Former Capital Health CEO Sheila Weatherill walked away with a $2 million severance package -- on top of her regular retirement plan -- when she was fired from her position in July, CTV News has learned.

The former head of Capital Health received the payout as part of a supplemental executive retirement plan, or SERP, when she left her position earlier this month.

All money paid to the SERP is contributed by the health region.

Capital Health spokesman Steve Buick supported the payout Thursday, saying it is needed to draw in qualified staff.

"Of course those number are high by comparison to you and me," he said. "We're talking about CEOs of very large organizations. The market is very competitive for talent at that level."

CTV News has learned unlike regular pension plans, the SERP is paid out in a lump sum to the executives when they leave their job.

In addition to Weatherill's payment, Calgary health region CEO Jack Davis will also receive more than $4 million for his retirement.

Weatherhill and Davis were just two of the six health board officials who received their pink slips on July 8.

Officials from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation questioned the secrecy surrounding the severence.

"If we decide we're going to pay them a million dollars a year, well let's come out front and say we're paying them a million dollars a year," spokesman Scott Hennig said.

The firings were part of Health Minister Ron Liepert's plans to streamline Alberta's health system and trim the administrative costs associated with the sector.

On May 15, he announced that Alberta's nine health boards were going to be streamlined into one health superboard.