Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Coronavirus: Head of Canada’s largest pension plan received COVID-19 vaccine in Dubai, memo says

TORONTO – The head of Canada’s largest pension fund received a COVID-19 vaccination during a “very personal” trip to Dubai, he told staff in an email Thursday evening.
Mark Machin leaked the information in an internal memo after the Wall Street Journal reported that he flew to the United Arab Emirates earlier this month, where he received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and was waiting for the second dose.

Machin said in the email viewed by the Canadian Press that he was staying in Dubai with his partner “for many reasons, some of which are deeply personal”.

“This trip was very personal and was undertaken after careful consideration and consultation,” the memo reads.

RPC Investments did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday evening.

The federal government actively discourages Canadians from traveling abroad and recently implemented strict quarantine measures for those returning home.

Machin told staff that he followed all travel protocols related to his role as head of the pension fund during the trip.

“This trip had to be very private and I am disappointed that it has become the center of public attention and expected criticism,” he wrote.

Several politicians and health officials have in recent months become hot spots of public anger for leaving the country despite public health advisories to the contrary.

Among them, the former CEO of the London Health Sciences Center is now embroiled in litigation after his trip to the United States prompted the hospital to end his contract.

Rod Phillips, Ontario’s former finance minister, resigned his post at the end of December after making a personal trip to St. Barts.

CPP Investments, which had $ 475.7 billion in assets under management as of December 31, invests money on behalf of retired employees and assets covered by the Canada Pension Plan.

A spokeswoman for Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said that although the CPPIB is an independent organization, the revelation is “very disturbing.”

“The federal government has made it clear to Canadians that this is not the time to travel abroad,” Katherine Cuplinskas said in an emailed statement.

“We were not made aware of this trip and further questions should be directed to the Agency on this matter. ”

Machin, who has been in his current role since 2016, joined RPC Investments in 2012. Prior to joining the pension fund manager, he spent 20 years with investment bank Goldman Sachs.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on February 25, 2021.

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