Health Canada is suing UBC and its former employee, ex-associate dean of dentistry Christopher Zed, claiming that Zed defrauded clinics in Haida Gwaii by siphoning away money intended to provide dental services for First Nations patients.
According to a CBC article, Canada’s attorney general is suing both Zed and UBC for “fraud and negligence in connection with money Health Canada gave UBC to provide dental services in Skidegate and Old Massett Village.”
Although UBC has yet to grant any interviews, Hubert Lai, university counsel in the office of the university counsel, sent a comment to The Ubyssey in response to the lawsuit.
“We have not yet been served with the notice of civil claim,” read Lai’s email statement. “We need time to review the claim before we can comment further.”
According to the notice of civil claim, UBC and Health Canada had an agreement lasting from November 2001 to September 2003 in the “Haida Dental Project." With this project, the federal government paid UBC to cover all the equipment, services, travel and living expenses involved in providing dental care to First Nations patients in the Haida Gwaii area.
Based on an internal investigation, UBC believed that the government had been over-billed for a number of things. But according to the notice of the claim, it “did not provide Canada with any information from its investigation until March 17, 2015 — notwithstanding that UBC had completed its investigation in May 2014.”
The suit claims that Zed siphoned millions away from the Haida Gwaii clinics and UBC contacted Health Canada two years ago with concerns about the financial operations of these clinics.
Ultimately, Zed is accused of hiding over $5 million of spending from UBC of a total $10.6 million that was given to the project.