The head of UBC‘s School of Population and Public Health is apologizing, after travelling for a vacation over the holiday break.
Global News has confirmed that Dr. Peter Berman flew to Hawaii over the holidays, amid COVID-19 restrictions and public health advice not to travel internationally.
“I recognize now that I should not have travelled, and that many of you have made sacrifices over these past several weeks that I too should have made,” Berman wrote in a statement.
“I truly regret this decision.”
Berman went on to “reaffirm” his support for public health authorities, and to say he is complying with “all requirements for pandemic control.”
UBC recruited Berman from Harvard to head the SPPH, of which provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is also a faculty member.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the university said it was aware that “some university administrators, students, faculty and staff may have chosen to travel over the holiday break.”
“Individuals in our community are free to make personal decisions around how they choose to spend their personal time,” reads the statement.
“The university has no jurisdiction over policing those private decisions, but expects everyone in the community to follow health guidelines.”
Berman is the latest high profile figure to admit to travelling overseas while most Canadians hunkered down under health orders that saw them cancel traditional family gatherings.
Neither the federal nor provincial government has banned travel, but both have strongly advised against it.
Earlier this week, Victoria Coun. Sharmarke Dubow apologized for a trip to Somalia during the holidays.
Outside of B.C., international travel has resulted in demotions for multiple provincial and federal politicians.
Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips resigned his post after it was revealed he’d flown to St. Barts in the Caribbean.
Alberta Minister of Municipal Affairs Tracy Allard was also removed from her post over a Hawaiian vacation, while multiple other United Conservative Party MLAs and staffers also faced demotions or were asked to resign.