Some serious allegations have been made against health care staff in B.C. According to the provincial health minister, emergency room staff in B.C. have been accused of playing a game where they would guess the blood alcohol levels of Indigenous patients coming in. The minster made a public speech about these allegations where he called the actions intolerable and racist if true. 

On Friday, June 19, provincial Health Minister Adrian Dix addressed the public about these allegations after hearing about them the day prior. 

The allegations were brought forward by the Deputy Minister of Health, Stephen Brown, who was informed by the community and from within the health care system. 

Calling them serious allegations, Dix stated that these needed to be investigated to determine if they are, in fact, true. 

He also said that moving forward, there needs to be remedies and reconciliation in place.

“It’s important to determine the facts but it's also important to work together to take action and to move forward,” said the official.

Mary-Ellen Turpel-Lafond, a former judge in the province, has been appointed by Dix to investigate.

She will also be the one to determine the appropriate measures when it comes to making recommendations for the province's reconciliation efforts. 

No timeline of the investigation was given but the minster did say it will be taking place immediately. 

Dix stated that should these allegations be confirmed, they're “unacceptable and racist.”

The minster was quick to acknowledge that it's “beyond dispute” that people in the province have suffered from systemic racism for years in many fields, including health care. 

During his press briefing, the minister didn't comment on which hospitals are being looked into or where they were located in the province. 

He also didn't disclose whether or not staff would be suspended from work. 

Dix noted that these allegations “tell us why we have so far to go” and that systemic racism very much still exists in our country.

Following the public announcement, Premier John Horgan posted a series of tweets regarding the celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day. 

“We celebrate the rich and diverse histories, traditions and cultures of Indigenous peoples,” wrote the premier. 

“We must also recognize that historical injustices fuelled by hate and racism are still prominent in our institutions today. The past week's disturbing allegations of racist behaviours in our health care system are a horrific example."

Horgan also wrote in an online statement that Indigenous peoples must be able to feel safe and recognized. 

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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