Cultural Safety and Humility

The College is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh Nations.

The College commits to addressing Indigenous-specific racism within the health-care system

On Monday, November 30, Health Minister Adrian Dix announced the release of findings from Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond’s investigation into Indigenous-specific racism in BC’s health-care system. It is disturbing to learn the extent to which Indigenous-specific racism has been embedded in the health-care system and to witness the devastating impact this has had on health outcomes for Indigenous people.

Read the summary and full reports here

The time has come to stop this cycle and work together to create a health-care system that provides all British Columbians with culturally safe and appropriate patient-centred care.

The College’s mandate is to protect the safety of BC patients by ensuring physicians and surgeons meet expected standards of practice and conduct. We recognize the collective power of a unified stance against discrimination, and we will not stay silent on such an important issue. The College will review Ms. Turpel-Lafond’s report and recommendations in detail and commit to taking swift and meaningful action to implement those directed at BC health regulators as aligned with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

Where we are today

The College is a signatory to the Declaration of Commitment to Cultural Safety and Humility, signed by all health profession regulators, the Ministry of Health, and the First Nations Health Authority in March 2017. Over the past several years, we have been on a journey to learn the truth about the experiences of BC First Nations and other Indigenous people living in the province and to take appropriate action to reconcile past harms.

We have taken steps to integrate the principles of cultural safety and humility into our organizational culture, as well as our strategic and operational plans. We have encouraged registrants, staff, Board, and committee members to undertake cultural safety training, and we have begun the work to embed the voice of Indigenous people into our governance structure.

Where we are going

While we are proud of the actions we have taken so far, Ms. Turpel-Lafond’s report highlights the uncomfortable truth that racism and inequality are as prevalent as ever in our society, and we recognize that much more needs to be done.

The College has prioritized the following actions:

  • We are drafting a practice standard for physicians and surgeons that explicitly addresses the requirement to provide culturally safe, humble, and responsive care.
  • We are critically reviewing our complaints process to identify opportunities to make it safer and more accessible to Indigenous people.
  • We will continue to provide training and education to staff, Board and committee members in cultural safety and humility, unconscious bias, and trauma-informed care.
  • In 2021, we will begin a significant rebranding process, which includes replacing the College crest, a distinctively colonial symbol, with a logo that reflects our current-day values of inclusivity and accessibility to all British Columbians.
  • We will work to consistently apply the lens of cultural safety and humility to our governance and decision-making by broadening Indigenous membership on the College Board and our committees.
  • We will invest in supports to ensure that Indigenous people do not feel isolated or unsafe when engaging with the College or when participating in any College process.  

We will continue to post updates on our journey on this page.

Commitment to cultural safety and humility in the regulation of health professionals

In 2017, all of BC's health regulators signed the Declaration of Commitment – Cultural Safety and Humility in the Regulation of Health Professionals.

The commitment

The representatives of BC's health profession regulators committed to:

Create a climate for change by:

  • Articulating the pressing need to establish cultural safety as a framework to improve First Nations and Aboriginal health services in BC.
  • Opening an honest, informed and convincing dialogue with all stakeholders to show that change is necessary.
  • Forming a coalition of influential leaders and champions who are committed to the priority of embedding cultural humility and safety into the regulation of BC health professionals.
  • Contributing to the provincial vision of a culturally safe health system as a leading strategy to enhance professional regulation in BC.
  • Encouraging, supporting and enhancing cultural safety and cultural competency amongst health professionals in BC.

Engage and enable stakeholders by:

  • Communicating the vision of culturally safe health profession regulation for First Nations and Aboriginal people in BC and the critical need for commitment and understanding on behalf of all stakeholders, health professionals and clients.
  • Openly and honestly addressing concerns and leading by example. Identifying and removing barriers to progress.
  • Monitoring and visibly celebrating accomplishments.

Implement and sustain change by:

  • Encouraging and empowering our organizations' staffs, governors and volunteers to develop cultural humility and foster a culture of cultural safety.
  • Facilitating processes where organizations and individuals can raise and address problems without fear of reprisal.
  • Leading and enabling successive waves of actions until cultural humility and safety are embedded within all levels of health professional regulation.

Our response

  • Collecting data from registrants on their Annual Licence Renewal Form about completion of the Indigenous Cultural Competency (San'yas) Training Program and providing aggregate numbers to the First Nations Health Authority.
  • Collecting data from registrants on their Annual Licence Renewal Form about whether they identify as Indigenous and providing aggregate numbers to the First Nations Health Authority.
  • Recognizing unceded territory in all formal regulatory proceedings.
  • Requiring all board members, the senior leadership team, and employees who engage directly with the public to complete the Indigenous Cultural Competency (San'yas) Training Program.