This past week, something critical to the functional health of the BC Ministry of Health as a workplace, happened. Something that might signal a real turning point and a shift towards rebuilding the organization from the cultural damage that resulted from what was for many of those involved, an entirely disproportionate and inappropriate reaction to the circumstance.
Minister Lake, and Deputy Minister Stephen Brown issued an apology to the family of Mr. McIsaac. Further, there has been a committment to reviewing what happened in 2012 to learn from it and to revise policies and procedures to ensure that a similar situation will be handled better and more appropriately in the future.
Mr. McIsaac, was a co-op student who, 3 days from the end of his work term was fired from his position at the ministry along with 6 other staff. Subsequently, an investigation (which cost no less than $3.4 million) determined that there was not actually an breach in data security and largerly cleared the staff in question.
It is not easy to take responsibility for a mistake - particularly a mistake that happened as the result of another person's actions or inactions. The minister and deputy minister that were heading the ministry in 2012 have since moved on. As individuals, the current minister and deputy minister are not to blame for what happened in 2012. However, it demonstrates real leadership to recognize the responsibility the organization has for what happened in 2012, to recognize the need to learn from what happened, and to take steps to repair the damage that was done.
The events of the past week, are small steps in the right direction. It is unfortunate that such steps were not taken proactively - happening only after a very public appeal from the family for an apology. However, there is an opportunity to be proactive about the next steps that are taken - and for the sake of the Ministry, and the family of Mr. McIsaac and the others involved in the scandal, I hope the next steps continue in the right direction and adequately address what still needs to be done.