The CEO of Ontario’s St. Joseph’s health care system has gone on vacation to the Caribbean over the holidays despite government advice and increasing coronavirus cases in the province.
A statement from Brian Guest, the senior vice president of the healthcare system which has six different member organizations, said Dr Tom Stewart was on “approved vacation” from December 18 to January 5. During this time, he traveled to the Dominican Republic.
“We recognize and appreciate the efforts of all of our staff who have worked tirelessly and with great dedication,” said Guest.
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“We encourage and support our staff to take vacations while following public health advice.”
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Stewart, who is listed as a member of the Ontario government’s COVID-19 response advisory table and is also the CEO of Niagara Health, apologized for the quotation-marked trip attributed to him in the statement.
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“I regret this non-essential trip and I’m sorry,” he said.
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“I agree that everyone should avoid non-essential travel now, myself included. As a leader of the healthcare system, my actions in no way reflect the tireless dedication and commitment of the staff of St. Joseph’s Healthcare System, who continue to live the legacy of our organization every day.
The Canadian government has advised against non-essential travel outside the country since March amid the pandemic.
The Ontario government is also asking residents to stay home, except for essential reasons.
Stewart is now isolated at home for two weeks.
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