Memo to Winnipeg hospital staff: Speak English only, please

But social banter amongst workers hard to regulate, says lawyer
By Amanda Silliker
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/23/2013

The Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg issued a memo in early March reminding staff members they should only be speaking English on the job — whether it be to each other or patients.

“We’ve had a number of complaints from workers but we’ve also had patient and family complaints,” said Karen Clearwater, senior legal counsel for human resources at the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. “The posting was a reminder to use that common- sense approach.”

The English-only rule has been in place at the 6,500-employee centre for several years and partially stems from a need to ensure clear patient services are being provided, she said. It is important that staff are providing services to patients and their families in a common language.