Ousted Alberta top doc is joining BC's public health team

Feb 1 2023, 10:46 pm

A familiar name has been added to the arsenal of public health officials in BC: Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

Hinshaw will be added to “help strengthen B.C.’s preparedness and response to present and future public health emergencies,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said on Wednesday in a statement.

Hinshaw served as Alberta’s chief medical officer and was at the frontlines throughout the pandemic, but was dismissed from her post hours after newly sworn-in Premier Danielle Smith took over the reins from Jason Kenney in October.

While Smith said she would no longer be taking medical advice from Hinshaw, the doctor did remain with the Alberta government following the announcement but had not made any public statements in recent months.

The reaction to her dismissal appeared to be divided online, as many looked to Hinshaw as a calm presence at the health updates, but others expressed outrage over public health guidance and restrictions. As well, questions had been raised about the so-called bonus she received in 2021 to the tune of $277,900 on top of her $363,000 salary.

She won’t be replacing Henry as BC’s top doctor but instead will serve as the deputy health officer.

Henry said Hinshaw will be taking the role for a six-month contract.

“In her new role, Dr. Hinshaw will support the work of the office of the PHO, while Dr. Martin Lavoie, a deputy provincial health officer, is on a temporary assignment. Dr. Hinshaw previously served as chief medical officer of health for Alberta and was a key leader in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in that province,” Henry said.

With files from Peter Klein and Laine Mitchell

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