In 1990, seven Black and one Filipina nurse filed complaints of systemic racism against Toronto’s Northwestern Hospital at the Ontario Human Rights Commission. It took four years, but in 1994, the OHRC ruled in the nurses’ favour. As the first OHRC case won on the grounds of systemic racial discrimination, it was a landmark victory.
June Veecock, then Director of Human Rights at the Ontario Federation of Labour, played a pivotal role in this case. In this interview, she describes how she got involved and about the support of other Black anti-racist and feminist activists. She also highlights the devastating personal toll on the nurses who brought the case forward.
June also talks about some of the other ways she “shook up” the white labour establishment.
“When you want to solve all the problems, you may not see the benefits of your efforts, but the next leg hopefully will. It’s a marathon, I’m telling you.”