Lisa-Marie Langaigne is seeking to have her termination rescinded and to continue her work in Nunavut as a nurse. Photo courtesy of Lisa-Marie Langaigne

Lisa-Marie Langaigne is seeking to have her termination rescinded and to continue her work in Nunavut as a nurse.

Two former nurses in the Kitikmeot contend that the Registered Nurses Association of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut (RNANTNU) didn’t give them fair process when it came to complaints made about them.

One nurse is hoping to take a stand and change things for the better, despite her experiences with the organization.

Lisa-Marie Langaigne, the former nurse-in-charge of Kugaaruk, who is black, wrote about her experiences with the nursing organization and with the Government of Nunavut (GN), citing experiences with workplace harassment, bullying and racism while in an indeterminate position in Taloyoak. Langaigne accepted the position on May 11, 2020 and says she worked there without incident until Aug. 11, 2020, at which time another employee took the position as the community health nurse at the Taloyoak health centre.

Langaigne worked with this new employee and experienced, in her opinion, targeted harassment, with “excessive, persistent and threatening emails.” The new employee was “confronting me publicly” and “coming to my home,” she alleges.

The individual in question filed a complaint with RNANTNU, which resulted in Langaigne losing her job, as well as the suspension of her nursing licence for nearly nine months – not just in Nunavut, but nationwide. She states she found out about her suspension not from RNANTNU, but the College of Nurses of Ontario.

She successfully appealed the licence suspension in court on June 18 of this year. However, she’s still seeking to get her employment back in Nunavut.

Rachelle Mintz, another former Taloyoak nurse, says she wasn’t given a fair process before losing her job. Mintz was accused by the same employee as Langaigne of being racist and a COVID conspiracy theorist and says few of her co-workers were contacted to confirm these accusations, Mintz says she is fully vaccinated herself.

Langaigne also added the accusations didn’t reflect the Mintz she met while still in Nunavut.

“The turnover rate in Nunavut is extremely high,” said Mintz, adding that she has talked to at least seven nurses who plan to quit the profession full-time or don’t plan to work in Nunavut again.

Langaigne said, “I think it’s the leadership style in the Kitikmeot right now that may be contributing to that.”

She lists several causes of “frustration,” including difficulties securing a contract, flights itineraries coming late, frequently being short-staffed and generally feeling unsupported.

When it came time for the GN’s Department of Human Resources to get involved, it was clear to Langaigne she wasn’t going to get a fair chance with them, alleging that the human resources manager denied her any representation by the Nunavut Employee’s Union (NEU) on Nov. 6, 2020, in a meeting in which her employment was ultimately terminated. She also states in her letter that she asked for the nature of the meeting to be disclosed and then for a lawyer to be present when that was refused. She was told the presence of her legal counsel was not permitted.

Workers’ rights

If an employee is facing a disciplinary hearing of any kind, they are entitled to an NEU representative, either present in the room or on the phone call, once they are no longer an employee under an NEU agreement, then any remaining grievances are to be addressed legally.

In an email to Nunavut News, NEU stated that it “first ensures all members are treated fairly and with respect under the applicable Collective Agreement, employer’s published guidelines/policies as well as all territorial and federal regulations.”

With regards to bullying, harassment and retribution for whistle-blowing or other factors which lead to discipline or dismissal, “the NEU stands by and with our members through any inquiries or actions.

“If required, grievance procedures are followed to ensure that members’ rights and dignity are respected (and) any wrongdoing on the part of the employer is redressed.”

Langaigne, when asked if she felt her rights and dignity as an employee under an NEU Collective Agreement were respected by Human Resources, she said, “Not at all, they basically dismissed my complaint, in spite of dated and timed events, emails that I provided to them showing the types of behavior I was sustaining. They didn’t even appoint an investigator to look into the matter.

