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eHealth CEO turns down $81,250 bonus

The head of scandal-plagued eHealth Ontario has turned down a hefty bonus as the province tries to convince its teachers and other public-sector workers to take a two-year pay freeze.

CEO Greg Reed, who was brought in to lead the agency following the scandal, was set to receive a performance pay bonus of $81,250 — about 25 per cent of his $329,000 annual salary.

The bonus was part of a “standard employment contract” negotiated between Reed and the eHealth board of directors, agency spokesman Robert Mitchell said. Reed’s salary is “significantly lower” than his peers at other agencies, Mitchell added.

Bonuses for more than 600 eHealth staff were cancelled in 2011 in the wake of the scandal and opposition parties were calling on Health Minister Deb Matthews to do the same for Reed.

Those employees have filed a class action lawsuit after the province cancelled raises of up to 1.9 per cent and promised 2011 bonuses of up to 7.8 per cent.

Reed, who also refused his 2011 bonus, took over the agency in 2010 after the auditor general found little progress had been made in developing an electronic health records system despite a $1-billion investment from the province. Companies that won untendered contracts with the agency worth millions of dollars abused their taxpayer-funded expense accounts.

Former health minister David Caplan was forced to resign due to the scandal.

The Progressive Conservatives insist there’s been a lack of progress on the project despite another $1 billion spent. eHealth has missed deadlines to create electronic medical records, a drug information system, an immunization tracking system and a diabetes registry.

The Tories also claim the agency is prepared to award a multimillion dollar contract to a company that employs consultants involved in the original scandal.

With files from The Canadian Press