A senior official with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) took a paid vacation to Jamaica on behalf of Air Canada.
According to the Globe and Mail, acting Manager of PHAC’s Office of Border and Travel Health Dominique Baker took a friend to the expensive Royalton Blue Waters resort in November 2020.
A statement by Air Canada’s manager of corporate communications Peter Fitzpatrick, claims that the company was not aware that Baker was a government employee when she accepted the all-inclusive holiday.
“This individual was engaged on the basis of her influencer profile, the demographic of her followers and because of her established track record as an influencer,” Fitzpatrick told the Globe and Mail
“Her influencer profile did not mention her employment with the government.”
In a video posted to her social media, Baker gloats about the hotel’s “mind blowing” pool and the luxuries afforded to her while Canadians were being told by the government to stay at home and not visit loved ones.
“One of our two butlers is bringing us our pina coladas right now. No, we are not kidding – we have two butlers,” she says in the video.
“Thank you, Air Canada Vacations. We are beside ourselves.”
Baker also happens to be married to another senior civil servant, Ryan Baker, who serves as the director of strategic communications for the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. Mr. Baker has also worked for Health Canada in the past as the director of infectious disease, risk and emergency communication.
At the time, PHAC was advising Canadians against travelling abroad during the coronavirus pandemic.
Baker, who on her free time runs a social influencer page, claimed that while in Jamaica she was not required to provide a negative coronavirus test.
“We felt very safe. There is a low Covid rate in Jamaica as well,” claimed Baker.
“As part of Air Canada Vacations Commitment to Safer Travel, our car was completely sanitized, and our driver was also wearing the necessary PPE. We were then taken to the Royalton Blue Waters, a luxe all-inclusive resort.”
Baker joins a long list of public officials who have violated their own coronavirus rules and advice.