If you thought we had finally smoked out all the high-profile people that broke quarantine and went abroad over the holidays. think again, and this time, there’s a Guelph connection. Linda Hasenfratz, the CEO of Guelph-based auto parts manufacturer Linamar, announced her resignation from Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force after a media report revealed that she enjoyed a nice, warm, and sunny vacation outside of Canada.
As reported in the Globe & Mail, Hasenfratz issued her resignation from the task force after the paper started making inquiries about her holiday travel to the Barbados. Hasenfratz did not confirm the destination, but she did confirm she left the country and has moved to step down so that her trip would not bog down the important work of the task force in scandal.
“While it is true that I travelled outside the country over the holidays, I followed all pandemic protocols of both countries and remain in quarantine today as public health guidelines require,” Hasenfratz said in a statement to the Globe. “I regret my decision to travel, and I apologize to the Premier, General Hillier and members of the Task Force for any impact this may have had on their work.”
Hasenfratz’s resignation, and the reasons for it, were confirmed in a statement from the Office of Premier Doug Ford.
“Today, Premier Ford accepted the resignation of Linda Hasenfratz as a member of Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccination Distribution Task Force after it was brought to his attention that she travelled outside the country in December,” the statement said.
“Thanks to the efforts of all Ontarians, we are starting to see early signs of progress in bending the curve. Now is not the time to let up. We continue to urge everyone to stay home,” added Ford spokesperson Ivana Yelich.
Back in December, Hasenfratz was announced as part of a nine-person panel meant to “oversee the delivery, storage and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines” in Ontario. Hasenfratz and Linamar have been repeatedly highlighted as part of the province’s economic recovery. In September, the Provincial government gave Linamar $2.5 million to help convert their production line to the creation of ventilators.
The news about Hasenfratz’s resignation broke on the same day that the Government of Ontario touted that they have completed the first round of vaccinations ahead of schedule in all long-term care homes in Toronto, Peel, York and Windsor-Essex, which is not to say vaccinations are complete, just that the Province is ahead of schedule handing out jabs.
As previously reported though, delays in distribution of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will be expected as Canada will not receive any new doses of the vaccine for a week as Pfizer expands their manufacturing plant in Belgium.