Survey launched on “white woman only” job offers at St-Eustache Hospital

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Survey launched on “white woman only” job offers at St-Eustache Hospital


But Benoit Charette, the new Quebec minister responsible for combating racism, insisted it was too early to say that the messages were a racist act.

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QUEBEC – The regional health board of the Laurentians has opened an investigation into an incident in which one of its departments posted job offers for nurses at St-Eustache hospital which stipulated that the candidates had the “White skin”.

Describing the situation as “totally unacceptable”, the Laurentian Integrated Health and Social Services Center declared that such a directive goes against its philosophy of openness and respect.

“An internal investigation was opened, on the spot, to ensure that all necessary measures are taken quickly so that such a situation does not happen again,” the authority said in a statement released Wednesday.

The story erupted following an article in La Presse on Wednesday, which claimed that the posts were made because a resident, described as difficult and suffering from dementia, refused to be helped by a person of color.

According to the report, 10 emails sent to employment agencies in November repeatedly stated that the candidate sought to work with a patient in the “green” (non-COVID-19) area of ​​the hospital must be a “white female only” , be a “white (ordered)”, “must be white female” and “must be white skinned”.

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In the statement, the authority said the situation was an exception due to this particular patient.

His initial finding was that the choice to ask for white employees “was to protect the safety of staff of color who are not to be put at risk and not to respond to the racist preferences of the patient, which is something. very different. ”

“On the other hand, the means are absolutely not the right ones to deal with such a problem and we will ensure that other options are considered in the future.”

The issue came to life in the National Assembly with politicians from all sides saying it was not acceptable.

But Benoit Charette, the new Quebec minister responsible for combating racism, insisted it was too early to say that the messages were a racist act.

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“Be careful before you condemn this,” Charette told the Legislature during Question Period. “If we are to condemn this, we will condemn this.

“An investigation is underway to find out exactly what happened. What we now suspect is that this is clearly a lack of training in human resources. They wanted to take care of a very sick man, with significant cognitive problems which can be violent.

“But at the same time, they clearly violated the civil rights of employees who could not apply for this job offer. It is a disturbing situation, with completely inappropriate acts, but before concluding that it was a racist act, we must wait for the results of the investigation. If that’s true, trust me, my actions will be swift. ”

Charette was responding to questions from Jennifer Maccarone, the liberal critic for diversity and inclusion, who said that she believes the incident is just the “tip of the iceberg” regarding the actions of racism in the health network.

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“We need more than an investigation – we need action,” Maccarone said in front of Charette. “We would never see an ad for a black person or a native person. It is overtly racist.

“There is a problem of systemic racism. Not to name it is to deny its existence and not to solve the problem. I am stunned.

“A job offer that states ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation or anything of that nature is not correct,” said Geneviève Guilbault, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Security , during a press conference.

She said she can sympathize with the healthcare staff who are in a difficult situation and are trying to adjust to the patient’s reality.

“But can we allow the search for one employee profile to the detriment of another? The answer is no. ”

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Guilbault said Quebec has already announced plans to improve training in the health care system to deal with many other recent incidents of discrimination.

“Discrimination in hiring is illegal, immoral and unacceptable in a democratic society,” added Québec solidaire co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.

“I can’t believe we’re reading such a thing in the news today,” added Jonquière MP Sylvain Gaudreault of the Parti Québécois. “We cannot accept this. It is unacceptable. ”

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