A report by investigator Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond found “widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people” in a report released Monday.

A report by investigator Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond found “widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people” in a report released Monday.

Peninsula hospital one where ‘significant work underway’ to repair Indigenous relations

Investigation finds ‘widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people’ in provincial health care

The author of a report finding “widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people” identifies the Saanich Peninsula Hospital as a place where “significant change” has taken place in terms of relations between Indigenious and non-Indigenous people.

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond did not find evidence to substantiate allegations that staff in provincial hospital emergency departments played a game where staff guessed blood alcohol level of Indigenous patients and possibly others in “any organized, coordinated way.”

“But as I said, I did find episodic examples of guessing in some places,” she said, adding that some of those places have made efforts to stop the practice. She did not volunteer where these “episodic examples” happened.

When asked later whether the game happened at Saanich Peninsula Hospital, she repeated her earlier assessment that she did not find a coordinated system without directly commenting on the Peninsula hospital specifically.

“I do think though, [Saanich Peninsula Hospital] as one hospital, is a place where there has been significant work underway in the last number of months and I do check with the [local] First Nations leadership and they tell me that there has been some significant change in terms of the quality of service and the relationship-building. That is one of the unintended but important consequences of this review.”

The allegation of an organized guessing game was the starting point of Turpel-Lafond’s review that found “clear evidence of a much more widespread and insidious problem,” namely a “lack of cultural safety and hundreds of examples of prejudice and racism throughout the entire B.C. health care system.”

RELATED: B.C. launches investigation into allegations of racist blood-alcohol guessing game in ER

Health minister Adrian Dix later described described racism as “toxic to health” and used the public release of the report to issue a public apology. He announced several new personnel appointments as part of the process to implement the recommendations based on the findings of an extensive survey of the health care system. Almost 9,000 people participated in online and telephone surveys, including more than 2,700 Indigenous peoples and 5,400 health workers.

Ellen Turpel-Lafond said this finding of “widepsread systemtic racism” does not mean that every Indigenous person receiving health care experiences direct or indirect racism. “But it does mean that any Indigenous person could experience it – anywhere in the system,” she said.

The report finds that 84 per cent of Indigenous respondents reported some form of discrimination in the health care system and some 52 per cent of Indigenous health care workers reported personally experiencing racial prejudice at work, the majority being in the form of discriminatory comments by colleagues.

More than one-third of non-Indigenous health care workers personally witnessed racism or discrimination directed to Indigenous patients, according to the report, with 13 per cent of surveyed health care workers having made racist comments in the survey.

The report includes 24 recommendations. Taken together, they provide a blue print for dealing with racism in the health care system, said Turpel-Lafond, adding that all British Columbians bear responsibility in dealing with this “major problem” in British Columbia.

Turpel-Lafond said she is “confident” in her conclusion that “there isn’t an organized game” with prizes, noting she received full co-operation during her investigation.

Turpel-Lafond promised additional information with the release of another report next month.

RELATED: MLA ‘devastated’ by claims of racist blood-alcohol ‘game’ at Saanich Peninsula Hospital


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Just Posted

Rachel Rivera (left) and Claire Ouchi are a dynamic art duo known as the WKNDRS. The two painted the new road mural at Uptown. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Artistic mural at Uptown brings creativity, fun to summer shoppers in Saanich

Road installation the largest of its kind in Greater Victoria

Kathy and Doug LaFortune stand next to the new welcome pole now gracing the front entrance of KELSET Elementary School in North Saanich. LaFortune completed the piece after suffering a stroke with the help of his wife and son Bear. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
KELSET school in North Saanich unveils welcome pole on National Indigenous Peoples Day

Carver Doug LaFortune completed pole with the help of his son, wife after suffering a stroke

Victoria police continue to look for missing man Tyrone Goertzen and are once again asking for the public’s assistance in locating him. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Victoria police put out another call for help finding missing man

Tyrone Goertzen, 33, was first reported missing June 4

Colwood council is looking at potential summer weekend closures to traffic of a section of Ocean Boulevard at Esquimalt Lagoon, to allow for more of a park-like setting during summer events such as the popular Eats & Beats event, shown here in 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Mayor lobbying for summer weekend closures of beachfront Colwood roadway

Rob Martin to bring motion forward to June 28 council meeting

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

Bernadette Jordan addresses the media following a swearing in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on January 14, 2019. Jordan says the government will provide $2 million to allow First Nations to continue to strengthen the marine safety system across Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
First Nations receive federal funds to purchase marine rescue boats

Quatsino, Heiltsuk, and Kitasoo First Nation’s among eight across Canada to receive funding

Most Read