July 3, 2020
EDMONTON – A disturbing and unconscionable racist act at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Grande Prairie in 2016 was investigated and acted upon by Alberta Health Services.
We are deeply sorry for the pain that this incident has caused.
Racism, discrimination, and unconscious bias have no place within AHS, and this racist act in no way reflects the beliefs of the organization and the values we hold dear.
The organization acted to ensure the individual involved accepted responsibility, and that the victims were supported. Formal apologies were sent to the affected physicians and additional education and professional development took place in 2016.
AHS is now awaiting completion of an investigation by the College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPSA) into the behaviour of the physician. We will take all necessary actions upon completion of this review.
AHS has and will continue to take a strong stance against any act of racism, discrimination or intolerance. We are an ally and we stand alongside our staff, physicians, volunteers, patients and families to ensure our sites are safe, healthy, and welcoming to all.
The Minister of Health has requested a third-party review into the workplace culture at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital, and directed AHS to review our medical staff bylaws. We will work in complete cooperation with the third-party reviewer, and we will also expedite our bylaw review.
In June 2016, a piece of rope tied into a noose was found taped to the door of an operating room at Queen Elizabeth II Hospital (QEII) in Grande Prairie.
AHS took this despicable act seriously, and launched an internal investigation into what happened and who was responsible. In addition, AHS cooperated fully with the independent CPSA investigation.
We are sincerely sorry to those physicians and staff members who were directly impacted by this incident. We continue to work with physicians and staff in the clinical department of the facility involved to further improve a culture of fairness and respect.
We have been made aware of unacceptable acts and language in the past and, as an organization, we have apologized to the people and groups affected, taken steps to make amends and vowed to do better.
Every complaint or concern is carefully reviewed, and we take every opportunity to remind our physicians and staff of the importance of equality and cultural awareness, as well as our AHS values – compassion, accountability, respect, excellence and safety.
As an organization, AHS will continue to educate and inform our physicians and staff about the importance of diversity and inclusion.
AHS has taken significant steps to address discrimination and intolerance in recent years, and this work is ongoing. This includes the creation of a provincial Diversity and Inclusion Council, our Ethnic Minority Workforce Resource Group, and mandatory Cultural Awareness training for leaders and staff.
With the guidance and support of black and racialized communities within AHS, we are currently developing a new Change the Conversation resource to support conversations about Black Lives Matter.
And, we are forming a group to develop a consistent and comprehensive approach related to Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC) anti-racism activities.
However, it is clear more must be done.