The former executive of Niagara Health and St. Joseph’s Health System who was fired after vacationing in the Caribbean is due to receive over $1 million in severance pay.
Dr. Tom Stewart was canned by both organizations after media reports revealed that he took a holiday vacation while public health advice was urging Canadians to remain at home.
According to CityNews, Stewart is still eligible to receive severance because the trip was allegedly approved by the hospital’s board.
Stewart was among a spat of public officials who were ousted for going abroad for the holidays.
“I regret this non-essential travel and I’m sorry. Everyone should be avoiding non-essential travel now, including me,” said Stewart upon leaving his position.
“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.”
Stewart wasn’t the only senior public health professional to lose his job in recent weeks for travelling abroad.
The CEO of London Health Sciences Centre, Paul Woods, was dismissed from his post after travelling five times to the United States in the midst of the pandemic.
According to his employment contract, Woods can receive a 12 months salary after termination. Records from the year prior show that Woods earned a salary of $605,000.
“While the Board was aware of Dr. Woods’ personal circumstances, it had no advance notice of and did not approve his travel outside Canada. There is no process for the Board of a public hospital to approve a chief executive officer’s personal travel,” said the Centres board.