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B.C. health review finds vast Indigenous profiling

Darpan News Desk The Canadian Press, 30 Nov, 2020
  • B.C. health review finds vast Indigenous profiling

A former judge says she found widespread systemic racism in British Columbia's health-care system, but she could not confirm allegations of an organized game to guess the blood-alcohol level of Indigenous patients in emergency departments.

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond says she found evidence of activities that resembled the game, but none could be described as prevalent, widespread or targeting only Indigenous patients.

The former Saskatchewan provincial court judge and one-time children's advocate in B.C. was appointed by Health Minister Adrian Dix in June to investigate the allegations.

She says the review also looked into the broader context of systemic racism affecting Indigenous Peoples and found it is widespread, including extensive profiling of patients based on stereotypes about addictions.

She says 84 per cent of the review's Indigenous respondents reported some form of discrimination in health care and 52 per cent of Indigenous health-care workers said they experienced racial prejudice at work, mostly in the form of comments.

In a news release, Turpel-Lafond says the racism Indigenous people are exposed to has resulted in physical harm and even death.

Turpel-Lafond's report makes more than 20 recommendations. They include bringing in measures and legislation to change behaviour and the appointment of three new positions to focus on the problem, including an Indigenous health officer and an associate deputy minister of Indigenous health.

Photo courtesy of Tyee.ca

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