Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2018)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 7, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why William Osler Health System was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2018):
- William Osler Health System provides maternity and parental leave top-up payments for employees who are new mothers and fathers (including adoptive parents), ranging from 84% to 93% of salary for 10 to 27 weeks, depending on the employee
- In addition to contributing to a defined benefit pension plan, William Osler Health System helps employees plan securely for the future with retirement planning assistance and phased-in work options
- William Osler Health System recognizes the importance of employee feedback and ongoing communication and hosts town hall meetings on a quarterly basis -- employees also have the opportunity to provide direct feedback through initiatives such as Breakfast or Lunch with the President
Recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2017)
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 27, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why William Osler Health System was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2017):
- With over 60 members, William Osler Health System's Diversity Advisory Council (DAC) implements programs and policies across the organization's various departments -- the DAC publishes monthly newsletters to keep members apprised of best practices and upcoming events, and rotates its co-chairs to ensure diverse perspectives are regularly offered across the council
- Throughout the year, William Osler Health System hosts networking and educational events for staff including a Multi Faith and Diversity Day in partnership with 34 external partners, bi-annual equity forums to address the needs of staff, physicians and volunteers, and the Equity, Ethics and Law in Health Care conference on integrating cultural considerations into diverse clinical care settings
- Formalized in 2016, the Women of William Osler Health System Advisory Group is comprised of a core committee of interdisciplinary staff from various areas of the organization -- the group meets monthly and aims to foster a collaborative environment that is inclusive, respectful, equitable and accessible, and enables personal and professional development of staff through the lens of gender equity
- William Osler Health System aims to foster an inclusive and respectful environment for LGBTQ employees and patients through its multi-disciplinary LGBTQ Advisory Group, comprised of clinical and non-clinical staff -- the organization also offers training on inclusive language, is finalizing a guideline on providing care to patients from the LGBTQ community, and is reviewing its process for recording patient sex in order to ensure that the lived gender of transgender and gender non-conforming patient files can be recorded accurately and respectfully
"In my role as a Social Worker at Etobicoke General Hospital, I provide services to patients and families from our diverse communities. In order to do so, I regularly access help from the innovative clinical and community partnerships initiated by Osler's Health Equity and Inclusion team. In particular, Osler's innovative partnership with Polycultural and Immigrant Community Services, which plays a substantial role in helping patients post-discharge with their cultural and language needs, has been tremendously helpful. Whether it's supporting a patient's cultural or religious wishes around end of life, or advocating for a newcomer to Canada who is facing language barriers, the valuable help of the diversity and equity initiatives at Osler have helped support positive patient outcomes and a more inclusive work environment." Melissa Devlin, Social Worker
Osler puts diversity into action
As a physician with William Osler Health System, Dr. Gurjit Bajwa treats critically ill and injured patients at two of the busiest hospital emergency departments in Ontario. Etobicoke General Hospital and Brampton Civic Hospital also happen to serve one of the most diverse populations in Canada.
Fortunately, Bajwa is particularly well suited to his chosen profession. The emergency physician thrives on the fast pace and challenging nature of the work. And like many of his colleagues, he's fluent in other languages besides English, so odds are good he can speak directly with his patients.
Osler, located in the western regions of the Greater Toronto Area, has some 1.3 million people in its coverage area. More than half are visible minorities, nearly half are newcomers to Canada and one third do not speak English at home. Osler has interpreters trained in medical terminology, but in the ED timeliness is crucial.
"If I can relate to my South Asian patients and understand their problem, it makes it easier to treat them in a respectful, beneficial manner," says Bajwa, who grew up nearby and speaks Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu. "And it's not just me. We have staff from many different linguistic and cultural backgrounds who help make the whole experience more comfortable for all our patients."
Brampton Civic and Etobicoke General are full-service hospitals, providing a variety of acute care and outpatient and community-based services. Osler, one of the largest community hospitals in Canada, also recently opened Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness with an Urgent Care Centre for non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses. Once fully opened in April 2017, the state-of-the art outpatient hospital will also offer an array of innovative services aimed at preventing illness and better managing chronic disease.
"Peel Memorial has been designed with diversity and inclusivity in mind every step of the way. The building's many accessibility features for people with disabilities and a Multi-Faith Room for prayer and reflection are just a couple of examples of this," says Joanne Flewwelling, Interim President and CEO at Osler.
Respecting and accommodating each individual's unique needs is a hallmark of Osler's long-standing commitment to diversity. As well as recruiting staff and physicians who reflect the surrounding communities, Osler has taken great care to develop extensive programs and procedures through a diversity and equity lens.
Osler has also established several important advisory groups and mechanisms to provide ongoing feedback and advice. Employees, physicians and volunteers from throughout the organization have embraced the opportunity to participate. Four such vehicles to make their voices heard are the multi-disciplinary Diversity Advisory Group, the LGBTQ Advisory Group, the Accessibility Advisory Committee and the Women of William Osler - aka WoW! - which focuses on gender equality.
The senior leadership team also plays its part, making sure the organization follows through on its priorities. The goal is to ensure that both patients and staff feel welcome and safe whatever their language, culture, ethnicity, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, educational background or socio-economic status.
It's a constantly moving target. Osler recently changed the name of its nine-year-old Diversity Office to the Office of Health Equity & Inclusion. Reporting directly to the Chief Patient Experience Officer, the office is responsible for safeguarding patients' access to appropriate health care and ensuring staff is well prepared to deliver that care.
"There's an evolution in our thinking," says Flewwelling of the name change. "We need to incorporate all aspects of health equity and inclusivity and make sure they're embedded in all the ways we interact with each other."
For his part, Bajwa says Osler is on the right track: "We're not just talking about diversity, we're really putting it into action every day."