A data analyst who worked for Nova Scotia Health for four years says he was let go for speaking up about what he perceived as serious issues with the emergency department wait-time prediction project.
Jesse Yang said he escalated concerns about the data used in the project, both verbally and in writing, over the course of a year. He said he sought support from supervisors, Nova Scotia Health’s ethics department, human resources, and the Nova Scotia Office of the Ombudsman.
After his complaints, he stopped working on the project and was placed on a new project. Issues with his work performance were brought up at this time, and ultimately, his year-to-year contract wasn’t renewed.
Yang is now undergoing a Nova Scotia Labour Board arbitration under the Public Interest Disclosure Wrongdoing Act, arguing he experienced retaliation.
In his opening statements at the hearing Thursday, Killian McParland, Nova Scotia Health’s lawyer, said the health authority denies retaliating against Yang.
McParland said Yang’s complaint doesn’t fit the narrow scope of the Act, meaning the health authority doesn’t believe he was a whistleblower, and his contract wasn’t renewed due to poor work performance.
Emergency department wait-time tool
Nova Scotia Health’s online emergency department wait-time tool was introduced this June as a way to predict wait-times at 10 emergency departments across the province.
In a news release at the time, the health authority said the site is an “information tool” to give people an idea of how long they may need to wait for care.
It said the predicted wait-times posted are based on “recent data” and are “shown as an approximate range and are updated hourly.” The site also allows people to look up anticipated wait-times up to 12 hours ahead.
But Nova Scotia Health noted the wait-times are not guaranteed and “may not