Canada Politics

Ontario hospital aims to woo workers from Quebec disgruntled by the values charter

Canada Politics

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Lakeridge Health ad

Now, this is clever.

An Ontario hospital is using the controversy surrounding Quebec's values charter to their advantage.

Lakeridge Hospital — in Oshawa, Ontario — will be running a new recruitment ad (pictured above) in Montreal with the slogan: "We don't care what's on your head...we care what's in it."

"We thought, given the controversy that's going on in Quebec … maybe this would be an opportunity to create some awareness of what Lakeridge Health is," Kevin Empey, chief executive of Lakeridge told CBC News.

"Our hospital workforce and doctors are slowly becoming more diverse so we partly mean it as a signal of we're open and we're willing and there's no issue in Durham Region, in Lakeridge."

[ Related: Unwelcome by PQ Values Charter? Come to Calgary: Mayor Nenshi]

Quebec's PQ government introduced details of their secularization plan earlier this week which, if passed, would essentially ban all public employees in that province from wearing overt religious symbols in public institutions.

And now, the Globe and Mail is reporting that the PQ government is encouraging the private sector to adopt similar guidelines.

"These are only guidelines, but by putting them in the charter, we are sending a clear signal to society. What we are saying is, ‘Here is a framework by which people can govern themselves,’" a senior PQ minister told Globe.

Needless to say, the religious accommodation 'project' has created a lot of angst in Quebec especially among the religious minorities.

[ Related: Religious minorities face fight-or-flight choice as Quebec values charter released ]

Will we see a large number of ethnic minority Quebecers leave the province for jobs elsewhere?

A Muslim community leader from Montreal says he's already seeing signs of it.

"When I talk on behalf of the Muslim community, I always say we — the Muslim community — are here to stay and will fight this all the way," Salam Elmenyawi of the Muslim Council of Montreal told Yahoo! Canada News in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

"But many people have [said] to me privately that they are thinking about leaving...even before [the Charter becomes law]. Imagine what will happen if it does become law."

The plan has also caused caused consternation within the Sikh community.

"This would be a bad mark on Quebec society. I don't think many immigrants or many people of my faith would feel very welcome here in Quebec," Dr. Sanjeet Singh Saluja told the Canadian Press.

"I've been a Quebecer since the day I was born. Incidents like [the soccer turban ban], incidents like this charter of rights, it's becoming more and more clear to me that I'm not a Quebecer, I'm a second class citizen here. The sad thing is I don't know if I'd be able to stay here in Quebec."

For industries in other parts of the country facing labour shortages, Quebec's values charter may be a blessing in disguise.

(Photo courtesy of Facebook)

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