Vancouver hotel issues apology for discriminatory actions of employee

VANCOUVER — A Vancouver hotel has apologized for the actions of an employee after the B.C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres said one of its members endured a humiliating interaction with the staff member. 

The association has posted a letter of apology on its website from the general manager of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Patrick Gosselin.

The letter, dated March 15, says the hotel team “deeply regrets” that the association’s cultural adviser felt discriminated against and it sets out a series of steps to immediately address the association’s concerns.

Those include retaining a cultural adviser to train staff to “understand the larger issue of systemic racism affecting Indigenous people.”

A statement from the association says it welcomes the apology and appreciates the hotel’s decision to reverse all charges related to its decision to cancel a contract for a future event at the Hyatt Regency.

The organization demanded a public apology after a hotel employee stopped its member from using a washroom during an event in February, which the association says led to the man losing control of his bladder in front of onlookers.

The hotel initially supported its employee, saying the worker was following protocol to close restrooms in unused areas of the hotel and had told the cultural adviser to use another restroom. 

The statement from the association described the hotel’s first response to the complaint as “disappointing and deeply troubling,” but says it is “grateful that the hotel is now taking steps to address this incident as seriously as it should.”

“Our hope is that this incident sparks discussion on how others can improve Indigenous cultural safety within their own circles,” says the release.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 17, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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