• Carmen Marie Fabio

Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care Residence DG resigning


Julie-Anne Lambert who formerly held a senior director level position at Air Canada is stepping down from her position at the VSPCR.

A mere 11 months after assuming the role of Director General at the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care Residence on Como Gardens Street in Hudson, Julie-Anne Lambert is stepping down from the position, citing difficulties in carrying out her duties at the residence while battling unfounded criticism and innuendos from the original founding (medical) members of the residence.

“It’s been going on for six years,” said Lambert of the continued staff changes in upper management, following the departure a year ago of former DG Richard Mainville and Co-President Sylvie Crevier. “It has to stop.”

In Lambert’s resignation letter obtained by Your Local Journal, she writes, “A year ago, the Director of Patient Care, the Executive Director and the President of the Foundation resigned because of the difficulties they experienced within the Residence. All of a sudden, I found myself alone to manage the whole thing in one of our busiest times: at the beginning of our fundraising season and on the cusp of the new law regarding Medical Aid in Dying.

“Unfortunately, from the get-go the founding members of the Residence did not hesitate to share with me that they did not want me as the new Executive Director. So for the past year, I have been battling to maintain my integrity in the face of innuendos and unfounded criticism, I have been trying to protect employees who do not belong in ‘the right gang’ and I am struggling to ensure the Residence continues to receive the much needed funding from donors, sponsors and the community to safeguard its survival.”

Former Co-President Crevier said she and former DG Mainville left their respective positions with the hopes it would be best for the residence. “Unfortunately, one year later, the problem is still there,” she said. Crevier added during her and Rainville’s six-year tenure at the residence, no complaints were made against their performances from patients or family members and that they left a $400,000 surplus in the budget.

“The position was costing me my physical and psychological health,” said Crevier. “Two head nurses have also left. Put that all together – the problem is still there.”

Communications Director Jasmine Sharma confirmed the residence is currently facing challenges internally. “What I can say,” she told Your Local Journal, “is the quality of care provided to patients and the care to families is still our top priority. It always has been, still is, and always will be. That’s not going to change.”

Sharma said the residence is being proactive to address the situation and is working with a consultant who is analyzing the work climate and hierarchical structure at the residence and will make proposals to the board in the near future.

“The Palliative Care Residence is a beautiful, wonderful place to be,” confirmed Lambert, emphasizing that management struggles have absolutely no bearing on the level of patient care.

“Every member here, whether it’s a volunteer, a nurse, or a doctor, 100 per cent of us has the wellbeing of the patients and their families in our heart. We all work for the same goal.”

Lambert, who comes from a background as a Senior Director at Air Canada overseeing 16,000 employees, said regardless of the size of the operation, each team member has a role to play and each person’s role must be respected. “We all have the same common goal,” she said. “We need to play together in the same sandbox.” She started at the VSPCR as a volunteer following her retirement from Air Canada and was involved in many aspects of the residence from the kitchen to patient care along with acting as Director of Fundraising for a year. She was appointed to the DG position by the Board of Directors in October, 2015, and was told unanimously by the board as recently as July, 2016, that the members were pleased with her performance.

Her letter continues, “I am a person who has self-control and the capacity to make the hard decisions, I am a director with a strong sense of justice of what’s right or wrong, I am sympathetic and have an excellent understanding what our employees and volunteers have lived through for the past few years. I also have a collaborative style and an open door policy. Most importantly, I am a person of integrity and I have the courage to stand up to people who would like nothing better than to see me fail by disparaging me.”

Lambert’s resignation letter closes by stating, “…as seen within Palliative Care on a daily basis, life is too short to be surrounded by negative people who wish you harm.” She said she will remain in her position until December of this year allowing time for a suitable replacement to be found.

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