Ontario COVID-19 advisory member travelled to Dominican Rep. over holidays

An advisory member of Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table travelled to the Dominican Republic over the holidays. Dr. Tom Stewart has since resigned from his position. 

As a member of Premier Ford’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, Dr. Stewart provided recommendations and strategic direction to Ontario’s coronavirus response. 

In a statement to CBC, a spokesperson for Dr. Stewart said he deeply regrets going to the Caribbean nation.

“I regret this non-essential travel and I’m sorry. Everyone should be avoiding non-essential travel now, including me,” said a quote attributed to Stewart. 

“As a health system leader, my actions in no way reflect the tireless dedication and commitment of the staff at St. Joseph’s Health System, who continue to live the legacy of our organization every day.”

The Ministry of Health confirmed Dr. Stewart’s resignation on Tuesday evening.

“Helen Angus, Ontario’s Deputy Minister of Health, has accepted Dr. Tom Stewart’s resignation from the Health Coordination Table, the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, and the LTC Incident Management System Table,” read the ministry’s statement.

“The people of Ontario have made countless sacrifices during the pandemic and it remains critically important that everyone continues to follow public health advice. We all have a part to play to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Dr. Stewart is also the CEO of the St. Joseph’s Health System and Niagara Health System, making him responsible for many major hospitals and care homes in Ontario.

Dr. Stewart had previously encouraged Canadians not to leave the country for non-essential travel and supported lockdown measures to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Dr. Stewart joins the growing list of public officials who have travelled abroad against their own advice and rules.

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