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B.C. provincial health authority CEO steps down following review into allegations of misspending

Benoit Morin is no longer CEO of PHSA.
Benoit Morin is no longer CEO of PHSA. PHSA/Facebook

Provincial Health Services Authority CEO Benoit Morin has stepped down from the organization hours after the province released an independent review into allegations of misspending.

The review followed media reports of a $7-million purchase of PPE that ended up being unusable. The masks didn’t pass provincial health regulations and some were found to be counterfeit.

The review by Ernst & Young found no truth to rumours of a conflict of interest between Morin and Montreal-based vendor Luminarie, who sold the unusable China-made face masks.

Read more: Multiple reviews ordered amid misspending allegations at B.C. provincial health authority

But once the problem was discovered, there was a “disconnect” over how to pursue recourse from the vendor, according to the review. The CEO and board of directors suggested negotiation while some executive staff launched legal action without informing them.

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In the months that followed, four employees would leave PHSA or be fired, and Ernst & Young found that a perceived lack of loyalty to Morin was a contributing factor.

The scope of the review only covered the failed PPE transaction but Ernst & Young identified other areas of concern, including discrepancies in the reported cost of renovations to executive staff offices versus the actual cost.

Other issues included hiring practices in the CEO’s office and confidence in PHSA leadership.

Read more: The B.C. government apologizes for systemic racism towards Indigenous people in B.C.’s health-care system

“The board of directors has determined that new leadership is required at the Provincial Health Services Authority and today CEO Benoit Morin left the organization,” PHSA said in a statement issued Tuesday.

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Dr. David Byres has been appointed as interim CEO.