Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s public health chief, taking leave of absence for medical treatment, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, who is stepping down as the director of the Toronto-Carleton District School Board, say they want to keep their jobs “in spite of the inevitable storm.”
This is the second time in less than three months that Dr. Henry announced that she was stepping down from her board chair and public health director positions.
It’s the first time since then that the two have expressed their intentions to remain in their positions, in a letter sent out by the school board to staff on Thursday.
“Our board has always stood for excellence in education and our staff has worked tirelessly as a community to ensure that the needs of our children are met and their rights protected,” wrote board chair Karen Farbridge, adding that “there is a great sense of pride in who we are, and what we stand for. We are very fortunate to have such dedicated individuals.”
“We can continue to build on the outstanding work of these individuals by ensuring that we have a vibrant and healthy community,” said Dr. Henry. “I want to express my gratitude to our staff for their professionalism and commitment to our students, our families and the community.”
Dr. Henry’s departure comes a day after the board voted to cut the salaries of its two top administrators: Dr. de Villa, whose salary was reduced from $190,000 in 2016, to $150,000 this year; and Dr. Henry, who receives $187,000 annually.
The salary reductions amount to a reduction of more than $120,000 in the amount paid to Dr. de Villa.
Dr. de Villa has been on medical leave since August 2017 when she was diagnosed with lung cancer, a disease not usually diagnosed in people younger than 50. The board’s decision to reduce her salary was made after it discovered an error on her resume that was meant to reflect her work as a physician for the government and the federal and provincial health agencies.
In late August 2017, she disclosed on Facebook that she had been diagnosed with lung cancer and began treatment.
At one point, de Villa said she was on a mission