News Update

Dr. Verna Yiu’s Salary

Dr. Verna Yiu Salary: A year after getting a two-year contract extension, Dr. Verna Yiu, the president and CEO of Alberta Health Services, is stepping down. As the health care system transitions to pandemic recovery and rejuvenation, the Alberta Health Services board confirmed Dr. Verna Yiu’s departure and launched a search for a new president and CEO, according to a news release issued by AHS on Monday.

Dr. Verna Yiu’s Salary

AHS board chair Gregory Turnbull said in a statement, “We are grateful for Dr. Yiu’s diligent leadership and commitment to AHS and Albertans during the hardest days of the pandemic.” “We’ve been preparing for a smooth transition,” says the team. The news release quotes Yiu adding that she has had the “amazing privilege” of leading AHS for over six years. For their “steadfast care” and “capacity to put patients and families first” during the previous two pandemic years, “I would want to congratulate all of the employees, physicians, and volunteers,” she stated. AHS has confirmed that Yiu would receive severance pay equal to one year’s salary ($574,000).

Her contract stated that if she is fired “without reasonable cause,” she is entitled to severance pay. Yiu was congratulated for her leadership by Health Minister Jason Copping in a separate statement. As a result of the new leadership at Alberta Health Services, “we can go on with an ambitious agenda to reform and modernize the health system,” Copping said. ‘The AHS board of directors has been preparing for some time to begin the recruiting process for a new CEO at the end of Dr. Yiu’s extended term. Dr. Yiu and the board have reached an agreement, which will assist the transition go more quickly.

Rural UCP MLAs had criticized Yiu.

During the pandemic, Yiu’s public profile grew. When Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, spoke to the media about COVID-19 and its impact on the healthcare system, she was often in the same room. When the pandemic’s fourth wave hit last October, Yiu was candid about the shortage of intensive-care beds that resulted. All AHS employees were required to be vaccinated against COVID. Rural members of the UCP caucus had taken issue with her leadership at AHS. Parkland County Councillor for the constituency of Lac Ste Anne To deal with the fourth wave, Shane Getson accused Yiu of not doing a better job of increasing hospital ICU capacity.

Dr. Verna Yiu's Salary
Dr. Verna Yiu’s Salary

Dan Williams, a Peace River MLA, claimed in the assembly that the vaccine mandate was a “crazed idea” and that “AHS leadership” held “a knife to the throat” of rural people in his area, which he represents. Later, AHS was ordered by Copping to extend the vaccination deadline for employees. He abolished the policy completely last month. In order to aid Premier Jason Kenney in his upcoming leadership assessment, NDP health critic David Shepherd believes the UCP government instructed the AHS board to remove Yiu. UCP leader Jason Kenney’s “extremists” inside the party have been “appeased” by the expulsion of Dr. Yiu, Shepherd added.

Extension of the contract

As of June 2, 2021, the AHS board announced in May 2021 that Yiu’s contract had been renewed for another two years. David Weyant, who was the board chair at the time, expressed his delight that Yiu would remain in the position. There is no doubt that she has done a fantastic job of stabilizing AHS during a time of crisis and offering assistance to all people in the health care industry, Weyant said on May 4, 2021, in a news release. As a global pandemic ravages the world, she is steadfastly guiding this organization.” Alberta Health Services and the people of Alberta are fortunate that Dr. Yiu has made this commitment to them and to the province.

On June 1, 2016, Yiu was appointed as the company’s new CEO after serving as temporary president and CEO since January of that year. AHS’s vice president of quality and chief medical officer before this position was held by her. Additionally, she is an expert in the field of pediatric nephrology and a faculty member in the department of pediatrics at the University of Alberta. Cancer Care Alberta and Clinical Support Services Vice President Mauro Chies will serve as temporary CEO while the board seeks a new president and CEO, AHS announced.


David Shepherd, the NDP’s health spokesman, slammed the UCP on Monday for putting Alberta’s health care system “into even deeper chaos.” By firing Dr. Verna Yiu, the province and public health services, in general, are in jeopardy, according to Shepherd. The COVID-19 pandemic, which lasted for several years and was particularly tough for Alberta’s health care system, was managed admirably by Yiu, who was a “consummate professional.” When it comes to COVID briefings, “Albertans have witnessed the candour she provided a willingness to tell the truth that we certainly did not get from our ministers of health Tyler Shandro or Jason Copping.”

Dr. Verna Yiu's Salary
Dr. Verna Yiu’s Salary

Copping noted that the Alberta government has pledged better access to surgery and the whole health care system for Albertans. A number of low-risk surgical procedures will be moved to publicly funded but privately operated hospitals as part of a province-wide initiative. However, “the epidemic has shifted the deadlines, but it hasn’t shifted the aims,” said Copping. That’s why we need new leadership at AHS to continue through with these long-term promises. Beyond what was said in the news release on Monday, Yiu has not offered any other comment on what transpired. “Proud to live in Canada where universal healthcare is a basic human right,” said her new Twitter bio.

According to Sheppard, he can’t help but wonder whether Yiu was fired because she had a “habit of giving Albertans the straight goods.” In the UCP’s extreme factions, MLAs who oppose even the most basic health measures, and who believe the medical system should have unlimited capacity to deal with the runaway expansion of COVID throughout the province have targeted her.” Said Sheppard: “It is evident that Yiu put Albertans first during an unparalleled health crisis. “That appears to be a disciplinary offense under the UCP.”


Health Minister Jason Copping thanked Yiu for her “leadership over the previous six years” in a statement he emailed to CTV News on Monday. Health services in Alberta will benefit from new leadership, he said, as the province moves on with an ambitious plan to modernize and strengthen the health system. “For some time,” adds Copping, the AHS board has been preparing to begin the search for a new CEO when Yiu’s term ends. Today’s board announced that it has reached an agreement with Dr. Yiu that will speed up the process of transitioning the system, he said.

Dr. Verna Yiu's Salary
Dr. Verna Yiu’s Salary

A stronger publicly-funded health system with improved access generally was promised to Albertans. Although the pandemic has impacted the timeline, its goals have not. Since these are commitments that will last for several years, we must go forward with revitalized leadership at AHS.”


Public health advocates claim that this was not a board decision but rather a political one. Friends of Medicare’s executive director, Chris Gallaway, believes the premier’s fingerprints are all over this. Because they’ve made their privatization objective so obvious in the budget, we believe that this is a political move on their part.” As of June 2023, Yiu’s contract was slated to end. As confirmed by AHS, Yiu will get $573,841 in annual pay as part of a one-year severance package. This only applies if she is terminated “without reasonable cause,” as stipulated in her contract.

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