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Memorial service planned for former BC health ministry worker

There will be a memorial service for Roderick MacIsaac at the University of Victoria on Jan. 24, but it will be several weeks until the coroner's service finishes investigating the student and former health ministry worker's death.

"The cause of death remains undetermined," said Matt Brown, the regional coroner for Vancouver Island. "Our investigation continues."

The coroner's investigation into MacIsaac's death includes an autopsy and toxicology tests, which normally take between four and six weeks for results, said Brown. Investigations often also include interviews with family, friends and colleagues, as well as a review of documents such as health records.

A 46-year-old PhD student at UVic, MacIsaac was found dead in his Saanich home Jan. 8. A few months earlier he had been fired from a co-op position at the ministry of health just three days before his work term was set to end.

Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid has said the health ministry investigation involved inappropriate data sharing, contracts and undeclared potential conflicts of interest. The investigation led to the firing of seven ministry employees and the stoppage of many contracts and projects aimed at assessing prescription drugs.

Before the firing, MacIsaac had been working on an assessment of the government's anti-smoking program. The new program paid for prescription drugs and nicotine replacement therapies, fulfilling a leadership campaign promise made by Premier Christy Clark.

"This is a tragic loss for those who knew him and the entire university community," said UVic school of public administration director Evert Lindquist in a note to students, staff and faculty. "At this time our thoughts are foremost with Roderick’s family."

MacIsaac was a "number cruncher" and skilled in quantitative analysis and working with data, Lindquist's note said. "He was a quiet and methodical student, with a wry sense of humour and knowledgeable about a wide variety of topics."

The Jan. 24 service will be at 2 p.m. at the Interfaith Chapel at UVic, with a reception afterwards in room 300 of the Human and Social Development Building, according to a notice on the School of Public Administration's website.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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