This past week, the Executive Team discussed the U.S. travel ban, what the University of Toronto is doing to help those affected and what University Health Network can do to support our students and people who work here who travel internationally for their work in education, research and care. In listening to the news reports about individuals who have been denied entry to the U.S. and questioned on a variety of matters including their individual support for the Trump Presidency, it is evident that there is no clarity, that the travel ban is being interpreted by individuals at each border point with little or no consistency, and that the issue of the travel ban is now headed to the Supreme Court of the United States, given yesterday's ruling and Trump's statements about returning to the court.

Given all of this, the Executive Team wants to make it clear that we will fully support individual decisions about travel to the U.S. and will do what we can to help anyone caught in this situation. This includes:

  • Ensuring that everyone at UHN is aware of the efforts being made by the University of Toronto to support students from the 7 listed countries.  Information about this may be found at this link.
  • Backing individual decisions about travelling or not travelling to the U.S. even if this means that money that has been spent for conferences fees, accommodation or airfare cannot be refunded.​ Nobody at UHN should feel that they must travel if they are not comfortable doing so and there will be no expectation that monies expended will need to be repaid.
  • Ensuring that all UHN employees are aware of our Employee Assistance Program which is available to everyone at UHN through this link. The support offered by EAP is confidential and there is no sharing of information about those accessing the service with UHN.

It is up to all of us to maintain an open, free and accepting society for all people in Canada. It is up to each of us to stand up and speak up if we see actions or speech that isn't supportive of these values. This has been a particularly difficult time for those who are Muslim and we must all support, encourage and celebrate people of the Muslim faith – and all faiths.

As a country, we have recently opened our doors and our hearts to refugees from Syria. However, this is but one instance in a tradition of openness and inclusion which represents the best of who we are. Canada is far from perfect and its history includes times and actions which reflect the very worst in the human condition but we must keep working together to create and maintain a better society for all of the people who call this land home.

Peter WT Pisters, MD, MHCM
President and Chief Executive Officer
University Health Network​

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