Ontario physician out as hospital CEO after Dominican holiday travel

Dr. Tom Stewart Dr. Tom Stewart. Photo credit: NPRH

ST. CATHARINES, Ont. — A physician who travelled internationally over the holidays against public health advice was out of his CEO job at one Ontario hospital Thursday while another hospital board was reconsidering his executive position. 

Niagara Health said Wednesday that it’s no longer purchasing CEO services from St. Joseph’s Health System, replacing Dr. Tom Stewart with a new president and chief executive officer. 

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.

The chair of St. Joseph’s board said members would meet Wednesday to discuss Stewart’s travel.

“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. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 7, 2021. 

The Canadian Press