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HomeBusinessExclusive: Penny’s dollars exceed vaccine rollout contract

Exclusive: Penny’s dollars exceed vaccine rollout contract


Bob Mackin

Penny Ballem (left), Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix in July 2021 (BC Gov)

Penny Ballem is the NDP-appointed head of British Columbia’s coronavirus vaccination program, which is delaying booster shots until January despite the rapid spread of the omicron variant.

She also chairs the regional health board where people are waiting up to four hours in line to be tested for coronavirus, while a couple million rapid test kits gather dust on warehouse shelves. 

Documents released to under the freedom of information law show Ballem charged taxpayers almost $328,000 by the end of August, exceeding her original $250-an-hour contract as ImmunizeBC leader by more than $100,000. That included $110,250 plus GST for the first two months of the contract and $71,625 plus GST for June and July. 

Penny Ballem (left) and Premier John Horgan (BC Gov)

In April, revealed that Ballem, the chair of Vancouver Coastal Health, had inked a $220,000 maximum contract from mid-January to October 2021. 

The $327,738.75 billed by her company, Pendru Consulting 354948 BC Ltd., is almost as much as the $334,617 Ballem received in 2014, her last full year as Vancouver city manager. 

Ballem’s contract is more lucrative than what a retired general got from the Ontario government in late November 2020. Rick Hillier was paid $20,000-a-month, plus expenses, through March 31 to begin the rollout in Canada’s most-populous province.

The Ministry of Health communications office did not respond to questions Dec. 20 about Ballem’s contract or the overall cost of the mass-vaccination program to-date. 

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