Skip to content
  • April 24, 2024 from 4:00pm to 5:00pm


Full Title: “I don’t want any Black nurses”: Insights from the Academic Literature and Ontario’s Regulatory Bodies on Navigating Discriminatory Requests/Refusals of Care Providers


Claudia Barned, PhD
Bioethicist – Department of Clinical and Organizational Ethics – University Health Network
Education Investigator 2 – The Institute for Education Research (TIER)
Assistant Professor – Dalla Lana School of Public Health – University of Toronto
Member – Joint Centre for Bioethics – University of Toronto


Akosua Nwafor, MHSc (Bioethics)
Department of Clinical and Organizational Ethics – University Health Network


Healthcare workers are increasingly exposed to acts of violence, harassment and bigotry from patients, their family members and visitors. When faced with such acts, there is an organizational tendency to rely on zero tolerance policies or make references to applicable guidance from regulatory colleges. The efficacy of zero tolerance policies has been a point of significant debate, as evidence shows very little actualized change at the individual and institutional levels. In addition to the notable disadvantages of zero tolerance policies, they often lack the specificity required for proper support mechanisms and avenues for recourse that provide a sense of justice for the targeted clinician. To complicate matters further, not all regulatory bodies acknowledge or conceptualize discriminatory experiences as ethically problematic practice issues impacting their registrants. As such, healthcare workers can be left to blindly navigate these emotionally distressing encounters and struggle with the tensions between the duty to care and their right to a workplace free from discrimination. This talk critically outlines key findings from the academic literature, most notably, who is often targeted, the types of requests/refusals made, as well as individual and institutional recommendations for change. We will also critically examine the available guidance from 11 of Ontario’s regulatory colleges, noting how they engage [or not] with anti-racism, and issues pertaining to patient bias.

Additional Details:

The event is free and is open to the general public.