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article imageOntario's eHealth CEO's Speech Cost Taxpayers $25,000

By Andrew Moran     Aug 8, 2009 in Politics
In a recent Toronto Star investigation, former eHealth CEO Sarah Kramer gave a speech to the Ontario Hospital Association and cost the taxpayers $25,000.
In a recent turn of scandals at eHealth, when the former CEO of eHealth, Sarah Kramer gave a speech to the Ontario Hospital Association last November, it cost the taxpayer $25,000.
In documents requested under the freedom-of-information act, one speech writer and five consultants charged between $200 to just under $400 per hour to revise, edit, discuss and brainstorm Kramer’s speech.
Documents even show that some consultants suggested of planting a question to the crowd.
One bill read, from Anzen consultant, “Discuss Sarah Kramer's preparation for call with (Ontario information and privacy commissioner) Ann Cavoukian and planted questions and answers for OHA speech with Rebecca Cooper.”
New Democrat MPP France Gelinas was shocked and suggested that these consultants helped themselves to the taxpayer’s money, “A $25,000 speech? I've never heard of that kind of money for a speech in the health-care system. Some people don't make that in a year.”
Kramer’s speech was titled ‘Harnessing Technology and Innovation for Better Patient Care and Safety’ and discussed the future of “Ontario’s eHealth journey.”
The former CEO told the crowd, “A philosophy I've always had ... if you work with great teams, and if you believe in your cause, you can accomplish anything.”
Dave Wattling, a managing partner at Courtyard Group, commented to the Star’s e-mail request, “Our client, eHealth Ontario, asked us to review and provide comments and revisions to the keynote OHA speech. We spent a total of 6 to 8 hours reviewing and editing which we believe is certainly within the industry standard.”
Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak said, “This example seems stranger than fiction. It certainly looks like Liberally-connected Courtyard Group had its finger in almost every pie.” The PC leader believes this is another example of wasteful spending at eHealth.
Compiled by the Toronto Star’s Andrew Bailey, the billing was released as followed:
Hugh MacPhie
Speechwriter, self-employed
He billed:
$7,000 flat rate
Miyo Yamashita
Anzen Consulting Inc.
Hourly rate: $300
She billed: $7,725
Karli Farrow
Courtyard Group
Hourly rate: $328
She billed: $2,132
Naomi Zittell
Anzen Consulting Inc.
Hourly rate: $200
She billed: $4,325
Michael Guerriere
Medical doctor, Courtyard Group
Hourly rate: $393
He billed: $1,768.50
Rebecca Cooper
Courtyard Group
Hourly rate: $214
She billed: $1,725.38
Total: $24,675.88
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