Anti-Indigenous racism in hospital ERs: HEU statement

Jennifer Whiteside, Secretary-Business Manager of the Hospital Employees’ Union issued the following statement today:

“Our health care system must be a place of compassion, comfort and care for all who need it.

“Today, the Health Minister announced an investigation into allegations of racist behaviour targeted at Indigenous patients in hospital ERs. It is another reminder that for Indigenous Peoples, our health care system often fails to provide safe and culturally appropriate care.

“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 address them.

“This shameful and sickening behaviour that is alleged to have taken place in hospital ERs must be addressed quickly, and we support the Health Minister’s decision to immediately launch an investigation.

“Health authorities and all who are charged with delivering care must double down on efforts to confront and combat the poison of anti-Indigenous racism.

“Five years ago, all health authority CEOs signed a commitment to advance cultural humility and cultural safety for Indigenous Peoples. But today, our health care system continues to fall short of these expectations, and all of us who work within it must hold ourselves accountable.”