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Montreal Heart Institute apologizes for discriminatory language policy

WATCH ABOVE: The Montreal Heart Institute has apologized after realizing their language policy noted English-speaking clients would have to receive services elsewhere.

MONTREAL – A family from Ontario had the shock of their lives as they searched online for health resources at the Montreal Heart Institute (MHI).

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The language policy stated “employees work in French and clients are served in French.”

“Patients who wish to be served in English are asked to contact another institution in the Montreal territory that provides services in this language.”

“It’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen,” said Antoinette Mercurio, President of the Unity Group.

“It’s saying point blank, if you come here you’re going to receive service in just French. It was atrocious. Terrible.”

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The family confided in the Unity Group and Bonjour-Hi Québec.

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As soon as the groups contacted the MHI, the message was removed.

“We had not seen it and we don’t want to associate with it,” Marie-Ève Arsenault, a spokesperson for the MHI told Global News.

“It’s our mistake and now it’s corrected on our website. We are actually really, really, really sad about it.”

Arsenault estimated the message was put up after the website got a facelift about a year ago, but said she could not be sure.

The Unity Group posted this picture online showing the different text in the Montreal Heart Institute’s language policy, Wednesday, July 8, 2015. The Unity Group/Facebook

The Montreal Heart Institute is classified as a francophone institution, but according to law that doesn’t mean they can refuse service in English.

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“We have a lot of patients in English,” said Arsenault.

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Mercurio acknowledged the fact that language has always been a hot-button topic in the province, but said it saddens her to see that the situation is not getting any better.

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“Is it getting better? Absolutely not,” she said.

“It’s getting worse. People are getting tired of waking up every day and having to fight.”

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