“HR is the one that demanded that I vacate the residence and evicted me. It was on a Friday evening, they wanted me out by five o’clock, they gave me notice on two o’clock the same day. So no, I don’t think so at all.”

She was unable to return to her staff housing in Kugaaruk to retrieve her belongings – where they remain.

The Department of Human Resources has declined to comment on this meeting, saying its a Department of Health matter.

RNANTNU does not have any specific policies that deal with bullying and harassment in the workplace, says Denise Bowen, executive director/registrar for the association.

A statement from RNANTNU says the organization expects registered nurses to read and follow its code of ethics.

“Our standards of practice, standard number 4, requires that nurses establish professional relationships and demonstrate leadership to deliver quality nursing and health-care services,” the statement reads.

As of Sept. 16, Langaigne still has no explanation as to why her licence was suspended. She says she has tried multiple times to achieve resolution in this matter but hasn’t received a response. She has since reported her complaints to the Nunavut Human Rights Tribunal and the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Nunavut.

“Ultimately, I have lost access to my home and my community, to my profession and career, to my friends and social groups, to the language I was learning and to all of my personal effects. These organizations (GN and RNANTNU) are directly culpable,” Langaigne wrote in her open letter. “To my knowledge, at least two of the other nurses who were victims of the GN’s support of … targeted actions are also seeking to return to their homes and work in Nunavut… This is why the majority of nurses do not stay. This is how we are treated and what we face on a daily basis.”

Accountability

In spite of all of her recent negative experiences with human resources and RNANTNU, Langaigne is hoping to work in Nunavut once again, not only to help provide healthcare to Nunavummiut, but to improve the nursing system by going public about this and making RNANTNU more accountable.

Langaigne also hopes to see Nunavut make a commitment towards inequity and diversity committees, with decisions based on allegations and discrimination to be in the hands of panels rather than handled by individuals who may not have similar lived experience.

With Nunavut long facing a shortage of nursing staff, she hopes to make effective change to a health system she says is in crisis.

“I want my job back. I want to go back and work in Nunavut. I think the health system there is really in crisis. I’m somebody here who has a lot of nursing experience and have lived there for four years, happily. I want to go back and continue that work,” she said. “Maybe I’m naive, but I truly want to make things better. I think an organization, by taking accountability, by saying, ‘You know what? We messed up here. We could have handled this better and this is what we’re going to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future,’ (would be) a big win for everybody.”

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18 Comments

  1. Very bias article. One would think two organizations would not suspend and fire multiple people unless there is just cause. My knowledge of the nursing college and associations are that they do very in-depth investigations and try alternative forms of remediation. If licenses were suspended these nurses did something bad!

    I would think there is more to this than meets the eye. I would be interested to know if this nurse is seeking financial compensation rather than her job back.

    1. GN is full of bad actors not being kept in check. The worst of the worst are kept around the longest. There is no consistent HR process in GN and peoples rights are violated daily. Certain people are protected regardless of how badly they act. I have witnessed the absolute worst behavior in GN including bullying/harassment and the bully is usually protected. It is as if the GN wants to cultivate an abusive work place. What is the ethics commissioner doing??????? This is a systematic failure of government.

  2. While I can’t answer whether the GN bullies employees or not, I have no affiliation. The academic in me has many questions to ask as this article is heavily bias and one sided.

    I also feel that either organization would not just fire/suspend someone without just cause. Companies and organizations must be accountable. One would think checks and balances would be in place to answer legal questions as these organizations would suspect legal repercussions. While many people may not like GN decisions employees must be held accountable.

    A quick search of Nunavut contracts makes me believe a nurse in charge would be part of a confidential group and not the NEU; therefore, if I am correct in this matter there would be discrepancies with this article and further bias.

