Ontario doctor ousted as CEO of two hospitals after Dominican holiday travel

By The Canadian Press

A physician who travelled internationally over the holidays against public health advice is out of his job as CEO of two Ontario hospitals.

The St. Joseph’s Health System says it has “parted ways” with Dr. Tom Stewart following a meeting of its board of directors on Thursday.

The board thanked Stewart for his work as president and CEO of the hospital system in a brief written statement, and said it would announce an interim replacement shortly.

The news comes a day after Niagara Health announced it was no longer purchasing CEO services from St. Joseph’s Health System, replacing Stewart with a new president and chief executive officer.

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It said in a statement that the board of directors’ decision is effective immediately.

Stewart had travelled to the Dominican Republic over the holidays despite public health guidance asking people to avoid non-essential travel.

St. Joseph’s Health System confirmed his trip this week amid national fallout over officials in government and health care who took holidays abroad in December while much of the general public stayed home during the worsening COVID-19 pandemic.

“We understand that we are facing a very serious issue and, as a board, must take the necessary time to deliberate and listen to our staff and community,” Sister Anne Anderson said in a statement.

“Please know, that at all times, we remain committed to St. Joseph’s Health System’s legacy of compassionate care for those we are privileged to serve.”

Stewart resigned from the Ontario government’s pandemic advisory group this week after news of his travel came to light.

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