DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: Lakeridge Health found itself in the national spotlight last week, on the heels of a new recruitment ad targeted at Quebec residents possibly affected by that province’s controversial Values Charter.
The ad, which features a woman in a headscarf and states, "We don’t care what’s on your head. We care what’s in it," drew national attention when it went viral last week.
The Quebec Values Charter, which was recently announced by the Parti Québécois government, includes a provision that would prohibit employees in the public sector from wearing obvious religious symbols while on the job, including the wearing of kippas, turbans, burkas, hijabs and "large" crosses by civil servants.
However, Lakeridge Health CEO Kevin Empey stated the ad was not a commentary on what’s happening in Quebec, rather a recruitment tool as Lakeridge Health - which operates hospitals in Port Perry, Bowmanville, Whitby and Oshawa - continues an aggressive hiring campaign.
"Some people have accused us of trying to weigh in, but, this is not about an opinion on Quebec, and we’re not making a statement about Quebec. We are trying to show what we have available in Durham," Empey told The Standard.
Lakeridge Health employs more than 4,000 workers, and according to Mr. Empey, more employees are being added on a near-daily basis. Currently, Lakeridge Health has more than 200 vacant positions within the corporation.
"We have had great success with students from local schools, but we find ourselves having to reach further and further for those students. And, here might be an opportunity to say we’re out here, and we need you," Empey explained. "That was part of our motivation, because we’ve been really successful getting students, but we need experienced people to compliment our staff."
The ad was scheduled to run in the university newspaper at McGill this week as Lakeridge looks to broaden their recruiting efforts.
The proximity to Toronto can make recruiting difficult for Lakeridge Health, despite Oshawa being the 14th largest city in the country, Empey said.
"It can be difficult at times because we are in the shadow of a monster, and have to compete against Sick Kids, Sunnybrook and other Toronto hospitals," added Empey. "And we are always trying to increase our publicity to let people know that we’ve got great healthcare right here in Durham Region."
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