British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix wears a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, August 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix wears a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, August 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

PHSA bought faulty respirators; spent money on catering, renovations: Dix

Such spending included ‘unnecessary, unbudgeted renovations’ to the authority’s headquarters in Vancouver

B.C.’s health minister has restricted spending and launched an independent review within the province’s health authority over misspending during the ongoing pandemic.

In a statement Friday (Dec. 4), Health Minister Adrian Dix confirmed concerns raised in the media this week about spending decisions made in the Provincial Health Services Authority.

Such spending included “unnecessary, unbudgeted renovations” to the authority’s headquarters in Vancouver, excessive catering expenses for executives and staff during the height of the pandemic in March to June, as well as “inappropriate human resource decisions” relating to hiring, severance and salaries.

The health service authority also is under fire for purchasing problematic respirators from Luminarie, sparking concerns of how the authority followed up with the vendor.

Dix has since limited the health service’s spending when it comes to internal capital planning, unless approved by the deputy minister. Changes at the senior executive level will also have to be reviewed and approved by the ministry indefinitely.

Dix also announced that a third-party advisor will be hired to review the purchase of the faulty ventilators, as well as all business expense policies within the PHSA and regional health authorities across the province.

The health authority has until Dec. 11 to eliminate the role of chief of staff.

“I have made it clear that it is critical that the public has confidence in the PHSA and the management of B.C.’s health system in general,” his statement reads.

Black Press Media has reached out to the health authority for comment.

EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this story erroneously referred to the PPE purchased to include ventilators.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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