HEU responds to Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond’s report on racism targeted at Indigenous people in B.C.’s health care system

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Mike Old, Interim Secretary-Business Manager of the Hospital Employees’ Union, issued the following statement today:

“The report released today shows widespread racism, prejudice and discrimination across the health care system directed at Indigenous peoples.

“It’s another reminder that while we all expect our health care system to be a place of compassion, comfort and care, that is often not the experience for Indigenous people and that in turn causes deep harm that impacts health and wellness.

“The report also shows that Indigenous health care workers face unacceptable levels of racism and discrimination on the job.

“There’s much work to be done by health care workers to overcome their stereotypes of Indigenous peoples and ensure zero-tolerance for racism in the workplace.

“Racism is deeply ingrained in many of our institutions including our health care system. We all have a responsibility to root out racist behaviour when we witness it.  And we must recognize our own biases and behaviours, and address them.

“While we are still reviewing the report and its recommendations, we call on government to act quickly on the findings including for increased anti-racism education for health care workers, and for changes that promote a “speak up” culture in the health care system.

“We thank Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond for her work and for including a comprehensive consultation with Indigenous and non-Indigenous health care workers as part of her investigation.