Letter from East End Elected Representatives to EllisDon and Michael Garron Hospital

October 7, 2020

Geoff Smith, CEO EllisDon Sarah Downey, CEO Michael Garron Hospital

Dear Mr. Smith and Ms. Downey:

The discovery of hate graffiti last Friday, October 2nd at the Michael Garron Hospital construction site has once again sent our East End community reeling.

It is upsetting for the entire community that our new hospital extension, which is being built as a place of healing, has been repeatedly tarnished by hate.

We want to emphatically state that we are aware that Michael Garron Hospital is a space of superb medical and community care; we continue to be grateful for that.

In that light, we know that you will want to take further action to ensure the job site is safe for all workers and is seen that way by our community.

When the first nooses were found in June, EllisDon and MGH committed to eradicating anti-Black racism on this site. On Thursday, September 24th there was a further alleged incident, and then again on Friday, October 2nd a horrific racist message was photographed. These ongoing instances of hate have been deeply hurtful and traumatizing for our community.

We very much appreciate that you have taken steps to address this matter, however, as noted in your public statements, they are not yet working. This is also an unsafe jobsite as Black workers cannot rely on all of their brothers and sisters to “have their backs." As you already know, the onus is on you to ensure a safe site.

We know that you both abhor racism, but statements are not enough to eradicate it. We believe that you must immediately take further, more comprehensive measures to make the worksite safe.

  • In June, we asked the Ministry of Labour to attend this site to ensure it is safe for all who work there. We look forward to you sharing with us the dates and details of the site inspections and the proposed plan of action from the Ministry of Labour.
  • Comprehensive internal tracking and security are required. We look forward to you sharing with us your plan and what steps you have taken to achieve this.
  • In response to the September 24th incident, the Toronto Police Hate Crimes Unit indicated that the "incident is not being treated as hate-motivated." To come to that conclusion, the Toronto Police Hate Crimes Unit would have had to consult with MGH and EllisDon on the rope found on the site. We look forward to you sharing the information they were provided with about the two noose-like ropes found onsite at that time.
  • As the owner of the site and the employer of the workers, respectively, it rests with both of you to guarantee a safe and harassment-free workplace. We look forward to hearing what steps you have taken with the subcontractors and the unions on site since the June incident.
As the elected representatives of our community we are requesting an urgent meeting with you to discuss the above.

Sincerely,

Toronto-Danforth Representatives
City Councillor Paula Fletcher
MPP Peter Tabuns
MP Julie Dabrusin
Trustee Jennifer Story, TDSB
Trustee Angela Kennedy, TCDSB
Beaches-East York Representatives
MPP Rima Berns-McGown
Councillor Brad Bradford
MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith
Trustee Michelle Aarts, TDSB

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