Who is Tina Namiesniowski? Tina Namiesniowski is the president of Canada’s Public Health Agency who has resigned, leaving without a leader the agency charged with leading the country’s response to coronavirus, amid rising cases of the virus in some of Canada’s most populous provinces.
The president of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) resigned just 18 months after starting work, leaving the federal agency charged with coordinating the country’s COVID-19 response without an experienced leader.
Tina Namiesniowski said she would immediately stepped aside to make room for a new president.
A spokesman for Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the government plans to have a replacement for Namiesniowski “in the coming days.”
In a letter to staff, Namiesniowski, a longtime bureaucrat, said he needs to “take a break” and “step aside so that someone else can come forward” to lead the agency as workloads increase and test times creep in some parts of the country.
“You really need someone who has the energy and stamina to take the agency and our response to the next level,” he said in an internal correspondence announcing his departure, which was later released by PHAC.
“While responding to this crisis, we have since done many things to add capacity, improve processes, take on new roles and really develop the skills that had diminished in recent years. many people … I put myself in that category. “
In a statement, Hajdu said Namiesniowski showed an “unwavering commitment” and made “an incredible service” to Canada during his tenure as head of PHAC.
“He led a committed team of public servants who worked at full speed for months. I have seen firsthand the countless hours Tina has spent away from her family to protect Canadians,” she said.
“We are all grateful. Thank you for working so hard to keep all of us safe, and all the best for your next steps.”
Prior to his appointment to the top job at PHAC in May 2019, Namiesniowski held a number of high-level positions within the government. She served as executive vice president of the Canada Border Services Agency and was assistant minister at Agriculture Canada and Public Safety Canada.
The agency’s chief public health officer, Dr Theresa Tam, has been the public face of PHAC’s efforts during this pandemic. Namiesniowski called his work “outstanding.”
“It’s a rock and really inspiring. I felt privileged to work alongside him,” she said.
PHAC has been criticized in recent months as Canada’s response to the COVID-19 crisis has been questioned by some critics. The pandemic has killed about 9,200 people in this country.
They cited the federal government’s initial reluctance to close the border with the spread of the virus in Asia, its national emergency stockpile of personal protective equipment (IPR) depleted during the first months of this pandemic, confusing guidelines on the use of masks and other perceived defects. opposition parties in Parliament and others as examples of Canada’s irregular response to COVID-19.
“We all worked tirelessly in a high-pressure environment that was under intense scrutiny and without a doubt, we took up the challenge,” Namiesniowski said.
Under Namiesniowski’s supervision, scientists working for the Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN) have complained that their first warnings about the threat of COVID-19 have been ignored or inappropriately addressed by PHAC senior staff.
The network, a monitoring and analysis unit run by the federal government, alerts senior officials of health risks around the world by compiling media reports and other information about epidemics.
CBC News reported in April of concerns about the low spread of network alerts as during past health crises.
The Globe and Mail also reported on internal concerns about the effectiveness of the reporting system after changes made in 2018 and 2019 shifted the network’s focus from monitoring global health trends to a more domestic role.
Health Minister Patty Hajdu has ordered a review of the network amid complaints.