December 6, 2019

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Frequent-flying hospital CEO's salary $275,000 but travel paid privately: board chair

The president and CEO of St. Boniface Hospital earns $275,000 a year, making her one of the top-paid health officials in Manitoba and likely the highest earner among hospital administrators.

St. Boniface released Martine Bouchard's remuneration Tuesday following a request by the Free Press.

Martine Bouchard, President and Chief Executive Officer of St. Boniface Hospital earns $275,000 a year, making her one of the top-paid health officials in Manitoba.

SASHA SEFTER / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Martine Bouchard, President and Chief Executive Officer of St. Boniface Hospital earns $275,000 a year, making her one of the top-paid health officials in Manitoba.

Tom Carson, chair of the hospital's board of directors, said 13.5 per cent of the total — $37,125 — is paid with private funds through the Catholic Health Corp. of Manitoba, the hospital's sponsor.

"Ms. Bouchard travels home to Montreal most weekends and no public funds are used to cover travel expenses," Carson said in an emailed statement.

The Free Press revealed on Monday that Bouchard, at least occasionally, flies home to Quebec on Thursdays and works from there.

Carson staunchly defended his CEO's decision to commute, saying "there is no issue with the quality and time of service she gives the hospital."

St. Boniface Hospital is coming under more scrutiny than usual because its emergency department last week had to temporarily redirect people who were arriving for follow-up appointments and non-emergency treatments elsewhere. An emergency room physician told the Free Press that a shortage of hospital beds had led to chaos in the ER as there was nowhere for admitted patients to go.

There are also questions about the hospital's ability to cope with the additional ER patients it is now dealing with as a result of the closure of Concordia Hospital's ER earlier this month.

Unlike hospitals falling under the administrative umbrella of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, St. Boniface Hospital's annual salary disclosure reports are not available online. The Free Press is still arranging to obtain that information.

The WRHA is expected to release 2018 compensation information for staff at Health Sciences Centre, Grace Hospital, Victoria Hospital and the health authority itself later this month. Other hospitals file their own reports, which are not readily available online.

Réal Cloutier, president and chief executive officer with the WRHA, earned $251,505 in 2017 when he served in the job in an interim capacity.

SASHA SEFTER / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Réal Cloutier, president and chief executive officer with the WRHA, earned $251,505 in 2017 when he served in the job in an interim capacity.

Bouchard is earning significantly more money than her equivalent at Health Sciences Centre did last year. Ronan Segrave, HSC's chief operating officer, was paid $200,145 in calendar 2018, the province disclosed Tuesday.

At Grace Hospital, chief operating officer Kellie O'Rourke earned $157,399 in 2017, according to the latest publicly available information.

Making comparisons difficult is the fact that top health administrators frequently change jobs or are promoted within a calendar year.

Réal Cloutier, president and chief executive officer with the WRHA, earned $251,505 in 2017 when he served in the top job in an interim capacity. Cloutier's predecessor, Milton Sussman, earned $362,565 in 2016.

In 2017, Dr. Brock Wright, who is now chief executive officer of the new provincial health authority, Shared Health, earned $330,112 as a top official with the WRHA.

Premier Brian Pallister's government recently changed the rules so that reports on publicly paid salaries will be available online in the future.

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

Larry Kusch

Larry Kusch
Legislature Reporter

Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Read full biography

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Updated on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at 7:09 PM CDT: Adds related stories

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