Dr. Tom Stewart will receive a payment as high as $ 1.1 million after losing his job as CEO of St. Joseph’s Health System while on vacation in the Caribbean.
“For the staff and the community, it’s like a slap in the face,” said Natalie Mehra, Executive Director of the Ontario Health Coalition.
Stewart took a family trip to his private home in the Dominican Republic while on vacation from December 18 to January 5. On January 7, he lost the post of director of the massive health system which includes hospitals, long-term care homes and home care in Hamilton, Niagara, Kitchener, Guelph and Brantford.
St. Joseph’s and Stewart “separated without cause,” board chair Sister Anne Anderson said in a statement Monday evening. “His requested vacation has been approved by the board. All conditions of Dr. Stewart’s contract will be met. “
It is not known whether the board approved Stewart’s international travel. His contract entitles him to 24 months’ salary over 24 months.
“Providing generous compensation like this is wrong and the hospital… should reconsider,” said Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, part of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. . “Dr. Stewart was in a leadership position and he hurt his institution and should not be rewarded for it. St. Joe’s shouldn’t make it worse by enriching someone who left the hospital in a deep way.
Stewart’s annual base salary was $ 552,500 with incentive pay of $ 97,500. The golden handshake is calculated on the base salary. Some employment benefits will also continue for 24 months.
Payment ends early if Stewart gets another job and says he needs to do “diligent” research.
Stewart resigned from boards of directors that provide advice on COVID-19 to the province immediately after the trip became public on January 5. He was ousted from his position as CEO of Niagara Health on January 6. On January 7, he separated from the health care system. which includes St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener.
St. Joseph’s has appointed Winnie Doyle, an experienced hospital executive, as Interim President and CEO effective January 18. She was a senior executive at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton before announcing her retirement in July and Interim President before Melissa Farrell was hired for the role in April 2019.