Hospital CEO paid $615K in year she quit
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A former St. Boniface Hospital chief executive officer — criticized for her regular long-distance commutes from Montreal — earned more than twice her typical salary in 2021 after bowing out of the job 18 months early.
Public compensation disclosure reports show former president Martine Bouchard earned $615,170 in 2021; the year prior, she took home $294,358 in total remuneration.
Bouchard resigned for personal reasons, including to care for a family member, on Oct. 15, 2021, 18 months before her contract was set to end.
“It’s certainly not a good look,” Opposition health critic Uzoma Asagwara said of the six-figure compensation package.
“You’ve got a CEO who spent a good part of the pandemic not even in the same city as the hospital she’s responsible for getting paid well over $600,000. How can that sit well with Manitobans? It can’t.”
In an emailed statement to the Free Press, a spokesman said St. Boniface Hospital was not “in a position to disclose the terms of any settlement relating to Ms. Bouchard ceasing to be employed” by the organization.
However, the public compensation disclosure report includes payments in addition to the base salary, such as severance pay, retirement pay, retroactive pay, lump-sum adjustments and payouts, the spokesman noted.
During her nearly four-year tenure, Bouchard faced significant criticism for continuing to commute between her home in Montreal and Winnipeg.
She also oversaw hospital operations remotely from Quebec between April and August 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic gained momentum in Manitoba. In December 2020, during the height of public health restrictions, she travelled to Quebec for the holidays when Manitobans were told to stay at home.
According to the disclosure, Bouchard was the hospital’s top earner last year. Interim president and chief executive officer Nicole Aminot earned $155,426. On Monday, St. Boniface Hospital said Aminot would become the organization’s new president following a national recruiting process.
While acknowledging the important work of a chief executive officer in a hospital setting, Asagwara said “fundamentally something is very wrong” when front-line health-care providers cannot secure a fair contract while executives resign with a tidy bonus.
A number of unions that represent health workers, including the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union and Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 204, are in protracted contract negotiations after years of stagnant wages.
“There needs to be a serious re-evaluation of where financial priorities are,” Asagwara said.
“You’ve got health-care workers and nurses who have been working mandated double shifts and overtime for months and months, and here’s a CEO who doesn’t finish her full term and yet is making more money.”
Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said he was surprised to see Bouchard earn more than $600,000 in her final 10 months with the hospital.
“It shows an incredible imbalance because there were, and are, health-care workers who have been worked to exhaustion and burnout without raises for years,” Lamont said in a statement to the Free Press.
“This is not solely a problem at St. Boniface Hospital, it is a problem across health care caused by PC mismanagement.“
In a statement, a spokesperson for Health Minister Audrey Gordon’s office said the government does not comment on specific employee compensation, and deferred comment to the employer.
Across the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, Bouchard was the highest-paid hospital boss, according to public compensation disclosure reports.
Concordia Hospital president and CEO Valerie Wiebe took home $226,171; Grace Hospital chief operating officer Kellie O’Rourke earned $168,633; Victoria Hospital COO Rachel Ferguson was paid $157,840; Seven Oaks Hospital COO Brenda Badiuk earned $157,340; and Misericordia Health Centre CEO Caroline Jaworsky was paid $190,436.
Former WRHA CEO Victoria Kaminski earned $247,426 in 2021, compared to the $358,136 she took home 2020. Kaminski was hired as the regional health authority’s president in late 2019 for an 18-month term to conclude in July and remained in the position until May 27, 2021, according to the WRHA.
Current WRHA chief executive officer Mike Nader, who was hired on May 17, 2021, earned $186,577 last year.
At the Health Sciences Centre, which is operated by the provincial health authority, Shared Health, former chief operating officer Ronan Segrave was paid $253,230 for six months of work. Segrave left the hospital in July last year as his contract was coming to an end. In 2020, Segrave earned $330,841.
Compensation for Dr. Shawn Young, who served as site medical lead and interim chief operating officer at Health Sciences Centre, earned $230,000. Young was brought on permanently as COO in April.
Shared Health former chief executive officer Brock Wright, who retired in January 2021 after four decades working in the provincial health system, was paid $340,452 last year. Wright earned $370,090 the year prior.
Canadian Taxpayers Federation prairie director Robin Speer said the compensation packages given to health-care leaders departing the “C-suite” is out of step with the interests of residents.
“Manitobans want their health-care dollars prioritized and going to the front lines,” Speer said.
Danielle Da Silva
Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.