My name is Christopher Cameron and I am a Registered Nurse employed full-time at The Ottawa Hospital and casual at Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH). On two separate occasions I was denied full-time employment at CCH because I did not speak advanced French. In addition, I had over seven years of experience and certification in the specialty. The nurses who were awarded the positions spoke advanced French; however had no training or experience in the specialty. The Hospital spent approximately $12,000 to $15,000 on each separate occasion to train both nurses in the specialty. Please take the time to view my You-Tube video: type “Language Discrimination”
Over the past several months, since Dr. Tombler wrote his infamous Letter to the Editor, “Loss of Good Nurses” (Standard Freeholder-Feb.2, 2012)-exposing CCH discriminatory hiring practices, I have been protesting in front of the Hospital.
On March 3, 2012, a rally was called and over 200 people came out to support Equality for All.
Many Hospital staff, over the last few months, have expressed their own stories of discrimination and the stories of others who are too afraid to speak up. One staff member was so distraught about the bullying and abuse she has encountered from administration that she broke down in tears. How does a public entity condone bullying behaviour towards staff whose main objective is to care for others?
Since this peaceful protest started, I have met many wonderful and supportive people in our community, but it’s not all good. Hospital administration has called the police three times, complaining about me stopping traffic at the hospital entrance. When in fact, I was called over by drivers to sign our petition asking for the Provincial Government to assess CCH’s discriminatory hiring practices.
I have been called many things, including–bigot, hillbilly, thug, KKK and Anglo-Saxon extremist…I have gotten many honks and a few “birds”. One retired nurse protester’s life was even threatened by a group of young men. Local media groups have even been approached by some groups to stop printing “Hospital Protest” stories. Furthermore, Francophone interest groups and associations have decided to get involved and divide our community.
The fact of the matter is all this never had to happen if CCH administration had really cared about the community it serves. When the two English Hospitals–Cornwall General and Hotel Dieu amalgamated in 2004, CCH applied for the FLSA (French Language Service Act). Since the FLSA’s implementation, countless people have been discriminated against either because they did not speak French or did not speak French well enough.
The Administration has the ability to change the French requirement from mandatory to asset, but is unwilling to budge. This does not serve our community or our patients’ best interests when language trumps education and experience.
Chris Cameron RN
Long Sault, ON