THE president and CEO of St. Boniface Hospital is leaving after more than three years at the helm of the facility, during which staffing challenges and burnout became rampant throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Martine Bouchard is stepping down for personal reasons, one of which is to take care of a Quebec-based family member with health issues, according to a Sept. 9 news release.
Bouchard, a bilingual manager with a background in nursing who hails from Quebec, took on the position in spring 2018.
She faced criticism for commuting back and forth to her home in Montreal since she took the job, including during the pandemic.
Bouchard worked exclusively from her Quebec home between April and August 2020 and following the winter holidays, she received an exemption to self-isolate upon a return to Winnipeg.
Tom Carson said the board of directors at St. Boniface will not remember the leader for the trips she took, but rather how much she could accomplish in 24 hours. "She was both a very determined and solid manager, and you don’t get many of those in health care. She was a visionary," said Carson.
In all of his 13 years of experience on the board, the chairman said he had never worked alongside a president who placed as much emphasis on the importance of human resources or communication with staff as Bouchard.
The release about Bouchard’s leaving applauds her work in negotiating with stakeholders for the hospital’s emergency room and managing amid both the renovation and expansion of the emergency room and psychiatric wing.
She will depart on Oct. 15, 18 months before her term was slated to end. The Free Press reported in 2019 that her salary was $275,000.
The hospital is starting a recruitment process, which involves setting up a committee with representatives from the research field, hospital board, hospital foundation board and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, to select a replacement.
Chief financial officer Nicole Aminot is to act as CEO in the interim.
Maggie Macintosh reports on education for the Winnipeg Free Press. Funding for the Free Press education reporter comes from the Government of Canada through the Local Journalism Initiative.