Cultural Safety and Humility

Cultural humility involves educating health professionals on the history of the treatment of Indigenous peoples throughout Canadian history and facilitate self-reflection in understanding personal and systemic biases that may prevent Indigenous peoples from accessing health care. It aims to develop relationships based on reciprocal trust and listening, while acknowledging oneself as a learner when it comes to understanding another’s experience.

Cultural safety is an outcome based on respectful engagement that recognizes and strives to address power imbalances inherent to health care relationships. It results in an environment free of racism and discrimination, where people feel safe and supported to access, receive, and make informed decisions about their health care.

 On March 1, 2017, all BC Health Regulators declared their commitment to making the health system more culturally safe for Indigenous peoples by signing the Declaration of Commitment to Cultural Safety and Humility. Signing the Declaration of Commitment reflects the priority placed on advancing Indigenous cultural safety and humility among Dietitians by committing to actions and processes which will ultimately embed culturally safe practices within all levels of health professional regulation. You can find more information on what the College’s response to date is in our Annual Report.

The regulation of the dietetic profession shares national entry-level competencies, a national education program accreditation system and a national registration examination. The latest revised version of the competencies (2020) includes detailed wording for cultural safety and humility, especially towards Indigenous peoples (practice competency 2.03). The CDBC Standards of Practice were approved by the Board in 2016 and include seventeen standards divided into four pillars of practice. Out of the seventeen standards, six standards speak to elements of cultural competence and concepts:

  1. Professional and Ethical Practice (standard 4, ethical practice and standard 6, informed consent)
  2. Communication and Collaboration (standard 9, clear, respectful and culturally sensitive communication)
  3. Client-centered Services (standard 12, quality client-centered service that reflects client context, needs, values and goals, standard 13, evidence-informed service inclusive of client perspective and circumstances, and standard 14, use of critical thinking to incorporate elements of cultural competence and patient advocacy in care planning.

The CDBC acknowledges that when it comes to cultural safety and humility with Indigenous peoples, it needs to start with all of us. We remain committed to exercise our mandate of public safety and support more inclusive and equal health care delivery to Indigenous peoples through the regulation of dietitians.