A Group Of 80,000 Quebec Nurses Admitted Systemic Racism Exists In The Health Care System

The organization said racism is particularly prevalent against First Nations and Inuit patients.

Quebec Nurses Say Systemic Racism Exists In Health Care

The Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec (OIIQ), the province's professional order of nurses, and the largest professional order in Quebec with over 80,000 members, formally recognized the presence of systemic racism in Quebec's health care system on July 14.

Following the death of Joyce Echaquan in a Lanaudière hospital last September, the OIIQ noted that systemic racism in Quebec's medical system is especially prevalent against Indigenous patients.

"Today, it is important to recognize the systemic racism against First Nations and Inuit within the health and social services network in order to put in place structuring actions to promote a more egalitarian and fairer relationship between these communities and nurses," said a statement by Luc Mathieu, president of the OIIQ.

The organization said that, after Echaquan's death, it made a "firm commitment" to prevent similar acts of racism by health care providers, as well as to rebuild trust with Indigenous communities to ensure they get the safe medical care they are entitled to.

In order to strengthen nurses' knowledge on Indigenous relations in health care, the OIIQ said it tasked its education committee with evaluating nurses' initial training in intercultural relations and cultural safety for First Nations and Inuit patients.

The organization also said it is taking necessary steps to implement continuing education activities for nurses on the same topics.