Great Canadian Gaming CEO Rodney Baker has resigned from his position amid accusations he and his wife travelled from Vancouver to the Yukon to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Officials in the Yukon have confirmed to Black Press Media that Baker, 55, and Ekaterina Baker, 32, were ticketed and charged in Whitehorse on Jan. 21. The couple apparently travelled from Vancouver to Whitehorse, before chartering a private plane to Beaver Creek.
There, the pair allegedly visited a vaccine clinic, set up to deliver doses of the Moderna vaccine to the isolated community of around 100 people, including members of the White River First Nation.
They then allegedly lied to officials at the clinic, according to Yukon Community Services Minister John Streicker, whose portfolio includes overseeing the province’s Civil Emergency Measures Act.
At the clinic the pair allegedly claimed to be workers at a local motel, he said.
Individuals living and working in the territory do not need Yukon ID to be vaccinated — the government had previously announced that health cards from other jurisdictions would be accepted if the individuals were residents of the territory. Anyone entering the Yukon from outside of the province is required to self-isolate for 14 days.
The couple apparently raised suspicion at the clinic, because a tip was reported to the province’s COVID enforcement team after they received the shot.
Officials found the couple at the airport preparing to leave Whitehorse, and laid charges.
Both the Yukon government and the leadership of the White River First Nation have expressed anger over the scheme.
“We are deeply concerned by the actions of individuals who put our elders and vulnerable people at risk to jump the line for selfish purposes,”Chief Angela Demit said in a statement.
Streicker said they put the community at risk by breaking quarantine, disregarding the declaration they signed on their arrival, and travelling to the remote community. He also questioned the logic of their deception — wondering how they thought they would receive the second dose.
He said the government has reported the incident to the RCMP.
The couple each received two fines, one for failing to self-isolate, and a second for failing to follow their signed declaration, adding up to $1,150 each.
Rodney Baker was the CEO of the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, a major owner of casinos and race tracks across Canada. He resigned on Monday (Jan. 25). His total annual compensation in 2019, according to the company’s public financial documents, was $10.6 million.
In a statement emailed to Black Press Media, company spokesperson Chuck Keeling said they would not be commenting on personnel matters, but that “Great Canadian takes health and safety protocols extremely seriously, and our company strictly follows all directives and guidance issued by public health authorities in each jurisdiction where we operate.”
Ekaterina Baker is an actor who recently had roles in the 2020 Christmas film Fatman and the 2020 comedy Chick Fight.
In a March 23, 2020 post to her Instagram account Ekaterina said, “I stay home to be part of the solution. Everyone, stay home. It’s the right thing to do,” adding that her father has diabetes and is vulnerable to the virus.
Contact Haley Ritchie at firstname.lastname@example.org
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