A woman with a long history of criminal convictions for pretending to be a nurse worked at a long-term care home in Vancouver at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, CBC News has learned.
Brigitte Cleroux, 50, is already facing criminal charges of fraud and personation after she allegedly posed as a nurse for a year and assisted with surgeries at B.C. Women's Hospital as well. A private surgery clinic in Victoria has also acknowledged employing her.
On Friday, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) confirmed that Cleroux provided nursing services at Royal Arch Masonic Home between March and June 2020. At the time, she was an employee of health-care contractor Pro Vita Care Management, the health authority said.
Cleroux has never been licensed as a nurse anywhere in Canada.
A VCH spokesperson told CBC News in an email that once the care home discovered Cleroux wasn't really a nurse, a nursing consultant was hired to conduct an investigation.
"The investigation found no incidents involving resident care in violation of the Community Care and Assisted Living Act, and the Residential Care Regulation, beyond the provision of nursing services by a person not holding the required licenced nursing professional (RN) qualification," the email reads.
"The report further found no evidence of any other reportable incidents."
The spokesperson did not respond to questions about whether care home residents or their family members were informed about Cleroux's lack of qualifications.
However, he said the facility's management is "currently in the process of making the required changes to procedures necessary to prevent any occurrence of a similar nature in the future."
Fake nurse 'seemed to be showing off'
Registered nurse Rupi Cheema, who also worked at Royal Arch in 2020, described Cleroux as rude and unprofessional.
"She was kind of rough around the edges," Cheema said. "She just seemed to be showing off that she had lots of experience, that she worked in an ICU, so this would all be a piece of cake."
That description matches those given by patients who've spoken to CBC about their experiences being treated by Cleroux. Those patients have also raised questions about whether complications they experienced during gynecological surgeries are linked to her presence in the operating room.
Cleroux is currently in jail in Ottawa, facing charges in both B.C. and Ontario. She has previous convictions for pretending to be a nurse in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.
Vancouver police have said she used the name of a real nurse to gain employment as a perioperative nurse at B.C. Women's Hospital from June 2020 to June 2021.
She was also employed as a nurse at Victoria's View Royal Surgical Clinic for three weeks in November 2020. However, no charges have been laid in connection with her time there and local RCMP will not comment on whether an investigation is underway.
During a Vancouver court appearance earlier this week, Crown prosecutors revealed that police are investigating multiple allegations of Cleroux committing assault, and more charges are possible.