Dr. Eileen de Villa is taking a leave of absence, effective immediately, to treat a medical condition. In a letter to staff, released Sunday, she said she plans to return to her job in September.
Dr. de Villa, Canada’s chief medical officer, has been the target of repeated criticism over the spread of the Zika virus in Toronto, where she runs the health department. She also oversees an investigation into the practice of so-called zombie clinics, where dead patients were turned away from desperately needed urgent care. A number of Toronto doctors are facing discipline or criminal charges.
Dr. de Villa’s departure from her position – effective immediately – comes days after Toronto’s local MSM advocacy group, RealMenRealWorld, released a report detailing numerous allegations of bullying, harassment and retaliation in the office of the public health chief. She has denied the claims, as have her fellow staff members.
A senior administration official, who was not authorized to speak publicly and asked to remain anonymous, released the following statement:
“This is a private health matter. We are focused on the matters we have reported publicly and our patients and Ontarians deserve us to be thoughtful and respectful in how we address their important concerns and questions. We are always open to dialogue and believe we will be able to discuss these matters in an amicable manner.”