Ontario Construction News staff writer
EllisDon is offering a $5,000 reward to anyone with information that identifies individual(s) involved in recent acts of racism, after a racist message was written on a washroom door at the Michael Garron Hospital construction site last week – just a week after two nooses were found hanging at the same location
The message read “This site needs a (n-word) purge,” and was shared in a tweet posted Friday, Oct. 2 by Mohammed Hashim, a senior organizer with the Toronto and York Region Labour Council.
Hashim called on hospital officials to “do something now to put an end to this hate.”
“Enough is enough,” he wrote on Twitter. “A construction union member said they found this on the site. This needs to stop.”
In a statement, spokesperson Erica Di Maio said Michael Garron Hospital “recently responded to an act of racism that occurred on the EllisDon construction site on our property and this hateful act is further demonstration that this problem is systemic in the construction industry.”
In a statement provided to toronto.com, EllisDon spokesperson Dustin Luchka said the company “condemns this despicable racist act.”
“Our people are not just our employees — they are our family. We know we need to do better to protect their safety, both physically and emotionally,” he wrote.
The company has launched an investigation and will upgrade the security and surveillance on the site.
This latest incident is the third since June when two nooses were found and police began investigating the incident as a hate crime. On Sept. 24, another noose was found at the same construction site.
EllisDon is addressing anti-Black racism with investigations, enhanced security and education initiatives.
An Alliance of Black Employee Experience and Leadership was created to educate all employees and sub-trades on anti-Black racism and this week was declared as ‘Say No to Anti-Black Racism’ week.
An anonymous phone reporting system and email is available and EllisDon leaders pledged to “devote key organizational changes and actions to address, change and end anti-Black systemic racism” and appointed a dedicated employee as the Head of Inclusive Diversity on its People and Culture team.
““Let’s be clear, this is the handiwork of one or two racist criminals, every other worker and leader is appalled at their hatred and cowardice,” EllisDon President Geoff Smith said in a recent statement. “These individuals are unfortunately comfortable in the knowledge that on a heavily populated and constantly changing construction site, they will be hard to identify. But I want to send a clear message: We will not stop until you are found, charged and permanently evicted from our industry.”