‘We don’t care what’s on your head:’ Ontario hospital recruits Quebec health workers

TORONTO – An Ontario hospital is campaigning to recruit doctors and nurses from Quebec in the wake of the French province’s move to ban religious clothing in its contentious ‘values’ plan.

“We don’t care what’s on your head. We care what’s in it,” the ad, released by Lakeridge Health in Oshawa, Ont., reads. It depicts a woman wearing a hijab and a stethoscope.

The ad is already making waves on social media and is in McGill University’s student newspaper.

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“We are a growing community and our services are growing as well…so we’re taking this opportunity to reach out and tell people what a great place we are to work,” Lakeridge’s president and CEO, Kevin Empey, told Global News.

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Right now, the hospital has 14 vacancies posted just for nurses, but it hasn’t put a number on how much talent it’d recruit.

“We need more doctors, particularly pediatricians because 25 per cent of our ER visits are kids. We just want to encourage the best of the best to come check us out,” Empey said.

Lakeridge specializes in diabetes and kidney care to mental health and addictions. This campaign is sticking to social media and the ad, so far. The facility runs ads across the country and in medical journals often, Empey said.

Read more: Parti Quebecois unveils details of Charter of Values

The Parti Quebecois unveiled the details of its Charter of Quebec Values on Tuesday. The proposed plan would ban public employees – hospital workers, teachers and school employees, police and judges and city workers – from wearing “conspicuous” religious symbols during working hours.

Overt religious wear includes turbans, kippas, burkas, hijabs, and “large” crosses. Anyone who is giving or receiving government services also has to make sure their face is visible.

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Public servants would be allowed to wear small religious symbols, though – necklaces, rings or earrings, like small crosses or the Star of David, for example.

“Our proposals will be a source of greater understanding, harmony and cohesion for all Quebec and all Quebecers, regardless of their religion or origin,” Bernard Drainville, the minister responsible for democratic institutions and active citizenship, said.

Read more: A graphic depicting appropriate religious symbols under the proposed Quebec Charter of Values

Critics have slammed the PQ over its charter. Read the response here.

– With files from Amanda Kelly

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