Skip to main content

Statement of Intent – Cultural Safety & Humility in BCCNM Standards


Nov 30, 2020

BCCNM acknowledges that systemic and inter-personal racism against Indigenous peoples exists in the BC health care system and recognizes that our existing standards have not adequately established clear expectations for nurses and midwives. This has potentially contributed to health care environments in which Indigenous persons feel unsafe. Racist and discriminatory behaviour by registrants will not be tolerated and allegations of such behaviour will be investigated by the BCCNM Inquiry, Discipline and Monitoring department.

BCCNM has committed to support the dismantling of discrimination against Indigenous peoples inherent in the health care system. Our commitment to do so will come from thoughtful engagement with Indigenous communities and partners and through self-reflection on our own implicit and explicit biases. We will address power imbalances in the health care system by promoting environments free from discrimination and developing respectful processes and relationships grounded in cultural humility and mutual trust.

BCCNM will undertake a process to develop new standards for culturally safe and humble and responsive care. The following considerations will guide the process:

  • Seeking participation from BC First Nations and other Indigenous peoples from across the province to ensure these standards are meaningful and relevant.
  • Recognizing that consulting about improving health care will require significant care, effort, commitment, and sensitivity.

We intend to begin consultation early in 2021 and have standards implemented after we go through a thorough development process. In the interim we want to remind registrants of existing standards that require nurses and midwives to provide culturally safe care.

  1. It is a basic expectation under the Human Rights Code that direct or indirect racist or discriminatory behaviour by any registrant is unacceptable and unlawful. 
  2. Midwives have a number of standards that require registrants to provide safe care. Midwives should reflect on their Standards of Practice and the Code of Ethics for principles that outline these obligations.
  3. All nurses should review the Duty to Provide Care and Duty to Report practice standards to understand their obligations to clients, and to understand their duties to report unsafe care.
  4. Each nursing group has Professional Standards, which cover a wide variety of areas, including requiring safe, competent, and ethical care, a client-centred focus and professionalism.

These standards broadly require BCCNM registrants to provide safe, competent, and ethical client-focused care. In the coming months we will work to create specific standards for cultural safety that establish clear requirements to support the client’s decision making, and working in partnership with the client, family, and community. The standards will support nurses’ commitment and journey of life-long learning and cultural humility.