The CEO of St. Joseph’s Health system and of Niagara Health has been removed from three provincial COVID committees after it was revealed he had vacationed in the Dominican Republic for more than two weeks in the Dominican Republic.
In a statement Tuesday evening, St. Joseph’s Health System stated, “St. Joseph’s Health System CEO Dr. Tom Stewart was on approved vacation from Dec. 18 – Jan 05. During that time, he travelled to the Dominican Republic.
We recognize and value the efforts of all our staff who have been working tirelessly and with great dedication. We encourage and support our staff taking vacation time while following public health advice.
“I regret this non-essential travel and I’m sorry,” said Dr. Stewart. “I recognize everyone should be avoiding non-essential travel now, including me.”
“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.”
Dr. Stewart will be self-isolating at home for two weeks. He said he owns a home in the Dominican Republic.
Late Tuesday, the Ministry of Health said Stewart is no longer on the advisory table.
“Helen Angus, Ontario’s Deputy Minister of Health, has accepted Dr. Tom Stewart’s resignation from the Health Coordination Table, the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, and the LTC Incident Management System Table,” the ministry said in a statement. “The people of Ontario have made countless sacrifices during the pandemic and it remains critically important that everyone continues to follow public health advice. We all have a part to play to stop the spread of COVID-19.”