December 3, 2023

Terms of settlement are not public; Alex Lambert launched $1.7M lawsuit after he was fired for making a $50 donation in support of ‘Freedom Convoy’ protesters in Ottawa

The former president and CEO of the Group Health Centre — who was fired earlier this year after donating $50 to the “Freedom Convoy” trucker protest in Ottawa — has reached an out-of-court settlement with his former employer.

Terms of the settlement were not made public, so it’s not known if Alex Lambert received any money in exchange for discontinuing his lawsuit against Group Health.

“I am bound by the terms of settlement not to discuss the settlement,” said Randy Ai, Lambert’s Toronto-based lawyer. “My client is bound by similar terms.”

As SooToday first reported, Lambert launched a $1.7-million lawsuit in April, accusing Group Health of “humiliating” him in public and inflicting “a death sentence” on his career when they announced his departure in a February press release.

Lambert’s name was one of thousands that appeared on a hacked list of donors who contributed money online, via GiveSendGo, to last winter’s trucker blockade in downtown Ottawa. Lambert confirmed to reporters that he made the $50 donation listed in the hacked material.

“They are peacefully protesting and I think they are great, frankly,” he said at the time. “I agree with the message. I think it’s time to end the vaccine mandates and I am glad they are getting traction on that message.”

He also described the Ottawa protesters as “inspiring” and “pretty cool.”

Lambert was fired on Feb. 17 after eight years as the top executive at Group Health, one of Sault Ste. Marie’s largest healthcare providers. His annual salary was $286,000.

In his statement of claim, Lambert said he was “shocked” and “blindsided” by the decision to terminate his employment over “such a trivial matter.”

Lambert “always acted in the best interest of the Defendant throughout the pandemic, including adopting all COVID-related protocols required by Public Health and/or the Ontario government, and in some cases going beyond the mandated requirements, including with respect to COVID-19 vaccination requirements at the Group Health Centre,” his claim said. “Accordingly, the Plaintiff asserts that it was entirely inappropriate for the Defendant to terminate his employment due to either a small donation or due to his personal opinions on vaccine mandates.” 

The Group Health Centre denied any wrongdoing in its statement of defence, arguing the organization treated Lambert “with dignity, respect, and in good faith.” His employment agreement made clear he could be fired at any moment without cause, as long as he was given 12 months notice or salary in lieu of notice.

In the end, the board of directors at Group Health decided it had no choice but to sever ties with Lambert. “[Group Health] felt that it could not continue to employ the Plaintiff in his role as CEO given his poor judgment in making a donation to the ‘Freedom Convoy’ and more seriously choosing to speak to the media twice about his donation and his view on vaccination mandates,” reads the statement of defence.

Court records show the lawsuit was discontinued last month with the consent of all parties.

A lawyer for Group Health has yet to respond to a request for comment.


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