Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) board member Judy Davis has been in California since mid-November and has no plans to return to Canada, according to the authority.
In an emailed statement, the SHA said Davis left Canada “prior to more recent escalations in federal travel restrictions.”
According to the health authority, Davis does not plan to immediately return to Saskatchewan and “will only do so once it is safer to travel home.”
“Davis is abiding by all relevant public health restrictions while in the United States and has indicated she will abide by all Canadian travel restrictions when it is determined to be safer to return to Saskatchewan later this year,” the SHA said in a statement.
Aside from Davis, the SHA said no other current board members have travelled out of the country since March 2020.
The health authority added that Board members had been meeting remotely prior to the pandemic, since its members are dispersed across the province.
NDP MLA Matt Love questioned if Davis can focus on Saskatchewan families when she is in California and called for her to step down from her role. Love said her travel sets a tone from the top of this government, after two Sask Party MLA’s also travelled to the United States.
“We want to believe that we’re all in this together but it continues to raise questions of, ‘Are there two sets of standards for those in Sask Party cabinet, or those high up in government positions, and then everyone else?” Love said.
Premier Scott Moe said he’s disappointed after learning about Davis’ travel through the reports in the media. But he has only asked his elected officials and government staff to not travel.
“We have to also respect the fact that this is a private citizen. We have not extended that ask beyond the political staff and the elected members as I don’t think that collective bargaining agreements would allow for that to be extended out into the public service,” Moe said.
According to political scientist Jim Farney, defining who is government and who is not, is important, but board’s are designed to work somewhat independently.
“I think there is still kind of the obligation of public accountability though. So I think in terms of the board member making up her own mind about what works and what doesn’t, there is a fair parallel there with an elected politician or a public servant who has gone south,” Farney said.
Farney said Davis doesn’t have the direct accountability to the population that a politician has, but the question becomes if any enforcement should be taken.
The SHA has not indicated whether any action will be taken.