Skip Breadcrumb and go to Article Content

HSN Annual Meeting Celebrated Progress on Social Accountability

Surplus before Bill 124 liabilities, record fundraising revenues, more surgeries in 2022-2023

HSN Annual Meeting Celebrated Progress on Social Accountability

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Health Sciences North held its annual meeting virtually today and reported to the community on progress being made in a number of areas including social accountability, capital redevelopment, fundraising and addressing surgical waitlists that grew during the COVID-19 pandemic.


“On behalf of the Board, I want to thank HSN’s employees, medical staff, leadership,

Patient and Family Advisors, volunteers, learners, our Foundations and Volunteer Association, donors, post-secondary education partners, funders, community partners, and HSNRI colleagues for their outstanding work and support,” said Daniel Giroux in his last AGM as Board Chair. “Because of their efforts, the future is bright for healthcare in Northeastern Ontario.”


The Annual Meeting also addressed the issue of staffing, a challenge every hospital is facing. Since July 2022, HSN has dealt with an average daily shortage of 30 RNs, 9 RPNs and 6 PSWs on day and night shifts combined. While it remains a very challenging situation, trends have been improving in the last few months. HSN has recruited 845 employees during the last fiscal year, while 507 left the organization -- 1.7 new employee for every employee who left.


“This past year has been a journey of rebuilding and recovery of our services at HSN as we moved through what we hope is the worst of the pandemic era,” said Dr. John Fenton, HSN’s outgoing Chief of Staff. “Through a comprehensive review of our medical human resources, identification of high-risk areas allowed us to strategize solutions like developing a succession planning framework to assist us in identifying future recruitment needs.” 


In the past fiscal year, HSN has significantly increased its surgical activity with 15,113 surgeries performed, an increase compared to the two prior years. The hospital’s surgical waitlist stands this month at 4,711 patients, an improvement from the peak of January when HSN had 5,263 patients on the surgical waitlist. According to Ontario Health, for the week of May 1st, HSN was performing at 116% of pre-pandemic volumes compared to 88% provincially and 69% in other Northern hospitals. Wait times for Adult CT and MRI at HSN as of March were comparable with provincial averages, while wait times in the Emergency Department in 2022-2023 were at or below provincial averages.


The Annual Meeting featured a panel discussion looking at recent progress made on Social Accountability, one of the key goals in HSN’s 2019-2024 Strategic Plan. Panelists included: Dr. Jo-Anne Clarke, Geriatrician, Medical Director for the North East Specialized Geriatric Centre; Deanna Jones-Keeshig, an experienced healthcare leader and who joined HSN in 2022 as the new Director for Indigenous Health; and Dr. Tara Leary, Regional Addictions Physician Lead with HSN’s Mental Health and Addictions Program.


"Social accountability is the obligation to be accountable to the diverse communities that HSN serves across Northeastern Ontario,” said Dr. Alex Anawati, moderator of the panel and HSN’s Clinical Lead for Social Accountability. “It requires an intentional focus on people and communities who are marginalized, underserved and who experience inequity. Equity, unlike the notion of equality, is not about giving everyone the same treatment. Equity requires treatment and care directed at their unmet needs and steps taken to level the playing field so that all individuals and communities may thrive."


On the financial side, Board Treasurer Stéphan Plante reported that external auditor KPMG expressed an unqualified or “clean” audit opinion, representing the highest level of assurance under Canadian Auditing Standards. Unfunded pandemic expenses, overtime, sick time, non-salary inflationary pressures, cost increases for security and digital initiatives have all been absorbed by HSN. Even with that, Plante says HSN completes the 2022-2023 fiscal year with a surplus of $2.698 million, excluding unfunded retroactive wage increases awarded by arbitrators after the end of the fiscal year now that Bill 124 was struck down by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. 


Earlier this year, 74% of Ontario hospitals reported to the Ontario Hospital Association that they would end the fiscal year with a deficit, even without Bill 124 accruals. Meanwhile, HSN would have been in a surplus position if it was not for Bill 124 accruals.


“The retroactive cost of the Court decision on Bill 124 is estimated to be $16.783 million for HSN,” said Plante. “On June 6th, the Ontario Deputy Minister of Health wrote to all hospital Board Chairs confirming the Ministry’s commitment to providing financial support for hospitals affected by recent reopener arbitration awards, and that the Ministry will communicate in the coming weeks further administrative details regarding this support.”


When it comes to community support, in the past fiscal year HSN’s three Foundations and the Volunteer Association generated a record $12.3 million in gross revenues, a second consecutive record year. The very popular HSN 50/50 Cash Lottery for the North generated more than $38.5 million in sales since its inception in June 2020, with more than half returning directly to ticket holders. Thanks to their efforts, HSN was able to acquire a second MRI, upgrade its previous MRI and complete associated renovations with no debt. Another $2.8 million in critical equipment was purchased.


In his last AGM as President and CEO, Dominic Giroux commended HSN staff for their endurance, compassion, and professionalism throughout the pandemic.


“It has been an incredibly challenging and rewarding six years working with this amazing team,” said Giroux who is taking on the role of CEO of Hôpital Montfort in Ottawa. “I am confident in the work we have done in advocating to expand HSN for more inpatient beds, more space for mental health and addictions and for NEO Kids. We already secured $30 million for the local share of this much needed capital redevelopment, including a historic $10 million gift from the Fielding and Perdue family. The Province supported every single short-term capacity measure put forwarded by HSN since 2018, including renovations for the new 52-bed unit to open this fall in the former space of the Children’s Treatment Centre.” The Ministry committed in its most recent budget $48 billion over the next 10 years in hospital infrastructure.


Searches for a new President and CEO and a new Chief of Staff are in progress. Meanwhile, the Board appointed Senior Vice-President Mark Hartman as Interim CEO of HSN until the day before the beginning of the term of a new CEO.


At the Annual Meeting, the Board elected Stéphan Plante as new Chair. Plante serves as Vice President Ontario, Member Experience and Market Lead - Retail Banking with Desjardins Ontario Credit Unit. Tom Laughren was elected as Vice Chair. He is a former Mayor and Fire Chief of the City of Timmins. Kati McCartney, President at environmental stewardship company FROSKR, was elected as Treasurer. These new Board officers have a combined nine years of experience on the HSN Board. They respectively replace Daniel Giroux, Dr. Catherine Cervin and Stéphan Plante.


The Board paid tribute to departing Board members Lynne Dupuis, Roger Gauthier and Rosella Kinoshameg for their combined 21 years on the Board. Their successors are Dr. William McCready (Vice-Dean, Clinical Relations at NOSM University), Michel Paulin (who retired as Superintendent of Business with the Conseil scolaire catholique Franco-Nord in North Bay) and Shayne Wisniewski (who recently retired as General Manager, Mining Projects with Glencore Sudbury INO).


To review the entire HSN 2022-2023 Annual Report, please visit: Report to Our Communities - 2022-2023 Annual Report (