Cultural safety and humility
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The time has come to stop the cycle of Indigenous-specific racism that is embedded in BC’s health-care system. Our mandate is to protect the safety of BC patients by ensuring physicians and surgeons meet expected standards of practice and conduct. As part of that mandate, we are committed to inviting the voice of Indigenous people into our governance structure and operations.
Where we are today
In March 2017, we signed the Declaration of Commitment to Cultural Safety and Humility, alongside all health profession regulators, the Ministry of Health, and the First Nations Health Authority.
Since signing the declaration, we have taken steps to create, enable and sustain a climate for change by:
- recognizing unceded territory in all formal regulatory proceedings
- collecting data from registrants at annual licence renewal time regarding the completion of the San’yas Anti-Racism Indigenous Cultural Safety Training Program and whether they identify as Indigenous (these numbers are then reported to the First Nations Health Authority)
- requiring all board members, the senior leadership team, and employees who engage directly with the public to complete the San’yas Anti-Racism Indigenous Cultural Safety Training Program
- introducing a standard for registrants that explicitly addresses the requirement to provide culturally safe, humble, and responsive care
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC is located on the unceded and traditional territory of the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ speaking peoples―the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) and sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, and the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh-ulh Sníchim speaking peoples―the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) Nation.
We acknowledge the rights and title of BC First Nations whose territories span across the province. These territories recognize that laws, governance, and health systems tied to lands and waters have existed here since time immemorial.
Priorities for future change
While we are proud of our actions so far, the In Plain Sight report (2020) into Indigenous-specific racism in BC’s health-care system revealed much more needs to be done. The report highlights the uncomfortable truth that racism and inequality are as prevalent as ever in our society.
We recognize we can do more and are focused on the following priorities:
- actively reviewing our complaints process in order to make it more accessible to Indigenous people.
- engaging in continuous training and educating ourselves and our board and committee members in cultural safety and humility, unconscious bias, and trauma-informed care
- replacing the College crest, which is a distinctly colonial symbol, as part of a significant rebranding process
- holding space for Indigenous membership on the College Board and committees
- investing in supports to ensure a safe environment for Indigenous people engaging with the College
This standard sets out expectations for registrants to incorporate cultural safety and humility into their practice
We invited Indigenous registrants and patients to share their thoughts and feedback on the practice standard's development and implementation