Skip to main content

Addressing Indigenous-specific racism with a new cultural safety and humility standard

May 4, 2021

BCCNM and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia (CPSBC) are collaborating on drafting a standard to set expectations for registrants for providing culturally safe and humble care to Indigenous clients.

Why do we need a new standard?

On Oct. 24, 2019, the Government of British Columbia passed Bill 41, which recognizes and protects the rights of Indigenous Peoples. The legislation required the development of an action plan to achieve alignment with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, ensuring transparency and accountability throughout the process. This legislation is supported by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action reports, which have been significant contributors to our knowledge and understanding of the violence and racism experienced by Indigenous people in Canada.

On Nov. 30, 2020, Health Minister Adrian Dix released findings from an independent review, led by Dr. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, into the extent of Indigenous-specific racism in B.C.'s health-care system. The findings released in this report, titled In Plain Sight, showed the devastating impact Indigenous-specific racism has on health outcomes for Indigenous Peoples in BC.

Where are we in the process?

The college's mandate is to protect the safety of B.C. patients and clients by ensuring registrants meet expected standards of practice and conduct. BCCNM acknowledges that systemic and inter-personal racism against Indigenous Peoples exists in the B.C. health care system and we recognize that our existing standards have not adequately set clear expectations for nurses and midwives.

BCCNM has committed to taking swift and meaningful action to implement the recommendations put forth in the In Plain Sight report. This includes drafting principles for a new Cultural Safety and Humility practice standard to clearly communicate the College's expectations for registrants to provide culturally safe care to Indigenous clients.

As we develop a draft standard over the next few months, we recognize the importance of engaging with Indigenous Peoples from all groups (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) throughout the development process to ensure a standard is created with input from those whom it is meant to serve.

Next steps

BCCNM will continue to engage with key audiences and partners over the coming weeks. BCCNM will be meeting with Indigenous nurses and midwives, educators, employers, and others.

BCCNM anticipates this standard will be ready in late Fall 2021. There will be opportunities for registrants to provide feedback on the draft standard in late summer/early fall.


Please email

900 – 200 Granville St
Vancouver, BC  V6C 1S4

​Toll-free 1.866.880.7101 (within Canada only) ​

We acknowledge the rights and title of the First Nations on whose collective unceded territories encompass the land base colonially known as British Columbia. We give specific thanks to the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ speaking peoples the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) and sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations and the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh-ulh Sníchim speaking Peoples the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation), on whose unceded territories BCCNM’s office is located. We also give thanks for the medicines of these territories and recognize that laws, governance, and health systems tied to these lands and waters have existed here for over 9000 years.

We also acknowledge the unique and distinct rights, including rights to health and wellness, of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples from elsewhere in Canada who now live in British Columbia. As leaders in the settler health system, we acknowledge our responsibilities to these rights under international, national, and provincial law.​