"Enduring Strength" by frankieleon / CC BY 2.0

Atheist nurse wins fight to end mandatory 12-step addiction treatment for health staff in Vancouver

Dec 12, 2019

By Bethany Lindsay

Health-care professionals who work in Vancouver-area hospitals and medical clinics will no longer be required to attend 12-step programs if they want to keep their jobs after being diagnosed with addiction.

The change comes as a result of a settlement between public health authority Vancouver Coastal Health and former nurse Byron Wood, who filed a human rights complaint alleging he was discriminated against as an atheist when he was fired for quitting Alcoholics Anonymous.

Wood told CBC the agreement was reached after a month of negotiations.

“I’m really happy about the outcome — it means that VCH employees are not required to attend 12-step rehab centres, 12-step meetings, or participate in any 12-step activities if they object for religious reasons,” he said in an email.

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