Member of Ontario COVID-19 vaccine task force no longer on team after travelling out of the country
Linda Hasenfratz is seen during a meeting in Ottawa on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2010. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Pawel Dwulit)
TORONTO -- A member of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccination distribution task force is out of her role following the revelation that she travelled out of the country in December.
In a statement released Tuesday evening, Premier Doug Ford's office said that automotive executive Linda Hasenfratz is no longer on the team.
“Today, Premier Ford accepted the resignation of Linda Hasenfratz as a member of Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccination Distribution Task Force after it was brought to his attention that she travelled outside the country in December,” the statement read.
The statement said Hasenfratz, who is the CEO of Guelph-based auto parts manufacturer Linamar, has apologized for travelling.
The statement from the premier’s office did not say why she travelled in December or to where.
Federal and provincial health officials have been advising against nonessential travel outside of the country for months because of the pandemic.
The statement from Ford’s office noted that the province is seeing “early signs of progress in bending the curve” and added that “now is not the time to let up.
“We continue to urge everyone to stay home.”
Hasenfratz is the latest of a number of public figures who have found themselves in hot water after ignoring public health advice against travel.
In December, MPP Rod Phillips was ousted from his role as finance minister after it was revealed that he took a secret holiday to the Caribbean island of St. Barts over the Christmas break, despite social media posts suggesting he was in the country.
A number of hospital officials have also been caught travelling, some of them while the hospitals they administer were in the midst of outbreaks.
Hasenfratz was appointed to the task force on a part-time basis in December and was meant to serve through the end of August. The province did not immediately say who might replace her.