When the London Health Sciences Centre's 2022 Sunshine List was released - the salary of President and CEO Dr. Jackie Schleifer Taylor and other executives received heavy criticism.
At a media event outlining the hospital achieving Accreditation with Exemplary Standing from Accreditation Canada, she was asked about her $240,000 raise she received on her 2021 salary - making her a $750,000 earner in 2022 - and the impact this may have on staff who have raises limited to 1 per cent yearly by Bill 124.
"I'm really respectful of our front staff and the processes that are undertaken though their union representatives to work with government and our funders to support the recognition for all individuals within the health system," Schleifer Taylor said. "I'm definitely part of the whole provincial hospital CEO group who work every day to advocate for all the individuals within the health system and work to talk about the changes that have happened in the pandemic and bring the experience of the front line to this conversations."
Schleifer Taylor had little to say when pressed on what she would say to staffers who are upset about the disparity in wage increases.
"I have received over the past few days, I have received emails of thoughtful kindness, because I think I am recognized as a leader who cares about the people who are actually delivering the care," she said. "There isn't a leader in the system that I know of who isn't advocating for our healthcare workers. Working with government and with our funders and with the unions to reach a place of good."
"I don't think that it's that straight a line, to be honest with you. We have never taken our foot off the pedal for recruitment and most importantly retention of staff. We on-board roughly about 150 to 200 staff, nurses included, every month," she said. "As we've had staff leave, we've conducted exit interviews routinely to understand the decisions for leaving, and we've found a variety of reasons, some of which have been very personal reasons. I know that those reasons are varied and diverse. Personally to me, the discussion of any specific legislation or something tied to a provincial matter has not been raised."
However, that explanation doesn't satisfy some healthcare system critics.
"The retention aspect of this is deliberate. They're actually driving health care personnel into the waiting arms of the for-profit private care provider industry," said Peter Bergmains of the London Health Coalition one a recent episode of the Craig Needles Podcast. "Those staff are going to walk, and they're going to walk to private clinics."
The 15 biggest raises for executives at the London Health Sciences Centre were for a total value of more than $980,000 according to Sunshine List data.
LHSC media spokespeople told London News Today before the interview that Schleifer Taylor would not be commenting on the specifics of her own salary.