Michael Marchbank is the new president and CEO of the Fraser Health Authority.

Michael Marchbank is the new president and CEO of the Fraser Health Authority.

Fraser Health gets new president

Longtime provincial health administrator takes top job at health authority

A longtime B.C. health administrator is taking charge of the Fraser Health Authority and its $3.1-billion budget.

Michael Marchbank will be the health region’s new president and CEO effective Jan. 2.

He replaces former president Dr. Nigel Murray, who resigned in June to return to New Zealand as the province was set to unveil reforms at Fraser. Dr. David Ostrow had been acting as interim CEO since then.

Marchbank – who will be paid $345,000 a year at Fraser, significantly less than Murray’s total remuneration of $444,000 – is currently president and CEO of the Health Employers’ Association of B.C., which coordinates labour negotiations for the health regions.

He has also served as the government’s point man on other issues, most notably over the past year when he was picked to replace school trustees overseeing the B.C. Public School Employers Association in contract bargaining with the B.C. Teachers Federation. At that time, the education minister said the appointment was to let the BCTF bargain directly with the government.

Marchbank’s previous positions include chief operating officer of the Provincial Health Services Authority and president and CEO of the Fraser Valley Health Region in the 1990s before the current health authorities were created.

He arrives as Fraser tries to implement recommendations of a government-ordered strategic review, which targeted new ways to cut unnecessary use of hospital emergency rooms in favour of improved primary and community care.

A key challenge will be keeping the health region’s spending within government-approved increases in the face of a growing and aging population.

Fraser Health’s board confirmed the appointment Tuesday.

“We believe Michael Marchbank has a very good balance between a passion to deliver good patient care and a passion to administer an organization and keep it aligned with the budget that the minister have given us,” board chair Karen Matty said.

She rejected suggestions he is Victoria’s choice, adding the board chose Marchbank over other contenders due to his extensive experience and local roots.

“He is absolutely the board’s man,” Matty said. “He’s got a good knowledge of health care in B.C. He also lives within the Fraser region and at one point worked in Fraser Health.”

Matty was appointed board chair last month, replacing Wynne Powell, who had served as interim chair since the province decided in April to remove chair David Mitchell.

Just Posted

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack woman’s 100-km birthday marathon to benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

RCMP investigating June 15, 2021 crash. (Black Press file)
Chilliwack RCMP say crash into median led to impaired driver investigation

Chrysler 300 driver allegedly collided with tree on Spadina median in June 15 incident

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

Abbotsford council has given permission for Chilliwack to use the JAMES wastewater treatment plant for the disposal of trucked liquid waste until the end of September.
Chilliwack gets exemption to Abbotsford bylaw prohibiting liquid waste from other cities

Process in place until September while new facility under construction in Chilliwack

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

Most Read