Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s public health chief, taking leave of absence for medical treatment, said she was informed Tuesday by the province’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Amy Smith, that she would take over her duties after missing a deadline to file for retirement.
Dr. Smith told Mr. McConville that “it is unfortunate” that she missed the deadline in order to fulfill her own personal commitment to being at the top of the pile when Ms. de Villa, who was the first female and the youngest chief commissioner in Toronto’s history, leaves the post.
“When I got the news I was really depressed,” Ms. de Villa said in an interview Wednesday, hours after she learned that she has been replaced. “My only thought was, ‘Maybe I can do it, just make it to next month. Maybe it will be my last day in this role.’
“I am hoping that I can get this process done in the next few days and then find out what the process actually is and make the decision myself.”
The board of health took the unusual step of appointing an interim chief commissioner in late August when Dr. Smith told Mr. McConville that she was forced to resign. She said it was the board’s decision.
Ms. de Villa, a former chief of the medical officer of health who was appointed in the same way as Ms. Smith, said she has heard from all stakeholders, including the public health department.
She also said she was told that she would take the week to prepare her resignation to the mayor.
Dr. de Villa, 51, holds her doctorate of public health from the University of Ottawa and is a fellow of the Public Health Agency of Canada.
She has also been named to two boards in Toronto, including the boards of the Toronto Public Health Service Alliance Board and Toronto Community Health, of which Ms. de Villa was president.
Ms. de Villa said she has no plans to retire, but said she was still not entirely sure what to do next.
“I have a lot of things on my plate that I need to take care of right now,” she said. “I am really excited about this opportunity to see what I can do on my own. I hope to