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June 5, 2019

Trans Inclusive initiative launches at Hamilton Health Sciences

Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) has officially launched its Trans Inclusive Service and Care Initiative (TISC), just in time for Pride Month. The initiative is a collection of policies, tools, and projects to make HHS a more gender-inclusive organization.

“The TISC addresses gaps in services and support for trans and gender-diverse staff and patients,” says Michele Leroux Interim VP of Human Resources. “It outlines the rights and responsibilities of all individuals at HHS to provide a truly inclusive environment.”

New all-gender washrooms

One of the most visible outcomes of the initiative is the new, designated all-gender washrooms that have been created at each HHS site. In addition, trans-affirming signage is being installed in all washrooms in the coming months. It reinforces the right of people who are transgender to use any washroom.

HHS President and CEO, Rob MacIsaac, cuts a ribbon on the new all gender washroom at McMaster University Medical Centre

HHS President and CEO, Rob MacIsaac, cuts a ribbon on the new all-gender washroom at McMaster University Medical Centre

The initiative also includes tools and supports for employees who are transitioning, along with guidelines for inclusive language and actions to better support gender diverse patients and families.

“I’ve seen some great progress to accommodate all genders”

“As health care professionals, it’s important for us to educate not just ourselves but our patients and families about gender diversity,” says Caden Craig, a social worker in the child and youth mental health program at McMaster Children’s Hospital.

Guided by the community

Caden consulted on the initiative along with other HHS clinicians, and members of the Hamilton Trans Health Coalition and Rainbow Health Ontario. He brought an important perspective as both a staff member and trans man.

“Since starting at HHS in 2016, I’ve seen some great progress to accommodate all genders,” says Caden. “This is challenging, but important work, and I’m proud to be involved. There is a strong commitment here to make everyone feel safe.”

The TISC is an evolving project and will continue to develop with input from HHS staff and the community.

“As Hamilton’s largest employer, we have a responsibility to take a leadership role in this work,” says Michele. “We owe it to our people, patients, and families.”