For decades, caregivers were not allowed to accompany children on medical evacuation flights in Quebec.

However, that’s changed thanks in part to a publicity campaign called “A Hand to Hold.”

One of the people behind the campaign, Dr. Samir Shaheen-Hussain, is a paediatrician and assistant professor at McGill, and was one of the ones who spearheaded the initiative.

He calls the practice of not allowing caregivers on the plane an example of “medical colonialism,” since it's often affected the Inuit population.

The practice changed back in June, but Dr. Shaheen-Hussain says that although the practice is gone, that doesn’t necessarily mean the overall situation is remedied.

Dr. Shaheen-Hussain says he’d like to know why it took so long for the practice to change, and thinks it has to do with how Inuit families are perceived compared to white families.

As he puts it, it’s a solid example of the fact that there is some level of systemic racism in Quebec.

“The current CAQ government has historically denied the very existence of systemic racism. I think one of the important issues here is that systemic racism isn’t something that’s been drawn out of someone’s imagination,” Dr. Shaheen-Hussain explained.

“There are hard facts, there are scientific papers that demonstrate, in a medical context, how systemic racism impacts clinical care,” he added.

 Watch the full interview with Dr. Shaheen-Hussain above.