UPDATE: Woman loses CSST after refusing to remove veil for medical exam

A tribunal has upheld a Worker Healthy and Safety Board decision to stop compensation payments to a Muslim woman who refused to remove her veil for a doctor's examination.

Bouchra Berrada suffered a broken wrist and injured shoulder in 2012, while on the job as a daycare worker.

Her doctor gave her a note attesting to the fact that she could not work.

Nine months later, the CSST ordered the woman to submit to an examination by one of their doctors.

When the doctor asked her to undress and remove her veil she refused.

La Presse reports that the doctor offered to bring a nurse in to act as a witness for the examination but the woman refused again, so he refused to sign off on the examination citing his need to carry out a proper medical examination.

The CSST Commissioner  ruled that the woman hampered the review by refusing to remove her veil after implicitly agreeing to undergo an examination to verify the injury.

Without commenting specifically on the case, Dr. Yves Robert of the Quebec College of Physicians said a thorough diagnosis is an essential part of a medical evaluation.

"When we have to do a physical examination, we have to be in the best conditions to do so," he says. "If it's not possible to have a visual examination of some parts of the body, it could be difficult to finalize a diagnosis."

Photo Credit: Martin Chamberland, La Presse

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  • 39
  1. Sam posted on 03/07/2014 07:48 AM
    This is too much. As a Muslim I feel ashamed when I see people like this.
    Now the entire community will look like an idiot. And what a timing it comes during the election. Wow unbelievable!!
    1. Marcus posted on 03/07/2014 08:31 PM
      @Sam I'm not Muslim but I 100% agree with you!
  2. Joe posted on 03/07/2014 08:14 AM
    In this climate of course this will make news. I agree with the CSST on this one because sometimes the doctor relies on the expression that the patient makes when he is handling a injury, and in this case he could not see this, and on top of that they did not even know it was the same person. I am against the Charter of Racism, but maybe to avoid this situation it should be noted that when coming to Canada you will be asked by law to show your face in certain situations. That way there will be no confusion.
    1. Richard posted on 03/09/2014 10:19 AM
      @Joe I am against the charter but I have to agree with the Doctor.
      Like Joe said the Doctor does rely on expressions plus...How does the Doctor know that this is the patient? Could be a friend or family member with an injured wrist
  3. jonico posted on 03/07/2014 08:34 AM
    Looks like she was trying to get away with this. There's always people who try to take advantage of the system, this one by hiding. So bottom line, just goes to show we don't need "Charter of Values" afterall do we PQ party?
    1. john posted on 03/07/2014 03:39 PM
      @jonico Wow from a news paper article you have decided she is a criminal. She has a strong believe in her faith, that is not a crime.
  4. questioner posted on 03/07/2014 08:45 AM
    She injured her WRIST, why should she have to undress . I am not Muslim but I would question that .
    1. Grace posted on 03/07/2014 10:45 AM
      @questioner I agree. If I injure my wrist, I would definitely question the male doctor asking me to remove all my clothing and would refuse as well. Why couldn't they find her a female doctor? That would have avoided the entire issue.
    2. Paul B posted on 03/07/2014 10:55 AM
      @questioner Removal of veil required for proof of identity.........there is so much fraud involved with csst claims, why should she be exempt ?
  5. wluis posted on 03/07/2014 09:07 AM
    And here we have one of the reason why, the "Charter" is popular.
    To give up money you need, to feed your family, just because of some made up dogmas. This is not logical.
    What about if someone slugs her on the head? Is she suppose to die?
    Where is the sense!!!
    What about all the women that don't where veils? Are they all going to hell?

    Anyone can where what ever they want ......However if your beliefs are so screwed up that you believe God will strike you down for removing a veil for a couple minutes. You have serious problems.
  6. still questioning posted on 03/07/2014 09:38 AM
    There is too much missing info . When they use the word veil" do they mean a total face covering or a head scarf . At one time Catholic nuns were said to have "taken the veil " even tho their faces were visible . There is a great deal that we do not know about this situation . She may have been trying to cheat CSST or not . The doctor may have been a person who disliked people who were "different" or not . We just don`t know .
    1. al posted on 03/13/2014 12:46 PM
      @still questioning Do they sleep with their veils.. I know for sure the nuns didn't. So why the fuss, just remove veils in doctors office..
  7. Deny posted on 03/07/2014 09:56 AM
    This is not the time to hear about any disturbances
    about religious symbols.We are facing a very important
    election, and news like this,could sway votes to the
    creators of Bill62.Cut out the nonsense before its too
    late.
  8. John posted on 03/07/2014 11:14 AM
    Am i the only one that read what her injuries were? What does removing her head dress have to do with her wrist or shoulder. What would you say to the doctor who asked your wife to remove her bra so he could check her sprained ankle? This is about respect and abuse of power. Her Doctor felt she should be off work, So CSST gets their doctor to do a follow up. Sounds like a conflict of interest to me. Allow her to see a third party independent doctor. As a former Quebecer I am beginning to be ashamed to say I am from Quebec. The Quebec I grew up in was a multicultural society where we all broke bread together, Palestinian and Jew played hockey together as did the french and English. Pauline has lead our province down a road a division we have not scene since the FLQ crisis. As Quececers we need to stand together and pit a stop to this. As Canadians we need to Stand with Quebec and let them know they are an important part of the fabric of what makes up Canada, Things are becoming very UN-Canadian. O'Canada how do we find our way back home?
    1. Joan posted on 03/07/2014 03:47 PM
      @John The doctor required positive identification. Would you have been happier if he asked to fingerprint her? You talk about a multicultural society. That requires some integration on all peoples parts. Many Canadian cities cite multicultural societies when in actual fact, what they have is pockets of ethnic, religious, etc. societies in their towns and cities that set themselves up as though they were in their own little country. Multicultural societies integrate into the country they have adopted as their new home, and realize there are things they keep and things they give up - ie removing a veil when it is called for.

