The former head of Alberta Health Services — who resigned because of alleged political interference — has been hired to lead the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.
Vicki Kaminski will become the new president and CEO of the WRHA Jan. 6, replacing Réal Cloutier, who announced his retirement last month.
Kaminski's appointment was announced to staff Friday by Karen Dunlop, the WRHA board chairwoman.
Provincial Health Minister Cameron Friesen described Kaminski as "impressive."
"This is an individual who knows governance, who knows leadership and knows system transformation. I think she’s going to do a fantastic (job)," Friesen said.
Kaminski said she'll be able to use the experience she has gained in health care both across the country, and from Australia, for the benefit of Winnipeg.
"I'm very excited to be going to the WRHA... it is a very dynamic time for them," she said during a media call Friday.
Kaminski said she already has met many people working with the WRHA because she has been working as a consultant since last July as part of the provincial transformation leadership team.
"I am very impressed," she said. "It was an easy decision to throw my name into the hat... I'm very pleased the board chose me."
“This is an individual who knows governance, who knows leadership and knows system transformation. I think she’s going to do a fantastic (job).” - Provincial Health Minister Cameron Friesen
A native of Sudbury, Kaminski has more than 40 years of experience in health care. She received her nursing degree at hometown Laurentian University and also has an MBA from Northwestern University in Chicago and York University in Toronto. She has served as president of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario and is a member of the Canadian Institute for Health Information's Strategic Analytic Committee.
Kaminski was president and CEO of Alberta Health Services from 2014 until the end of 2015, and before that she was CEO of amalgamated hospitals in the Greater Sudbury area and deputy minister in charge of South Australia's hospitals.
She resigned her Alberta position in November 2015; in her resignation letter she wrote of political interference, first while working under the Tory government of premier Jim Prentice that worsened after the election of NDP premier Rachel Notley in May 2015.
"There are many examples of how this has played out over the past few months," she said in the letter, obtained by CBC News a few months later.
"More recently however, many (examples of political interference) are simply rooted in an ideology of the new government that does not allow AHS to do what needs to be, and should be, done."
Kaminski said her contract is for 18 months with an option for an extension.
Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.