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All Independent MUHC Board Members Resign

Almost two years ago Minister Barrette appointed some new people and re-appointed others as independent members of the Board of Directors of the MUHC upon the recommendation of a committee of governance experts. We were chosen for this volunteer position for our broad and diverse range of experience and expertise and because together we offered the necessary skill sets to oversee the multi-faceted operations of one of the most important university teaching hospitals in the world. What unites us is our commitment to helping ensure Quebecers continue to benefit from the MUHC’s leadership in patient care, teaching, research and technology assessment.

For us to be effective and to operate in the best interest of our patients and their families as well as the talented women and men who work at the MUHC it is essential that we have a regular and constructive dialogue with the Minister and his officials and that  we work collaboratively towards achieving our common goals. Minister Barrette, however, has for many months refused to engage with us, ignoring our requests for meetings, not responding to correspondence and refusing to share reports like the Joshi and Desjardins Reports with us before making them public months after they were submitted.  

Instead, with his threats of trusteeship and his questioning both in public and in private of our competency, it has become clear that Minister Barrette views the Board of Directors as a stumbling block preventing the MUHC from reaching its full potential in the health care network. By his silence it is clear that he has rejected our recent proposal to set up a joint Board-Ministry Committee to address the selection of a new PDG, Board renewal and our funding. 

We are at an impasse. 

Our responsibility and our duty is to focus on what is in the best interest of the MUHC.

It is for this reason that all of us have decided to resign as independent members of the Board.

Steering the MUHC over the past five years for the current and the previous Board has been challenging, particularly because we have been in the midst of a major transformation including the largest hospital move in the history of Canada. We seized this opportunity to re-examine our procedures and processes while introducing best practices and successfully implementing the 2007 clinical plan.

We wish to congratulate Martine Alfonso, our Interim President and Executive Director (PDG), and her team for their commitment to excellence and for setting the path for our return to budget equilibrium at the end of the current fiscal year while keeping patient care at the forefront. We also wish to thank our health care professionals for their professionalism and compassionate care despite the turmoil.

In looking ahead it is in the interest of all stakeholders that the MUHC benefit from a strong, effective and representative Board of Directors. We maintain that the roles and responsibilities of the new Board need to be enhanced to include the appointment of the Chair and the PDG. The Minister currently chooses the PDG, who participates in a monthly meeting with him and a bi-weekly call with his Deputy Minister, who is responsible for her performance review. 

The Board of Directors of the MUHC should not be simply an Advisory Board. It needs to assume its role which is to govern the affairs of the MUHC. Otherwise, not only will it be difficult to attract talented community representatives to serve on the Board but also the community’s influence and contribution is diminished by leaving governance to one person.

The MUHC has an impressive history, and we take pride in having contributed to putting the foundation in place to allow it to continue to play a pivotal leadership role in our health care system. Our team at the MUHC is world class, and we are fortunate to have them in our midst. As we end our mandate we urge all Montrealers to rally behind our great institution and to ensure that we create the climate necessary for its continued success. The first step is to proceed with the appointment of a new PDG.  


The Independent Members, MUHC Board of Directors

Claudio Bussandri (Chair), Gail Campbell, Marie Giguere, David Laidley, Teresa Pacheco, Robert Rabinovitch, Janis Riven, Glenn Rourke, Melissa Sonberg, Norman Spencer.


For more information contact:
MUHC Public Affairs, 514-843-1560
[email protected]

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