Former CEO of Halifax children's hospital sentenced to five months in jail for fraud

·2 min read

HALIFAX — A former Halifax hospital CEO convicted of fraud for using a corporate credit card to pay for about $47,000 in personal expenses was sentenced Wednesday to five months in jail.

Tracy Kitch, who was head of the IWK Health Centre, was found guilty of fraud over $5,000 in February after it was revealed that between August 2014 and June 2017, she used corporate funds on personal taxis, hotel stays, flights and Netflix and iTunes costs.

Kitch was taken into custody Wednesday following the sentencing. She is appealing her conviction and has a hearing in the Court of Appeal Thursday seeking to be released on bail pending the appeal.

During sentencing Wednesday, Judge Paul Scovil said Kitch was a highly paid civil servant who chose to ignore corporate expense provisions in order to benefit financially.

Crown lawyer Peter Dostall told the court that because of the unprecedented nature of Kitch’s crime, the sentence should send the message that “public trust of institutions cannot be violated.”

“Public purse is not a bottomless trough from which those lucky few insiders can personally enrich themselves, comforted from the fact that there’s limited systemic consequences,” Dostall said.

Defence lawyer Brian Greenspan argued in his submissions that a conditional sentence with house arrest would have been fitting for Kitch.

“There can be a combination of deterrents and restorative justice based upon strict terms that is almost akin to incarceral terms but that can be served in the community,” Greenspan said.

Kitch's five-month sentence will be followed by a one-year probation period.

The former CEO resigned from her position at the children's hospital in August 2017 following an independent audit ordered by hospital officials after a CBC investigation revealed discrepancies in Kitch’s expenses. She eventually paid back more than $45,000.

In finding Kitch guilty in February, Scovil said she failed to adhere to the high ethical standard her position demanded as head of the hospital.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 10, 2022.


This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Lyndsay Armstrong, The Canadian Press