Earl Backman


Earl and Candace Backman

Earl Backman (B.Sc.’68) was born and raised on a dairy farm in Lundar, Manitoba in the Interlake Region 75 miles north of Winnipeg. The ninth of nine children, he attended high school in Lundar and Warren, Manitoba. He and his future wife Candace initially studied at United College. Both graduated with Bachelor of Science degrees from the newly chartered University of Winnipeg in 1968.

Backman recently retired as the originating CEO of the Brandon Regional Health Authority after 35 years of public service in Manitoba. He became Chief Executive Officer of the Brandon Regional Health Authority in Feb. 1997. Working with Chair Peter Eckersley, he built the new RHA totally from existing resources, achieving substantial administrative savings in the process. The team he assembled created the Brandon RHA, which was the only fully integrated Health Services Region in the province, having responsibility for delivery of a full spectrum of health care services directly to Brandon, and regionally to 180,000 people in Western Manitoba.

Backman had previously served successfully as city manager of the City of Brandon for 14 years. In this position, he was responsible for all traditional city operations and the Municipal Airport and Fire/Emergency/Ambulance Services. Three years into his tenure, he inherited the management of the Police Department when the former Police Commission was disbanded.

Earlier in his career, he spent 14 years (1969-1983) with the Government of Manitoba, including positions in the Departments of Public Health; Health and Social Development; Management Committee of Cabinet (Treasury Board); Education and The Public Schools Finance Board.

Backman has always been active in community life. While working and raising a family with his wife Candace for 25 years in the Winnipeg area, he served as the youngest board member of the Misericordia Hospital and also was elected its youngest Chair of the Board. He has maintained a close interest in the hospital’s operations over the years, participating as an originating member of the Misericordia Hospital Foundation, which has raised millions of dollars for health care in the ensuing 30-plus years.

During 20 years in Brandon, Backman was also very actively involved with a number of organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce, the Brandon Economic Development Board, Venture Corporation, Wheat Belt Community Futures, the Keystone Centre, the Downtown Business Improvement District and the Assiniboine Riverbank Development Board. He also coached youth hockey and baseball teams.

Backman served as Chair of the successful 1997 Canada Summer Games Bid Committee and Chair of the Board of Governors of the Host Society for those highly successful Games. He also assisted with the bid committees and volunteered with many host committees during Brandon’s succession of national and international events such as the Brier and World Youth Baseball Championships.

Now in retirement, Earl and Candace have resumed their sports careers. He and his partner Don Berry have won the Brandon Senior Men’s Match Play golf league in three of the last five years. After a 35-year hiatus, Backman resumed his baseball career, now playing approximately 150 games per year.

In Oct. 2007, when he was 60 years old, Backman’s softball team won bronze medals in the Huntsman World Senior Games in the 55+ division. He now manages one of five softball teams he plays for in the Phoenix area during the winter months, and also occasionally joins his wife Candace, now a mountain hike leader, on challenging and spectacular Superstition Mountain hikes near their winter home in Mesa, Arizona.