PHSA appoints new CEO to replace leader fired after review into misspending allegations

·2 min read
The Provincial Health Services Authority has appointed Dr. David Byres as its president and CEO. Byres had been filling the role on an interim basis for seven months following the dismissal of his predecessor, Benoit Morin. (Provincial Health Services Authority - image credit)
The Provincial Health Services Authority has appointed Dr. David Byres as its president and CEO. Byres had been filling the role on an interim basis for seven months following the dismissal of his predecessor, Benoit Morin. (Provincial Health Services Authority - image credit)

The Provincial Health Services Authority has a new president and CEO after its last leader was fired following the release of a review into misspending allegations.

The PHSA announced its board of directors appointed Dr. David Byres president and CEO. He had been filling the roles for seven months on an interim basis.

His predecessor, Benoit Morin, was fired in February, the same day an external review into misspending allegations was released.

"The Provincial Health Services Authority is there to ensure British Columbians have access to essential, high-quality health-care services, and this position is of the utmost importance, providing leadership and implementing direction to meet people's health-care needs," Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a statement.

"I am confident that Dr. Byres' experience, leadership, and education in health care, including most recently at the PHSA, make him an excellent fit for this role during a time of great challenges."

The PHSA oversees provincewide and specialized health services like the ambulance service, B.C. Centre for Disease Control, B.C. Children's Hospital and more.

In November 2020, CBC News brought forward whistleblowers' concerns that under Morin's leadership, the PHSA purchased and eventually wrote off about $7 million worth of unusable face masks from a Montreal-based vendor.

Sarah Leavitt/CBC
Sarah Leavitt/CBC

The whistleblowers also accused the authority of squandering hundreds of thousands of dollars on unnecessary renovations to executive offices and tens of thousands of dollars on high-end catered meals for executives and their staff.

The health ministry ordered an external review of the allegations. The review found no pre-existing relationship between Morin and the Montreal-based vendor but did find a disconnect between the PHSA CEO, board and staff about how to address the faulty masks.

The review also found concerns from people within the organization about the renovations and the health authority's culture, work environment and leadership but made no concrete findings on those matters.

In February, Morin was dismissed without cause and will receive severance, Dix said.

The PHSA, in its statement, said Byres has 25 years of clinical and leadership experience in the health-care system, including time as an associate deputy minister with the Ministry of Health.

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