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Women’s College Hospital and Pride at Work Canada help build inclusive workplaces for LGBT staff

December 10, 2012

Last month, Women’s College Hospital (WCH) together with Pride at Work Canada hosted the first ever roundtable in Toronto to help create fully inclusive workplaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-identified (LGBT) staff, physicians and volunteers in the healthcare sector.

The event took place on Nov. 21 and attracted attendees from a variety of health care organizations and hospitals from Toronto area who brainstormed together and shared good practice on sexual orientation and gender identity inclusion initiatives in their workplaces.

“Today, we hope to start an open and honest discussion about LGBT workplace inclusion in the healthcare sector, and to begin to develop good practice and supportive networks in the healthcare industry,” says Brent Chamberlain, executive director at Pride at Work Canada and event co-organizer.

Guest speaker Stacey Daub, CEO of Toronto Central Community Care Access Centre, spoke of her organization’s work and the challenges they faced in their quest to create a truly inclusive workplace.

“I believe that the experience of our patients is inextricably linked to the experience of our employees, and if you’re really committed to providing compassionate care, you need to start from within to create an environment that has compassion and respect for individuals at its core,” says Daub.

“We need to be deliberate about providing inclusive workplaces,” says Daub. “It’s about creating organizations where people feel they can bring their whole selves to work. It’s more than a plan, a role and a framework. It’s measured by experience and making the client and staff experience connection. It’s everyone’s job – every day, and every moment,” she says.

Angela Robertson, equity and community engagement director at WCH and the event co-organizer, says that LGBT employment inclusion initiatives are important because a disengaged or dissatisfied workforce can negatively affect the culture within which care is provided and the quality of care received by patients.

“At Women’s we believe that supporting diversity, inclusion and being an advocate and supporter of LGBT issues in the workplace is about rejecting homophobia and discrimination and affirming human rights and access,” says Robertson. “This round table is a brilliant start in building collaboration across health-care organizations to support inclusion of LGBT workers and volunteers.” 

Building on the momentum gathered by the group, participants looked forward to continuing the conversation, expanding the network to include others interested in LGBT workplace inclusion and making commitments to share forthcoming good practices.

“The session was excellent,” says Lana De Meo, human resources business partner at Baycrest. “Sharing experiences with other organizations and what they have done so far is quite an eye-opener. I’m excited to bring what I learned back to work.”

For more information on health equity at Women’s College Hospital, click here.

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