Public Forum once a year in each region (south, mid, north) of the Island, supposedly to communicate with the public.

To illustrate how VIHA leadership (doing business as Island Health) engages with the citizens they serve, we offer Exhibit A: The VIHA “Virtual Board Forum” of June 24, 2021, their most recent consultation with interested citizens in and around our Nanaimo region. It is recommended viewing.

The link for all VIHA Board meetings can be found at https://www.islandhealth.ca/about-us/accountability/organization/board-forums-minutes.

This meeting is not one hour and 27 minutes long as the video shows. The video is blank for the first 19 minutes, as are the last 10 minutes of the video.

The first 45 minutes (after the blank stretch) are comprised of a half dozen talking heads reciting prepared speeches — the communication of which could have been delivered via a written newsletter. This 45-minute infomercial carefully avoided any admission of any responsibility for any deficiency in their actions. One wonders how many risk managers, lawyers and communication advisers had to pre-approve this unenthusiastically delivered propaganda.

Chair Leah Hollins then moved on to questions from the public. Another disappointment; apparently no one was allowed to speak freely. Questions were submitted in advance, seemingly cherry-picked to avoid any contentious issue, with scripted, written answers prepared ahead of time which were then read with the same monotone insincerity as the earlier speeches. Viewers are told that some of the questions were submitted through the interactive chat pipeline, but this could not be verified because the chat log was not displayed with the recorded video.

Notice that there is only one VIHA Board member in attendance, Board Chair Hollins.

If the Chair’s name seems familiar, yes, this is the same Leah Hollins who was Deputy Minister of BC’s Ministry of Health 20 years ago. They do keep their friends and allies close.

“Our” area’s regional Board member didn’t even show up for this once-in-a-blue-moon public Board Forum. For a meeting identified as a “Board” Forum, one would expect that at least a quorum of the Board would attend.

Why go through the pretense of even having a VIHA Board? Why not just do as Alberta did, fire the VIHA Board, and make Ms. Hollins the VIHA CEO, reporting directly to the Minister of Health like she did in the old days. That would at least remove the VIHA Board as a barrier to accountability, and create a direct line of accountability to the Minister of Health and to the Premier.

The failure of self-regulation in health care services

And finally, oversight. If someone feels compelled to report wrong-doing or complain about the actions of any Island Health employee or agent, they will typically be shunted off to the VIHA Patient Care Quality Office, whose principal function is not to help the complainant but instead to protect VIHA from liability. They function as front-line risk managers for the organization, backed by an army of lawyers behind the scenes for whom they gather information.

It is no surprise then that we hear of frequent frustration with the PCQO’s handling of legitimate complaints. There is never an actual admission of any wrong-doing. There often is the chorus of Ds – deny, deflect, delay, diminish, and, if none of those work, denigrate the concerned patient or family member.

If the PCQO response is unsatisfactory, you can appeal for help from the Patient Care Quality Review Board who will “review any concerns still outstanding after the PCQO response, including concerns about the PCQO response itself.” However, the PCQRB is just another layer of self-protection created by the Risk Managers who seem to run the show these days.

“I believe we have both the responsibility to our individual communities and to the larger B.C. community to make sure that any Health Council model that we support and promote with the Minister is democratic, locally controlled and accountable to the people it serves. The major criterion for any new health model should be a majority of elected people so that there is indeed accountability to the community at large.”

carol pickup, former chair, capital regional district health committee, Victoria, b.c.

Along the way, if the complaint involves actions by a specific health professional (nurse, doctor, social worker for example), you may be shunted off to the complaint process of one of the regulatory Colleges whose responsibilities include disciplining licensed practitioners for misdeeds. But, again, a regulatory College, for example the College of Physicians and Surgeons, primarily exists to protect its own members.

These self-regulating bodies do not come close to exercising even a minimum standard of independent and objective scrutiny. They too can stonewall with impunity because they know that few people with legitimate concerns can afford the cost and anxiety of seeking redress through the Courts.

These deficiencies in accountability are not unique to B.C. Let’s look at a recent Ontario example. While the names of these complaint bodies differ in each province, they play the same role as the complaint bodies that exist in the B.C. health care system.

According to reports by the Globe and Mail, three years ago several physicians complained to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) alleging gender discrimination in hiring decisions made by Dr. Marko Duic, as well as questionable billing practices.

The CPSO chose not to discipline Dr. Duic. So the aggrieved group of physicians appealed to the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board (HPARB), which in theory exists to provide oversight of the self-regulating CPSO.

As they usually do, the HPARB sided with the CPSO who had sided with Dr. Duic.

So the aggrieved group of doctors appealed the HPARB decision to the Ontario Superior (Supreme) Court. In her recent decision Justice Harriet Sachs overruled the HPARB decision, sternly criticizing the lack of rigour and thoroughness in the CPSO’s investigation.

The Court was also able to force CPSO to disclose Dr. Duic’s complete complaint history, a display of transparency that the public on its own is not granted. According to the Globe and Mail coverage this disclosure “revealed 19 prior complaints from patients and medical professionals regarding Dr. Duic.”

Globe and Mail reporter Wendy Glauser concludes that the judge was “sending a strong signal to all professional regulators to beef up their misconduct probes.” In the absence of any real sanctions applied to either the CPSO or the HPARB — good luck with that.

Read more at https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-ontario-physicians-college-failed-to-properly-investigate-complaints/

* Correction: The name of the Island Health Release of Information Officer who corresponded with Jocelyn Reekie was incorrectly identified as “Cheryl A. Chim.” CHIM is an acronym which stands for Certified Health Information Management (CHIM) professional. The last name of the letter writer was not provided, only her first name and last initial (Cheryl A.).


[1] Devolving authority for health care in Canada’s provinces, Canadian Medical Association Journal 1997 – a four-part series

Contributions from Gil Sampson, formerly a health sector manager spanning three decades in Alberta, B.C. and Ontario.