September 30, 2022

Statement on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

On the second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC would like to recognize the tragic legacy of residential schools and acknowledge the ongoing impact of colonization on Indigenous Peoples.

The College encourages registrants to observe this important day with their staff and their patients, and to take time to deepen their understanding of cultural safety and humility. The College has compiled a list of learning resources to encourage continual learning on this topic.

College employees were encouraged to wear orange today and to reflect on their personal truth and reconciliation journeys. Each day this week, employees have been invited to meet and listen to a series of lectures titled All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward, from journalist Tanya Talaga, which explore the legacy of cultural genocide against Indigenous Peoples.

As part of its mandate to protect the safety of BC patients, the College is committed to eliminating the cycle of Indigenous-specific racism that is embedded in the province’s health-care system. We are also committed to inviting Indigenous voices and integrating the principles of cultural safety and humility into our governance, organizational culture, strategic plan and operations.

College board members at blanketing ceremony
Board members participate in an Indigenous blanketing ceremony

In March 2017, the College 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. In June this year, the College Board renewed its commitment to embed cultural safety and humility into the College's regulatory processes through an Indigenous blanketing ceremony. In the presence of an Indigenous facilitator, a Knowledge Keeper, and witnesses from other health organizations, board members had the opportunity to stand together and pledge to continue this important work.

The new Indigenous Cultural Safety, Cultural Humility and Anti-racism practice standard, approved by the Board in February 2022, is one way the College is ensuring patients receive culturally safe care. This standard was developed in collaboration with the BC College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) and guided by two experienced advisors to ensure Indigenous voices and perspectives were heard. The College and BCCNM also launched of a series of educational videos to guide BC’s 77,000 physicians, surgeons, nurses, and midwives in applying the new practice standard.

The College is in the middle of a review to identify opportunities to make the complaints process more accessible to Indigenous Peoples. This review is a critical step for the College to undertake in acknowledging our colonial past and demonstrating our steadfast commitment to truth and reconciliation. It will also shed light on how we can encourage Indigenous Peoples to bring forward concerns about their care and identify opportunities for the process to be better informed through a lens of cultural safety and humility.

We are grateful to report on these actions towards becoming anti-racist and supporting the physicians and surgeons we regulate to do the same. Nevertheless, we recognize that upholding Indigenous rights, eliminating racism within the health-care system, and earning the trust of Indigenous Peoples requires consistent and persistent concrete actions. We are dedicated to the ongoing journey of practising cultural safety and humility and recognize that much work remains.

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