A doctor who works at a Peel Region hospital network says the organization is terminating his contract as interim medical director of critical care because he has spoken out about the province’s pandemic response.
In a statement obtained by CBC Toronto, Dr. Brooks Fallis, a critical care doctor, blames Ontario government influence for the decision.
“As a result of my actions, the hospital was under pressure from the provincial government, leading to concern about the possible loss of funding for the hospital,” he says in the statement.
Fallis says he is “deeply disappointed” with the decision by the William Osler Health System. He says the hospital network had offered to extend his contract but that offer was rescinded earlier this month.
“It was a surprise, as the feedback I was given about my performance over the past year as interim medical director of critical care had been positive and especially because I had already received an offer to extend my contract,” Fallis’s statement reads.
“I was made aware of the reversal in their decision in mid-January. When I met with some of the members of the senior leadership team about this, I was told I was being let go as interim medical director — not because of my performance as a physician or as a hospital leader — but because of my outspoken, public statements regarding Ontario’s pandemic response.”
Fallis says he doesn’t regret speaking out and he did so to improve the response to the pandemic.
“As a physician, my greatest responsibility is to care for people. In these times of uncertainty, my only goal in speaking out is to advocate for informed decision making and a better, more transparent response to the COVID crisis. I do not regret doing that. I will continue to serve as a critical care physician at William Osler.”
The hospital network has not yet responded for comment but it has said it is looking into the matter.
The termination of the contract comes after Ontario Premier Doug Ford criticized another Toronto doctor.
On Wednesday, Ford criticized the relationship between Dr. David Fisman, a member of Ontario’s COVID-19 advisory science table, and the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO).
The Toronto Sun reported that Fisman did paid consultancy work for the union while advising the government on pandemic restrictions.
Ivana Yelich, spokesperson for the premier, called the news about Fisman “deeply concerning” on Wednesday and said the premier learned about the potential conflict of interest through the media.
“Ontarians have put their trust in us to make difficult decisions based on sound, impartial public health advice. Our expectation is that anyone involved in providing advice to the government in this capacity would do so absent of agenda or bias, and therefore this paid relationship raises legitimate concerns,” Yelich said.