TPS advised hospital workers to dress inconspicuously ahead of "Freedom Convoy"
A memo shared by healthcare workers showed that Toronto Police advised them to dress inconspicuously ahead of protests this weekend.
The memo was sent as “Freedom Convoy” supporters are expected to descend on Toronto over the weekend near Queen’s Park, just minutes away from three major hospitals.
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“Out of an abundance of caution, Toronto Police Services suggests that you not wear clothing which might identify you as a hospital worker on your way to or from work,” the memo reads.
Coo…. #rememeberwhentheyclappedforus? pic.twitter.com/ZCAJzzT1XE
— a gray (@drgray17) February 3, 2022
Toronto healthcare workers quickly shared the memo on Twitter, and the Toronto Police Service faced backlash. Hospital workers were quick to condemn the memo, saying that protestors should not force them to hide the type of work they do.
no no no toronto police — we don’t need the memo: “not to look like health workers to avoid harm.” we will keep doing our job. we need you to do yours to keep us safe and every patient/family who needs care.
— Andrew Baback Boozary MD (@drandrewb) February 3, 2022
Many people are calling out the advice in light of a recently passed Bill C-3 that makes it illegal to harass or intimidate healthcare workers in Canada. Many healthcare workers referenced a time early in the pandemic when they would change shifts to the sound of banging pots and pans, clapping and cheering.
Toronto police telling healthworkers not to dress to provoke white supremacists same way women are told not to dress to provoke rapists.
— Birgit Umaigba RN, MEd (@birgitomo) February 3, 2022
2020: “Hey let’s bang pots and pans”
2022: “Please don’t wear clothing that might identify you as a hospital worker”
— David Juurlink (@DavidJuurlink) February 3, 2022
In response to the backlash, Toronto Police Service tweeted that they wouldn’t direct hospital workers on what to wear to work.
To clarify some commentary today, we would not direct healthcare staff on whether or not to wear uniforms.
Healthcare workers remain a priority for the Toronto Police and officers will be present around hospitals this weekend to ensure they feel safe going to and from work.
— Toronto Police (@TorontoPolice) February 4, 2022
Healthcare workers were quick to respond with screenshots of their own memos asking why they were being advised to do so. Toronto Police didn’t respond to their tweets.
So are you denying that you suggested this? I got this email at my work today. pic.twitter.com/aWzh6bWtuL
— Dr. Amit Arya (@AmitAryaMD) February 4, 2022