      JMO
  9. Sam posted on 03/07/2014 12:09 PM
    The charter wouldn't solve this problem , or any problem. It is unreasonable for a patient to insist on a doctor of a particular gender, religion, linguistic or ethnic background etc much as it is unreasonable for a doctor to refuse to see a patient based on any of these criteria. Good care is the bottom line. The law cannot make people reasonable but it will enable and empower them to be unreasonable.
  10. jonico posted on 03/07/2014 12:37 PM
    This happened in 2012 - why is this story just breaking out now?
    1. Steve posted on 03/07/2014 07:53 PM
      @jonico It happened in 2012 (we don't know what month). It wasn't until nine months later that the CSST ordered an exam. She refused to undergo the exam. There was a ruling by the CSST against her, which she appealed and the court rendered judgement today. The delays add up. No thinfoil conspiracy.
  11. Rina posted on 03/07/2014 01:03 PM
    The CSST being who they are.. its no suprise that this went public.. especially now. This will only fuel the Carter of Rights, unfortunately.

    People's religions and beliefs are not up for intrepretation - this woman believes what she believes - however it does interfere with the examination to show expression as the doctor checks out her injuries... this is a difficult situation, but to punish her... disgusting... and shameful really.
  12. Louis posted on 03/07/2014 01:31 PM
    Im sorry rules are rules!
  13. Hamed Haeri posted on 03/07/2014 01:34 PM
    Couldn't CSST have a woman doctor to examine her! Here is where the accommodation definition seems to get blurry!!!
    1. Steve posted on 03/07/2014 07:47 PM
      @Hamed Haeri Where the woman is from, do they have female doctors? No, they don't. We have made a choice as a society that we don't discriminate on the basis of gender. The (male) doctor was doing his job and that's the end of it.
  14. Carol posted on 03/07/2014 02:05 PM
    Her wrist was the injured body part for heaven's sake. Why should she have to remove a veil from her face AND undress???? Ridiculous !!!!
    1. Steve posted on 03/07/2014 07:46 PM
      @Carol Her wrist and shoulder. The doctor can't examine the shoulder if she's wearing all her clothes.
    2. Richard posted on 03/09/2014 10:24 AM
      @Carol Her wrist and shoulder....And how does the Doctor know who he is treating if he cant see the face?
  15. Sabrina posted on 03/07/2014 02:05 PM
    Couldn't CSST have sent her to a female doctor? Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't they allowed to remove the veil if only women are present?
    1. Joe posted on 03/07/2014 02:39 PM
      @Sabrina This is why I stated above there should be a law informing people that they are required here in Canada to accommodate us in certain circumstances once i a while. If you do not like these rules choose a different country. I am sure where some people come from the benefits they are getting do not exist or they would not come here, but to get these benefits these are the rules in Canada. Understandably as I mentioned above right now in Quebec everything is magnified tenfold but it still does not take away fro the core of the discussion.
    2. john posted on 03/07/2014 03:41 PM
      @Sabrina you are correct.
  16. Nora posted on 03/07/2014 02:37 PM
    When my father and I were in Iraq on business a long time ago he used to tell me that women get their shots/injections directly through their clothing, without any prior disinfection of the skin whatsoever. This is true and not exaggerated at all. Among other things, there was a book "How to beat a woman the correct way" - how often, where, etc. If neighbours didn't hear any beating/crying, this meant marriage was not going well and had to be reported.
  17. John posted on 03/08/2014 06:10 PM
    A broken wrist doesn't take nine months to heal. If she doesn't want to
    remove her veil make her pay everything back. Also who is this doctor
    That gave her the note. Send him up to the Arctic to continue his practice.
  18. Jim posted on 03/11/2014 09:55 PM
    Don't tell me that she didn't have the option of obtaining another medical opinion from a female doctor, as if there are none available. If anyone blames her for her own personal / religious beliefs or idiosyncrasies, they should first look in the mirror and ask themselves if they would equally blame a woman for insisting on having a female gynecologist or a man a male urologist whether they be Muslim, Catholic or an atheist. Come on people! Be reasonable and flexible enough to live by the `"Vivre et laissez vivre" doctrine.
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