On behalf of Fiona Dalton, President & CEO and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Delivery Team

A message from Fiona:

The BC provincial government proclaimed this week – May 23-29 – as Anti-Racism Awareness Week. Providence Health Care and the Medical Staff Association (MSA) join the government and our health care partners in denouncing all acts of racism.

Providence’s history, traditions and values are rooted in compassion and social justice. But we recognize we live and work in a society that continues to have systemic barriers, biases and inequities that disenfranchise and marginalize too many individuals and communities – including Indigenous, 2SLGBTQIA+, women, racialized groups, people with disabilities and many more who experience stigma and discrimination.

We know that words are not enough. To truly live our values and deliver our mission in a just manner, we recognize that such inequities – in society, in our organization – require intentional strategies, dedicated resources, and focused actions that result in measurable achievements and improvements.

I’m therefore very pleased that Providence is working in partnership with the MSA to develop a comprehensive Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) strategy and plan that puts the organization on a path to address DEI issues.

In fall 2020, a small DEI Delivery Team was initiated to begin examination of PHC’s processes and programs to ensure that they are impartial, fair and provide equal possible outcomes for every individual. The members of the DEI Delivery Team are Rubina Mahal, Manager of Talent Acquisition and People Support Services, Elizabeth Stanger, Corporate Director, Strategic Initiatives and Dr. Tracy Scott, Medical Staff Association Past President. I am very grateful to these individuals for stepping up to do this work. They are supported by PHC Senior Leadership and are working closely with the Indigenous Wellness and Reconciliation Team, and with the MSA. You can read the MSA DEI update here; as you can see the two are very aligned.

In early 2021, a small staff advisory group came together that helped structure the priorities for the year ahead. I thank those who raised their hands early on. In the coming months, PHC will continue to reach out to staff and form advisory groups as the work progresses.

I am pleased to support and endorse the following update from the DEI Delivery Team:

Message from DEI Delivery Team:

We are excited to give you an initial update on our work. We have developed a Providence DEI framework, and this has been endorsed by the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and by the Governance & HR Committee of the Providence Board of Directors.

It is based on these guiding aspirations:

  • As an Organization: PHC will have a reputation as an organization of choice because it champions anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • As an Employer: Diverse staff will be visibly leading at every level.
  • As a Health Care Services Provider: Patients and families will receive care that is respectful and responds to their cultural, linguistic and socio-demographic needs to ensure high quality outcomes every time.
  • As People and Professionals: PHC staff will demonstrate ongoing learning and growth in anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusion.

Our next step is to develop a detailed action plan. To help us to do this, we have undertaken a series of focus groups starting with those staff whose work directly impacts our people and those in our care including medical staff, members of our People (HR) team and 1:1 interviews with Senior Leaders. As Fiona mentions, we will continue reaching out to staff to help inform this work as PHC’s DEI framework progresses.

Here is a summary of what we heard and what is in our work plan:

What we heard

  • PHC’s DEI initiative will be successful if there is strong support from senior leadership
  • PHC – as an organization – needs to acknowledge the reality of systemic racism and the requirement to become an anti-racist organization
  • PHC needs to ensure its hiring and promotion practices are fair and free from bias.
  • Providence staff at every level and medical staff need anti-racism and DEI education and resources
  • There needs to be Senior Leadership accountability for achieving anti-racism and DEI at Providence
  • We need to continue the conversation with our staff and medical staff

What is in our work plan

  • Our DEI framework has been endorsed by the Senior Leadership Team and by the Governance & HR Committee of the Board
  • Our work plan includes the development of an organizational anti-racism policy, and other policies required for diversity, equity and inclusion to thrive at PHC
  • In addition, we are making changes to our Respect in the Workplace policies and processes to ensure that staff and medical staff can safely report experiences of racism and discrimination and have confidence that they will be addressed.
  • The People Team has undertaken an assessment of its processes, based on DEI Benchmarks
  • Part of our DEI work plan will include changes to HR policies, processes and practices to ensure greater transparency and fairness.
  • We are putting together a plan – and a budget – to develop and deliver anti-racism and DEI education and resources, beginning in fall 2021
  • The full PHC DEI work plan will be presented to SLT for approval in June, and the DEI Delivery Team will regularly report directly to SLT on progress
  • The Medical Staff Association Executive has endorsed five recommendations for action, and has committed to working on these actions and regularly reporting on progress
  • Our DEI work plan is based on the principle “nothing about us without us” and has built in regular engagement with staff and medical staff.

As recent reports in the news have demonstrated, Canadian society still has a long way to go to address inequities and injustices. But there is growing momentum and societal realization that we can be in a stronger position if we honestly and collectively work toward making our province and country more inclusive and fair.

We look forward to working with Providence staff and medical staff on implementing our DEI plan to achieve such goals together.