B.C. health authorities on allegations of systemic racism against Indigenous People in B.C. hospitals

DR. Victoria Lee, President and CEO, Fraser Health, Susan Brown, President and CEO, Interior Health, Cathy Ulrich, President and CEO, Northern Health, Fiona Dalton, President and CEO, Providence Health Care, Benoit Morin, President and CEO, Provincial Health Services Authority, Vivian Eliopoulos, interim President and CEO, Vancouver Coastal Health, and Kathryn MacNeil, President and CEO, Island Health, on Friday in a joint statement said:

RACISM has no place in our hospitals, our workplaces, or our society.

We were recently made aware of a report of an unacceptable, racist practice that may be occurring in emergency departments in B.C.

If true, this activity would be evidence of systemic racism and discrimination, underscoring the significant health disparities Indigenous people in our province experience.

We take reports of this nature extremely seriously. To be clear: discriminatory behaviour in any B.C. health care facility is unacceptable and violates our principles, policies and values.

We fully support the provincial investigation Minister Adrian Dix announced today and are committed to working with the Ministry of Health and Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond on this issue.

Indigenous leaders have provided us guidance and support to eradicate racism in B.C.’s health system and we know there is still much work to do. We remain actively engaged with Indigenous partners on immediate and longer-term action plans to combat anti-Indigenous racism. Together, we will make changes to ensure the health care system in B.C. is safe and equitable for all.


  1. Racism in hospitals and especially in emergency depts in Vancouver are all too common. Many people avoid certain hospitals known to be racist hotspots as CTV has recently reported. https://bc.ctvnews.ca/indigenous-people-avoid-b-c-hospitals-known-to-be-racist-hotspots-says-friendship-centre-head-1.4992932

    I myself am a person of colour and I went into Emergency at St. Paul’s Hospital one morning 1 month ago. I was kept waiting for over 5 hours in acute pain waiting to see a medic. White people who arrived after me were treated and released hours before my turn finally came up. People like me have to be practically on our deathbeds to attempt going into emergency. We are also terrified to complain in case they give us a drug or do something that will increase the pain of our malady. I’ve also seen other patients of colour suffering for hours on end without being attended to while white patients get VIP treatment. Racism in hospitals is as prevalent as it is in our police force. Attaining a higher level of education such as a doctor or specialist definitely does not influence the way a racist perceives and reacts to skin colour.

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