Dr. Deena Hinshaw has been fired as Alberta’s chief medical health officer.
The Alberta government announced on Monday afternoon that Dr. Mark Joffe, the vice-president and medical director for Cancer Care Alberta, will take her place.
In a statement, Joffe said he was honoured to be selected for the role.
“I have always put the needs of my patients first and foremost throughout my career, which will continue as I take on this new challenge,” he said in a statement.
The change comes as Alberta Premier Danielle Smith has hinted at firing Hinshaw as she campaigned on overhauling Alberta Health Services (AHS). In her first press conference as premier on Oct. 11, Smith said she will no longer take advice from Hinshaw.
“I will get new advice on public health,” Smith said.
“I appreciate the work that Dr. Deena Hinshaw has done, but I think that we’re in a new phase where we are now talking about treating coronavirus (as) influenza.”
Under Hinshaw’s leadership, AHS advised the Kenney government to implement vaccine mandates and to close schools and churches. AHS officers visited churches to ensure Covid protocols were being met, and those that did not comply were fined or shut down.
Some of those charges are now being dropped. Earlier this month, Alberta Pastor Tim Stephens was acquitted on charges of violating the province’s public health orders which required physical distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic. Stephens spent a total of 21 days in jail in regards to the charges.
Joffe has worked with Alberta Health Services for more than 25 years. His interim appointment takes effect Nov. 14. and will continue until the minister of health rescinds the appointment. He will continue in his current contract with AHS, with no additional compensation for the chief medical officer of health role, according to a government news release.
Alberta Health Minister Jason Copping said Joffe dedicated himself to improving the health of Albertans throughout his career.
“He brings this wealth of experience and knowledge to the role of chief medical officer of health.”
Smith campaigned on overhauling Alberta Health Services, including changes in management. She’s been critical of the treatment of the unvaccinated, who were barred from restaurants and gyms for a period.
Smith also promised to amend human rights legislation so Albertans are not discriminated against on the basis of medical decisions again.