Hospital board’s pay raise may flout law

Yukon Hospital Corporation board members have been paying themselves double their regular pay for the last six months, possibly in contravention of the Hospital Act.

Yukon Hospital Corporation board members have been paying themselves double their regular pay for the last six months, possibly in contravention of the Hospital Act.

The act allows board members to adjust their pay without approval from the government in the absence of an order-in-council.

But a cabinet order set the board’s pay in November 2009. Despite this, the board doubled its pay in late 2009 and has been paying the higher-than-normal rate since.

Hospital officials say they were allowed to increase the stipend.

The board doubled the chair’s rate to $600 a day from $300. It also added a monthly $2,000 stipend to the chair’s honorarium and another $300 a day if the chair spends time preparing for the meeting. The other board members received a $400 a day honorarium, up from $200.

The cost of the board’s honoraria grew to $85,000 in 2009 from $57,000 in 2008, according to the corporation’s most recent audit.

“For the last two years, the roles of the corporation has changed and the structure has change and it’s a new organization,” said Craig Tuton, the board’s chair. “The board recognized that to attract the right people to the board, and especially the chair, they had to have compensation that would meet the current job.”

On its face, the Hospital Act gives the impression the minister responsible must sign off on any pay increase. But the board can increase pay without government oversight as long as an order-in-council doesn’t exist, said Joe MacGillivray, the hospital corporation’s CEO.

“In the absence of the commissioner setting remuneration rates, the board has had that authority,” said MacGillivray.

But an order-in-council setting the lower pay grade has been in place since last November.

The chair shall be paid $300 a day and regular members shall receive $200 a day, says Order-in-Council 2009/208, signed by Commissioner Geraldine Van Bibber on November 12, 2009.

On Friday, the government released an order-in-council approving the doubled pay rate. That’s six months after board members gave themselves a raise.

“The Friday OIC would reflect a lot closer to what the board have set over a year ago,” said Tuton.

There are only two sections of the Hospital Act which refer to the rules on pay changes.

Section 5.7 states cabinet may set the pay received by board members.

MacGillivray said that “may” is a key word.

“It’s a may clause, not a shall clause. So in the absence of that, and we have not had that OIC in place until recently, the board on its own has the ability to do that.”

The board has been setting its pay in the absence of orders-in-council since the corporation was created in 1993, said MacGillivray.

“We’re not questioning that as soon as there is an OIC, that is the authority. But in the absence of the OIC, the board had the responsibility, they actually had the requirement to set the policies in place.”

MacGillivray, who had to go to a meeting, could not continue the interview. He was not able to address questions about the November 2009 order-in-council.

Contact James Munson at jamesm@yukon-news.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Copper Ridge resident clears their driveway after a massive over night snowfall in Whitehorse on Nov. 2, 2020. Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for the Whitehorse and Haines Junction areas for Jan. 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Winter storm warning for Haines Junction and Whitehorse

Environment Canada says the storm will develop Monday and last until Tuesday

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

Most Read