Oct 07, 2020
Our Response to Sarah Downey, President & CEO, Michael Garron Hospital
Sarah Downey, President & CEO, Michael Garron Hospital reached out to us in a letter regarding the recent racist incidents at our Michael Garron Hospital site. This is our response from President & CEO, Geoff Smith:
Ms. Sarah Downey
President & CEO, Michael Garron Hospital
825 Coxwell Ave,
East York, ON M4C 3E7
October 7, 2020
Dear Ms. Downey,
I want to thank you for your letter and assure you that we stand shoulder to shoulder with you in our condemnation of anti-Black racism at the Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) site. Our people are not just our employees—they are our family. We know we need to do better to protect their safety, both physically and emotionally. That is why we are seized with this matter and are taking strong action in response to the incidents that have occurred.
Like you, we are deeply disturbed by what has happened. As leaders in our industry, EllisDon’s core values have always centered around our people and our communities. We believe every EllisDon work site should be a place where our employees and subtrades feel safe, comfortable and empowered to be themselves, regardless of their race, gender, age, abilities and disabilities, sexuality, and faith.
In the immediate term we are taking the following actions:
- We have ordered more security signage for the perimeter hoarding, as well as 24/7 video surveillance and security guards onsite.
- We’ve added additional security cameras on site. We now have security on site after normal hours of operation to increase security presence in the immediate-term.
- We have engaged with a security consultant who will make security-related observations and recommendations for EllisDon to consider at MGH and all of our other project sites.
- We are installing additional lighting at all access points (e.g. entrances at Coxwell and Sammon and vehicle gates). We are in the process of adding more exterior lighting to illuminate all entrances and paths of travel. This work will be completed by Friday, October 9, 2020.
- We are adding additional supports to secure the hoarding. We are also installing more privacy screening along the entire perimeter. All locks have been changed and door codes reset.
- Here is a list of other actions we’ve taken to lead the fight on systemic racism in our industry.
To be clear, Ministry of Labour officials have attended the site and continue to maintain a strong presence onsite at this time. EllisDon is fully cooperating with the Toronto Police Services’ investigation of these incidents and a $5,000 reward is being offered for any information that helps us identify the person, or people, responsible. In addition, we have engaged a third-party consultant to assist in our own internal investigation of the matter.
We are currently in the process of reaching out to local political representatives to determine how we can provide additional support to the community. It is also my intention to consult with the community via a virtual round table to listen to their concerns, discuss what we have done, and what we can do moving forward.
We acknowledge that systemic racism in the construction industry is real and you have my commitment that we will not stop until we eliminate it completely from our sites. I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss this matter further, if you wish.
President and Chief Executive Officer
CC. Paula Fletcher
City Councillor – Ward 14 Toronto – Danforth
City Councillor – Ward 19 Beaches – East York
Member of Provincial Parliament – Beaches – East York
Member of Provincial Parliament – Toronto Danforth
Click HERE for the PDF version.