Millions doled out in severance to health agency execs
CTV News has uncovered a multi-million-dollar payout to executives linked to the decade-long eHealth debacle.
They were massive severance packages signed in April 2009, some totalling $500,000.
Seven executives received a total of $2.1 million when the Liberal government cleaned house at the Smart Systems for Health Agency, formed by the Progressive Conservative government of Premier Mike Harris in 2002.
Smart Systems for Health Agency is the electronic medical records agency that existed before eHealth, which came into being in the fall of 2008.
The severance information is buried in thousands of pages of documents dumped on reporters Wednesday by the health ministry. The opposition parties say the government was trying to hide other bad news under the avalanche of documents that came out about eHealth.
Auditor General Jim McCarter tabled a 50-page report that shows Ontarians have gotten little value for the approximately $1 billion it has spent trying to develop an electronic health records system.
Another problem agency that received little publicity on Wednesday is Cancer Care Ontario.
CTV Toronto has uncovered the following examples of questionable spending at the arm's-length agency:
- $10,000 on a picnic for 200 staffers and their families
- $1,900 for a goodbye party at the home of a staffer. Two hundred dollars of that was for alcohol, which was recouped.
- $108 for team-building at a picnic
- $400 for a holiday party for 11 staffers at a pub
- $75 for cupcakes for a baby shower at a person's home
CTV Toronto's Paul Bliss said he's been told by the agency's boss that some of the money spent on parties is being paid back. Managers have been told not to throw parties for staff in the future using taxpayers' money, he said.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Paul Bliss