    1. I have witnessed countless nurses bullied by the GN pushed out of jobs. Nurses who are phenomenal left crying and having panic attacks and MH issues after dealing with the GN. It’s a absolute abuse of power. Nurses who want to stay to make the community better are pushed away and told not to socialize with locals. While other who have temper tantrums set literal fires, bully, sexually harass and bootleg in dry communities are able to stay.
      One of the directors said they prefer casual nurses as they have more control over staffing and are “stuck with indeterminate nurses.”
      There are multiple complaints from nurses online about GN with similar complaints but they are ignored.

    2. I’m confused about your reservation to what has been reported in the article. Academics evaluate evidence and draw conclusions from data. But your replies communicate inherent trust of organizations and distrust of professionals. The article even says the nurse appealed her license suspension in court successfully. That would mean a Court had evidence in favour of the nurse and not the nurses association. And a nurse or doctor can’t work in their profession without a license. So, I’m not sure why you seem to be resistant. Once a license is gone, so is the employment.

    3. I’m not saying that the GN is a wonderful institution that never does anything wrong. What I am saying is the facts in this article are bias, missing another perspective multiple people and organizations are being accused, what was the accusation made toward the nurse in question? Broad statements are being delivered rather than giving specifics. Was Nunavut news provided the suspension letter or dismissal letter? We hear people mentioning science, please remember science is driven by facts, and we the readers have not been given all the facts to make an educated decision. I am not taking sides, but what I read is a one-sided narrative and it is important to remember every story has three sides.

  3. Both Rachelle and Lisa Marie were one of thee best nurses to have in Taloyoak!!! It was that stupid head nurse that was here and no longer here.

  4. My name is Willy Tchuilen Ngatcha. Lisa – Marie Langaigne I want to join my efforts to yours to make that bad behaviors from the cited institutions towards BLACK NURSES AND ALL OTHERS NURSES to stop. Nurses Lives matter – NLM .

  5. This is interesting. I had complaint about a Doctor who was abusive and GN Patient Relations would not tell me who oversees the Doctors so I could complain about the doctor.

  6. The GN’s Dept if HR is chronically understaffed and the few staff it has are hopelessly overworked and not well trained to function in the kind of broken system that is the GN. The leadership from the DM and ADM is questionable. The Dept. doesn’t follow its own HR policies and as a result of not nipping issues in the bud, they escalate beyond belief to the detriment of all involved, including the public that then remains unserved and justifiably mistrusting. There is no speaking truth to power in the GN, only abuse of anyone who is without strong union representation or – worse yet – any union at all. Mob bullying, gossip mongering, favouritism, nepotism, changing job descriptions and job qualifications to promote friends….the GN is so very broken.

  7. The canadian government by the prime minister Justin Trudeau need to investigate on what is happening in Nunavut with the GN and in the North West Territories with RNANT NU regarding the situation of Bullying and harassment of nurses, particularly black nurses. Enough is enough. #NURSESLIVESMATTER#

    Here is a link concerning a similar story of bullying and harassment of nurse as the one of Lisa Marie Langaigne. RNANTNU and the GN are one more time involved.

    These situations have broken the life of nurses involved in these situation of bullying and harassment against their person.

    Just read. You will make your idea on all this situations happening in Nunavut.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cbc.ca/amp/1.5636907

    ———————————- FRENCH VERSION

    Le gouvernement canadien par le premier ministre Justin Trudeau doit enquêter sur ce qui se passe au Nunavut avec le GN et dans les Territoires du Nord-Ouest avec RNANT NU concernant la situation d’intimidation et de harcèlement des infirmières, en particulier des infirmières noires. Trop c’est trop. #NURSESLIVESMATTER#

    Voici un lien concernant une histoire d’intimidation et de harcèlement d’infirmière similaire à celle de Lisa Marie Langaigne. Le RNANTNU et le GN sont une fois de plus impliqués.

    Ces situations ont brisé la vie d’infirmières impliquées dans ces situations d’intimidation et de harcèlement contre leur personne.

