Statement on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

On the third annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, employees and board and committee members at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC are remembering and honouring the victims and survivors of residential schools, as well as their families and communities.

In recognition of this important day, we invite everyone, including our health partners and registrants, to reflect on the ongoing impact of the residential school system. We will be closed on Monday, October 2 (in lieu of Saturday, September 30) so employees can take time over the weekend to consider what truth and reconciliation means to them, both personally and in their work at the College.

In October 2020, the College added cultural safety and humility as one of four core pillars in its strategic plan. This meant taking real actions to address our collective role in the Indigenous-specific racism embedded in the health-care system. 

One of these actions was to rebrand the College, including retiring the crest, a colonial symbol. This project was completed in April 2023 with the launch of a new logo and visual identity that represents our commitment to accessibility and inclusivity for all British Columbians.

Critical Review of the Formal Complaints Process

Another of these actions was a review of our complaints process to make it more culturally sensitive and accessible for Indigenous people. This review was conducted by the Castlemain Group who specialize in research, engagement and collaboration with Indigenous people, communities and organizations, along with a panel of Indigenous advisors. The review identified a number of gaps in the complaints process which we are currently addressing. While it will take time and effort to revamp our complaints process, it is a critical step towards ensuring that all members of the public feel safe and supported bringing concerns about their medical care to the College.

Over the next year, in addition to actioning the recommendations from the complaints process review, we will also be evaluating how physicians and surgeons are applying the Indigenous Cultural Safety, Cultural Humility and Anti-racism practice standard, in order to ensure that we are providing the supports required for registrants to action the standard’s principles in their daily practice.

We are pleased to share the steps we have taken so far, but we also humbly recognize that we have more work to do. We are committed to continuing on the path to reconciliation and to progressing in a way that serves the needs of Indigenous people in BC now and in the future.

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