A woman who demanded that a “white doctor” treat her son at a walk-in clinic in Mississauga, Ont., was not just an isolated case, but part of a bigger problem, according to the president-elect of the Ontario Medical Association.
The incident at Rapid Access to Medical Specialists clinic was recorded on video and sent to CBC Toronto by a viewer.
In the video, a woman asks clinic staff several times for a “white doctor” who “doesn’t have brown teeth” and “speaks English” to treat her son who she says has chest pains.
“A lot of physicians who are visible minorities or have accents that suggest that they’re immigrants, they face this. They face incidents like this,” said Dr. Nadia Alam.
‘I’ve seen it through medical school, I’ve seen it through residency, I’ve seen it on and off through my practice.’
– Dr. Nadia Alam, president-elect of Ontario Medical Association
And she counts herself among them.
“I’ve seen it through medical school, I’ve seen it through residency, I’ve seen it on and off through my practice,” Alam told CBC Toronto. “Sometimes it is openly like ‘I’m not going to see you because you’re this skin colour or you have this accent. I want to see somebody else.”
Alam, who practises family medicine in Georgetown, Ont., said she hasn’t really experienced this sort of racism there, but did when she worked in “some of the bigger cities.”
“It’s heartbreaking,” said Alam. “You think that you’re a Canadian, that this is your country, this is where you belong. And when someone accuses you that way or treats you that way, you feel like an alien.”
No place for ‘racism and hatred’ in our society: premier
Reaction to the video spread across social media and the country on Tuesday, including a comment from Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.
“I was very shocked,” said Wynne. “There is no…