Public health agency told about 'issue' facing Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin in late March

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OTTAWA — The president of the Public Health Agency of Canada says he was told there was a potential "issue" facing the general leading Canada's vaccine distribution about eight weeks before he stepped down.

Iain Stewart says the deputy minister of defence told him in the third week of March that there was an issue facing Maj. Gen. Dany Fortin.

But Stewart says he didn't learn that "issue" was a sexual misconduct allegation until May 13.

Fortin stepped aside as vice-president of logistics for PHAC's vaccine rollout the next day.

Fortin's lawyer has said his client was unaware of the details of the allegation until a reporter contacted him on Sunday, and that Fortin categorically denies any wrongdoing.

Stewart says he began thinking about what might happen if Fortin needed to be replaced in March but didn't discuss the matter with Health Minister Patty Hajdu until May 13.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 21, 2021.

The Canadian Press