    Lisez simplement. Vous ferez votre idée sur toutes ces situations qui se passent au Nunavut.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cbc.ca/amp/1.5636907

  8. HOW CAN YOU EXPLAIN THIS ?

    – This is what is mentioned on the work contract of M. Tchuilen Ngatcha given to him by the Government of Nunavut:

    >

    In 37 days after M. Tchuilen Ngatcha had joined his workplace (Whale Cove, NU) for his probationary period of 12 months, four (4) nurses assisted by a member of RNANTNU built out of all pieces 42 falses, frivolous and vexatious allegations against the professional conduct of M. Tchuilen Ngatcha who is a nurse trained in Quebec and Ontario (uOttawa) with a honor Cum Laude at the end of his nursing studies.

    M. Tchuilen Ngatcha was never called for a fact finding meeting after the first allegation was built out of all pieces by the nurses. The GN had never mentioned to him that he had poor performance. No opportunity to improve the performance was given to M. Tchuilen Ngatcha if that was the case.

    All the allegations were built on the back of M. Tchuilen Ngatcha. He was not aware of nothing. He was informed of that the day that he was tired to stay on his workplace waiting tireless for his orientation to start. He asked to be sent out of the community (Iqaluit) for his orientation. He was informed during his trip to Iqaluit, in Ranking Inlet, where he was waiting after his correspondance flight to Iqaluit. 37 days after the nurses started to built false, frivolous and vexatious allegations against his professional conduct.

    On the documents exchanged between RNANTNU and others institutions (GN, Ontario nurse body, Quebec nurse body, Manitoba nurse body) with the goal to end the nursing career of M. Tchuilen Ngatcha, we can clearly see on some of them that it is mentioned what follow: >

    The GN had never respect what he has written on the contract of M. Tchuilen Ngatcha. The GN had never protect his employe (M. Tchuilen Ngatcha) against the virulent agent of RNANTNU who conducted the bullying of M. Tchuilen Ngatcha. Things was done under the nose of the GN by RNANTNU, looking clearly like if they were both together, in their fight against M. Tchuilen Ngatcha.

    With this case, it a clear proof that things are going bad in Nunavut in what the nurses situation are concern. Racism, discrimination and bullying of nurses, particularly black nurses.

    M. Tchuilen have fought this battle just by his self. It is not finish yet. In November 9th, 2021 he will be back in front of the Nunavut court of justice where he is asking for annulation of all decisions and order taken against him which are based on false, frivolous and vexatious allegations against his professional conduct.

    They have end his nursing career and have spoiled his name in front of the nurse body of Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta.

    M. Tchuilen was trained as a nurse in Canada, he ends he training with honore (Cum Laude). A group of persons have decided to end his nurse career because he is black, male, french speaking person and was an African native Canadian.

    All this was made with the harassment of M. Tchuilen Ngatcha on his workplace and via a blatant conspiracy against his person.

    The prime minister of Canada with his colleagues (Quebec, Nunavut, Ontario and Northwest territories) need to take action against this injustice against nurses and particularly against black nurses.

    The journey of M. Tchuilen Ngatcha only last 37 days in Whale Cove Nunavut and end up with 42 allegations against his professional conduct, the withdraw of his license to practice nursing in Quebec and Nunavut, the compromise of his right to practice nursing in Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta. M. Tchuilen Ngatcha was hired as an indeterminate nurse by the GN in dec. 2016 and his job was terminated on January 2017. His life (social, professional, community) is now broken.

    M. Tchuilen Ngatcha is still fighting and he strongly believe that : THE TRUTH WILL TRIOMPH.

    We need nurses at this moment to take care of Canadian particularly during this COVID-19 pandemy. A group of people hiding their self in the back of institutions (RNANTNU, GN and more) and abusing their function and their role in these institutions are just harassing proud and valiant Canadians who have chosen to work hard in order to support Canada in his effort to be a famous place where people from all colors, all languages, all origin and both gender are happy for a living.

    #NURSESLIVESMATTER – NLM#

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