Hospital CEO resigns after 80% pay hike revealed, scrutiny ordered

NEWMARKET, Dec. 16 /CNW/ - A hospital CEO who provoked public outcry when his massive pay hike shocked Ontarians has resigned in the wake of the furor.

The CEO of Southlake Regional Health Centre is stepping down from the Newmarket hospital after it was revealed his compensation jumped a staggering 81 per cent over five years.

The revelations sparked public demonstrations at the hospital in the Greater Toronto Area in the spring after it was found the chief executive pocketed an unexplained bonus of $310,000 in 2009 to top his compensation up to $2.9-million for the period.

The executive is stepping down days after legislation was passed by Queen's Park that will force hospital CEOs to publish their expenses online and compel hospitals to comply with Freedom of Information requests and subject themselves to scrutiny.

"This is a blow for transparency and accountability," said Marty Parker, head of the Ontario Hospital Workers Council.

"With this new legislation in place, we expect full scrutiny of the hospital finances and for boards to be held accountable," he added.

The CEO's compensation had climbed to $785,000 per year after annual increases of 28% and 16%, while frontline hospital workers have seen inflation-linked increases of 2%.

The CEO is moving to a for-profit home care and private medical services agency that has told investors it plans to lobby aggressively for lucrative government contracts to deliver home care to the elderly, sick, disabled, and dying in Ontario.

Home care agencies in Ontario have so far escaped public scrutiny even though the province's auditor general has called for stronger oversight.

The government of Ontario recently decided to make the home care sector - as well as the Community Care Access Centres that dole out contracts - exempt from transparency and accountability legislation; exempt from Freedom of Information legislation; and exempt from new executive compensation requirements.

This means executives at home care agencies can continue to inflate their salaries using tax dollars and lobby for contracts while escaping public scrutiny.

"We hope the executive does not simply continue to indulge in excess at taxpayers' expense that is hidden from view," said Mr. Parker.

SEIU Local 1 Canada represents more than 50,000 healthcare and community services workers across Ontario

SOURCE SEIU Healthcare

For further information: For further information:

Greg Dwulit, 905-660-1800 x 3059,

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