Nine BC health profession regulatory colleges, including CDBC, have jointly released a comprehensive progress report outlining Indigenous cultural safety, humility, and anti-racism activities in the two years since signing a Statement of Apology and Commitment to Action.
The release of this Joint Apology and Commitment to Action 2021-2023 Report coincides with and recognizes Orange Shirt Day and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, both on September 30, 2023. This day also marks the one-year anniversary of the ceremony held with 11 BC health profession regulatory colleges to launch the Indigenous Cultural Safety, Humility, and Anti-Racism Standard of Practice.
On July 27, 2021, registrars from 11 BC health profession regulatory colleges gathered with an Indigenous leader, Knowledge Carrier, and witnesses in a ceremony to sign the Joint Statement of Apology and Commitment to Action in response to the In Plain Sight report (PDF) that provided evidence of stereotyping, discrimination, racism, and abuse experienced by Indigenous people accessing the BC health care system.
Since then, the colleges have initiated and completed a number of activities that demonstrate their accountability to Indigenous peoples and contribute to the important work of dismantling systemic Indigenous racism in healthcare. The Joint Apology and Commitment to Action 2021-2023 Report states: “In 2021 we committed to report on the work and progress we are making. In this report, we describe the actions we have taken to uphold this commitment, to be accountable to and transparent with Indigenous peoples who have shown courage and vulnerability in coming forward with their stories. Our intention is to demonstrate relational accountability in this way to create and maintain authentic and reciprocal relationships with Indigenous communities and to ensure that this work continues.”
Nine colleges – regulating the practice of chiropractors, dietitians, naturopathic physicians, occupational therapists, opticians, optometrists, physical therapists, speech and hearing health professionals, and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners and acupuncturists – provided information about their activities to include in the report. Indigenous partners provided feedback on the report in three rounds of reviews.
In the July 2021 Commitment to Action, colleges committed to working together on cultural safety, humility, and anti-racism initiatives. The Joint Apology and Commitment to Action 2021-2023 Report outlines steps taken collaboratively, including the following examples:
- Cultural safety, humility, and anti-racism training: Colleges have participated in a range of joint learning opportunities for staff, Board, and committee members.
- Cultural Safety, Humility, and Anti-Racism Standard of Practice: On September 30, 2022, CDBC launched the Indigenous Cultural Safety, Humility, and Anti-Racism Practice Standard. The standard sets clear expectations for how registrants are to provide culturally safe and anti-racist care for Indigenous clients.
- Safe Spaces: Six colleges are participating in the Safe Spaces project, led by the BC College of Nurses and Midwives and consulting firm Qoqoq, which is developing a set of standards for addressing Indigenous-specific racism, eliminating white supremacy, and upholding cultural safety in Board and committee work.
Colleges have also taken steps as individual organizations that are outlined in the Joint Apology and Commitment to Action 2021-2023 Report, including improving data collection, improving Indigenous representation on boards and committees and offering cultural safety, humility, and anti-racism training to staff, board, and committee members with Indigenous Knowledge Keepers and consultants.
In the report’s summary, the colleges recognize “that we are at the beginning of a lifelong journey that is personal and professional, individual and collective … We remain committed to this work, recognizing that we must be persistent in acknowledging and dismantling historic and ongoing Indigenous-specific racism everywhere that it exists.”