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McGill University Health Centre releases report on systemic discrimination

Click to play video: 'MUHC claims it has implemented half of recommendations in report on discrimination' MUHC claims it has implemented half of recommendations in report on discrimination
WATCH: A long-anticipated report into discrimination at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) has been made public. It's the result of a study into reported cases of intolerance including systemic racism at the institution. As Global's Phil Carpenter reports, officials say it's an opportunity for the hospital to make a fresh start – Sep 23, 2022

A long-anticipated report into discrimination at the the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) has been made public.

It follows a two-year study into multiple reports of racism, harassment and bullying at the Royal Victoria Hospital, the Montreal General Hospital and other MUHC locations.

“The degree of how racism was expressed towards certain people — the physical, the emotional, the harassment — that was quite scary to hear,” said report co-author Seeta Ramdass.

Global News has heard from multiple employees and others who said, for years, they experienced and witnessed incidents of bullying, xenophobia as well as physical and verbal assault by people in positions of authority.

Read more: Report highlights systemic discrimination faced by MUHC patients and workers

“We have been receiving lot and lots of complaints from members saying they’re facing discrimination,” MUHC CSN union president Shiaman Diawara told Global News.

The authors heard from 940 respondents, including patients, but said that more people came forward after the report was complete

“In the last couple of weeks I would say that number has climbed up to like 1,500, and even voices as of yesterday,” Ramdass pointed out.

She said one of the most disturbing parts of the whole experience was the people who were accused of discrimination.

“(People) who can bully, who can make racist remarks, sexist remarks, xenophobic remarks and get away with it,” she noted.  “Those positions of power make them feel invincible and the behaviour continues.”

She and others believe this study is an opportunity for the institution to rebuild trust.

Read more: Joyce Echaquan’s death prompts Manawan Atikamekw Council to turn to United Nations (2021)

The report outlines 10 recommendations including providing more diversity, equity and inclusion training, creating a safe anonymous reporting system, improving accessibility for people with disabilities and acknowledging Indigenous Peoples and adopting Joyce’s Principle — a call to action meant to ensure delivery of health and social services to Indigenous Peoples, free of discrimination.

MUHC officials say five of the recommendations, including Joyce’s Principle, have already been put in place.

In a statement the MUHC said, “(the) report represents a crucial step, as it provides a roadmap that will guide our efforts to embed the principles and values associated with equity, diversity and inclusion at every level of our institution.”

Diawara applauds the institution for the study.

“This is something very important we need to face,” he stressed, “and try to fix it because it’s getting very, very bad in this institution.”

He and other union officials hope things will change and want to meet with the MUHC to discuss next steps.

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