The President and Chief Executive Officer of Health Sciences North (HSN) and Health Sciences North Research Institute (HSNRI) will be stepping down from his position in June.
Dominic Giroux has accepted a new role as President and CEO of Hôpital Montfort, Ontario’s French-language academic health sciences centre based in Ottawa.
His last day in office will be June 15, said a news release from HSN Thursday.
The announcement comes in the midst of widespread criticism of Giroux related to his previous role at Laurentian University.
Ontario NDP Health Critic France Gelinas told Sudbury.com in November she had received numerous complaints about Giroux continuing with his role at HSN from physicians and other health-care professionals.
Much of the criticism of Giroux goes back to Ontario Auditor General’s report on the financial difficulties surrounding Laurentian University that was released just last November.
It focused on the fact that Giroux was the president and vice-chancellor of Laurentian University from 2009 to 2017, a time when the university experienced periods of physical growth and took on significant debt. Giroux left the university in October of 2017 to assume the CEO and President’s role at Health Sciences North.
The university administration eventually threw in the towel in February of 2021 and sought financial protection of the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA).
That allowed the university to carry out financial restructuring and numerous staff layoffs without meeting normal obligations with respect to pensions and severance pay.
In view of the difficulties at Laurentian University, Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk was asked to investigate. The Public Accounts Committee of the Ontario Legislature requested a value-for-money audit of Laurentian for the 10-year period of 2010 to 2020, which covered most of Giroux’s tenure running the university.
In a scathing preliminary report released last April, Lysyk laid much of the blame for the university’s deterioration at the feet of senior administration, namely Giroux, although he was not named in the preliminary report, and repeated the statement in her full, 117-page special report on Laurentian, which was released in November.
A press release issued alongside the auditor’s report stated Laurentian’s overdependence on external legal and financial advisors led to the “unsuitable and damaging choice” to seek creditor protection using a legal process designed for private sector entities.
That decision was made because the taxpayer-funded university was in a perilous financial position, resulting largely from a series of “questionable strategic decisions” made by senior administration and a “lack of competent financial oversight and transparency” from the board of governors, said the press release from Lysyk.
In the news release from HSN on Thursday, Giroux stated he was pleased with his time at the hospital.
“It has been an honour to serve the people of Northeastern Ontario over the past five and half years at HSN and HSNRI,” said Giroux, in the press release.
“I am proud of our collective accomplishments made possible by the dedication and can-do attitude of our employees and medical staff, and the strong support of board members, Patient and Family Advisors, volunteers, learners, the foundations and volunteer association, donors, external partners, Ontario Health and the Ministry of Health.”
The HSN hospital board chair, Daniel Giroux (no relation) thanked the CEO for his work since 2017, saying it means there are “big shoes to fill.”
With the HSN accreditation site visit in early June and the development of its next strategic plan starting this fall, the timing is right for a CEO transition, said the board chair.
Len Gillis covers health care and mining for Sudbury.com.