Ontario nurses experiencing racism on the job: York professor

Ontario nurses are experiencing racism on the job to the point they are segregated into certain units within hospitals and onto certain shifts, wrote The Peterborough Examiner July 15, in a story about research by York University Professor Tania Das Gupta.

Visible minorities are especially vulnerable, Das Gupta, chair of York’s Department of Equity Studies, said.

Das Gupta revealed her findings in a book earlier this month after surveying nurses through the Ontario Nurses’ Association, drawing on 593 responses from nurses across the province, 18 in-depth interviews and arbitration cases. “We have as a society reached a point where it’s not acceptable anymore to use racial slurs or do name-calling,” Das Gupta told Sun Media yesterday. “Racism is not too blatant anymore…so the way in which it manifests itself is very systemic and subtle.

“At the end of the day, what you find is that it is nurses of colour who get disadvantaged.”

In her book, Real Nurses and Others: Racism in Nursing, Das Gupta details the survey found 41 per cent of nurses that responded said they had been made to feel uncomfortable because of their race, colour or ethnicity, including 82 per cent of black nurses, 80 per cent of Asian nurses, 50 per cent of South Asian nurses and 57 per cent of Central or South American nurses.

Das Gupta’s study also found 25 per cent of white nurses said they had been made to feel uncomfortable because of their ethnicity or religion.

The racism ranges from comments about accents and physical attributes to a failure to recognize a nurse’s skills and knowledge, she said. That racism can translate into who works where in a hospital, Das Gupta said, with more minorities being relegated to less desirable units and work hours.

Tweet for satisfaction

Twitter is becoming a customer service first-stop for some, whether it’s to complain about bad treatment or figure out how to set up a laptop, wrote the Toronto Star July 15.

Good customer service is about managing expectations, says Alan Middleton, professor of marketing in the Schulich School of Business at York University. “It really ties the corporation or institution to answering the question and delivering the service, because if they don’t, they’re in worse shape,” he says.

Middleton, citing low retention rates among adults, doesn’t think Twitter has the future some predict. It’s mainly serving young people, he says.

Toronto strike differs from York dispute, McGuinty says

There are signs of progress in Toronto’s garbage strike, Premier Dalton McGuinty said yesterday, as he expressed optimism that a resolution may be nearing in the weeks-long conflict, wrote The Canadian Press July 15. The city, McGuinty said, has made it clear “it means business” and workers seem to want to go back to work as well. “Both sides are very sincere in achieving an outcome, in contrast to, for example, the standstill that we found at York University,” McGuinty said during a visit to Port Hope, Ont.

The strike at York lasted 85 days and was only resolved once the province legislated an end to the conflict.

  • McGuinty’s comment was also reported on 680News Radio July 14.

On air

  • David Doorey, professor of employment and labour law in York’s School of Administrative Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, spoke about the strike by City of Toronto workers on CTV’s “Canada AM” July 14.
  • David Wiesenthal, psychology professor in York’s Faculty of Health, spoke about bad drivers and road rage on CBC Newsworld’s “The Lens” July 14.