'A massive insult to front-line heroes': This Ontario county's medical officer made $400K more than Doug Ford
WINGHAM, ONT. -- The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) is calling on the province to step in, after it was revealed Grey-Bruce’s Medical Officer of Health was paid $631,510 last year.
That's more than any other Medical Officer of Health in Ontario and far more than Premier Doug Ford, who earned $208,974 last year.
“It’s hard to believe Dr. (Ian) Arra can even look people in the eye while taking this much money out of the system,” says OPSEU First Vice President, Eduardo Almeida. “If I were him, I’d immediately donate a big chunk of that salary back into all the local long-term care homes and hospitals struggling to fill vacancies.”
Dr. Ian Arra earned more in salary and overtime than Ontario’s medical officer of health, and any other medical officer of health in the province.
Chair of the Grey Bruce Board of Health, Sue Paterson, says he was worth every penny.
“It is more than worth it. In fact, what price can you put on saving lives,” she says.
Grey-Bruce has fared better than most regions of the province with less than 800 COVID-19 cases, and only three deaths from the virus.
Paterson says Arra has literally worked every single day since last March.
“Ian Arra may be working hard during the pandemic, but this is a massive insult to all the front-line heroes working just as hard to get people through this pandemic,” says OPSEU President Warren Thomas.
Thomas is urging the premier to step in and stop the exorbitant wages for public sector managers.
“Tens of thousands of front-line workers around the province are being asked to make do with wage hikes that don’t even match the inflation rate, while Arra is getting this obscene raise,” Thomas says.
“There must be some accountability and if the Grey Bruce Health Unit Board of Directors won’t do the right thing and get this disgrace under control, the province must find new board members who will,” he says.
Paterson says the province will pay the majority of Arra’s bill this year, with Grey-Bruce taxpayers picking up the rest.
“Dr. Arra is the one leading us through this pandemic. He’s guiding us, and steering us in the right direction. He’s actually doing two jobs, since we do not have an Associate Medical Officer of Health in Grey-Bruce, to share his responsibilities with. We have Dr. Arra, and we are so pleased that we do,” says Paterson.
In London, the health board defended a six-figure pandemic-related overtime pay for Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie.
It was revealed that Mackie earned about $100,000 more on top of his regular salary bringing his total salary to $414,926.
In Lambton County the Medical Officer of Health recieved no overtime pay.
- With files from CTV's Daryl Newcombe