Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s public health chief, taking leave of absence for medical treatment at an undisclosed location.
A day after the top brass of Canada’s public health agency were forced to deal with an unexpected shakeup, Toronto Public Health’s chief Dr. Eileen de Villa resigned — she’s stepping down from her position and moving out of the city to an undisclosed location in the province of Ontario.
De Villa, who had been running Toronto Public Health for more than three years, is taking a leave of absence from her position to seek medical treatment on an unspecified date.
A spokesperson couldn’t immediately comment on why de Villa had to resign, saying only “it has been a challenging few weeks for all of us and we will remain as transparent as possible into the circumstances surrounding her departure while we work through her medical situation.”
The Star has attempted to reach de Villa for comment multiple times over a number of days. Her office was not immediately available for comment Thursday.
De Villa, a physician who previously worked in family practice, will assume a consulting role for a family member who recently announced that he was suffering from prostate cancer.
The news comes as the embattled agency was forced on Monday to make an unprecedented admission: that it could not “credibly” present evidence to a public inquiry into whether it is complying with the public records act.
“The Star’s findings are an unequivocal demonstration that the public sector is not able to consistently meet its legal obligations under the PRA,” Toronto-based lawyer Robert W. Corrado, who represents Toronto Public Health, said in a prepared statement.
The agency is also fighting a court order to release documents it had claimed would reveal Toronto Public Health staff misconduct and waste.
It is expected the Star will pursue its story over the coming days.
It’s the second unusual turn in a matter that has already seen some head-swivelling. In early December, the Star reported that Toronto Public Health hired an outside law firm