The Board of Directors defends the President and CEO and clarifies certain aspects of the agency staff issue

Vitalité Health Network, June 10, 2024 – The Board of Directors of Vitalité Health Network clarifies its role and responsibilities with regard to agency personnel, and reiterates its unwavering confidence in and support for the President and Chief Executive Officer of Vitalité Health Network, Dr. France Desrosiers.

Vitalité Health Network has co-operated fully with the Auditor General in carrying out his audit mandate. The decision to withhold internal audit reports was taken by the Board following a legal opinion on privilege and an in-depth analysis of the risks involved in sharing these documents. Since Vitalité Health Network is currently involved in a dispute with one of the targeted agencies, sharing these documents could jeopardize ongoing negotiations with that agency.

The Board offered various options for sharing information from the three audit reports and answering all questions from the Auditor General's office in exchange for a non-disclosure clause from the Auditor General, which was refused.

Furthermore, the Board reiterates that, in its governance role, it is responsible for overseeing the quality of the structures and processes in place for the monitoring, sound management and execution of contracts, and not for looking into the specific details of contracts, which is more the responsibility of operations. The Board is satisfied with the control mechanisms that have been implemented and have become standard practice at Vitalité Health Network, well before the release of the Auditor General's report.

The members of the current Board of Directors were not in office when the needs were assessed, but they would have approved the use of agency staff. Vitalité Health Network was facing a perfect storm, characterized by a major labour shortage and growing needs for health care and services. Essential services were threatened, putting patients at risk.

“Despite this difficult context, the President and Chief Executive Officer has led continuous improvement efforts with conviction: a solid recruitment and retention strategy has been implemented, generating encouraging results, notably reversing hiring and departure curves, and giving hope to teams in the field after a tumultuous period. Therefore, The Board of Directors stands behind Dr. France Desrosiers, reiterating its support for her leadership, rigour, vision and exemplary execution of her role as President and CEO, and for the Network's purpose, which is to foster the health of our patients and communities, today and tomorrow.”
Tom Soucy, Board Chairman, on behalf of the members of the Board.