East Toronto MPPs call for action against workplace racism after incident at hospital construction site

A racist incident involving the placing of a noose at a construction site at Michael Garron Hospital on June 12 has sparked widespread condemnation.

By ALI RAZA, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Two East Toronto MPPs have written a public letter demanding more action against racism in the workplace following a hate crime at construction site at Michael Garron Hospital on June 12.

Beaches-East York MPP Rima Berns-McGown and Toronto-Danforth MPP Peter Tabuns wrote to Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders, Michael Garron Hospital President Sarah Downey, and EllisDon President Geoff Smith on June 17 to express their “deep concern with the vile and extremely racist hate crime” that happened last week at a construction site at the hospital.

Construction workers found two nooses at the site, which EllisDon said “were strategically placed and we are confident they were racially motivated.”

The incident prompted condemnation from members of the community, the hospital, EllisDon, and elected officials.

“To say we are shocked and disgusted would be an understatement,” a statement from EllisDon read.

Toronto police confirmed as of June 17 that the Hate Crime Unite has been contacted for the ongoing investigation. EllisDon and Michael Garron Hospital are assisting with the investigation.

Berns-McGown and Tabuns, however, are expressing further concern “for Black construction workers on the site and employed elsewhere with EllisDon.”

The two noted that the particular incident was symbolic of a “history of white supremacy, power, and unchecked murder” and asked the hospital and EllisDon what steps they’re taking to “ensure that the worksite is safe from hate and that anti-Black racism is being addressed in serious and ongoing manner.”

Smith wrote in an earlier statement that EllisDon was working with Toronto police to identify the suspects involved and vowed they wouldn’t work in the industry again.

“We have worked extremely hard to ensure a culture and environment that allows people to work free of discrimination and intolerance,” Smith said. “Obviously there is more work to be done; and I know I speak for the entire industry when I say that we do not intend to rest until this kind of behaviour is eradicated entirely.”

The investigation is ongoing.

“We believe that the public needs to know that elected officials, police, health care leaders and industry leaders support vigorous action to stamp out racism and hate crimes,” Berns-McGown and Tabuns wrote.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Toronto police at 416-808-2222, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477 or online at https://www.222tips.com/

  • Ali Raza is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Beach Metro News. His reporting is funded by the Government of Canada through its Local Journalism Initiative.

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