Sept. 30, 2021 will mark Canada's first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation “to commemorate the history and ongoing trauma caused by residential schools and to honour those who were lost and the survivors, families and communities who continue to grieve."
BCCNM, together with the BC Health Regulators Society (BCHR) and its member colleges, acknowledge the atrocities of the residential school system. We share in the sorrow and outrage expressed by First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples, and all Canadians. We are also accountable to a broader call to action to eliminate anti-Indigenous racism across Canadian society. As regulators of 120,000 health professionals in BC, we have a leadership role in creating more culturally safe experiences and supportive health-care environments for Indigenous people.
The designation of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as an annual statutory day fulfills a recommendation made by the
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which in 2015 issued
94 calls to action as part of its mandate to inform all Canadians about what happened in residential schools.
The September 30 date is also observed as
Orange Shirt Day, promoting recognition of the colonial legacy of residential schools and commitment to the ongoing process of reconciliation.
The history of Canada's residential schools is part of a larger story of colonialism that also saw segregated “Indian Hospitals" operating during the 1930s through to the 1970s and 80s, including in British Columbia.
Indigenous-specific racism and discrimination in BC health care persists, both through bias shown by individual health-care professionals, as well as health system structures and practices that disadvantage Indigenous Peoples.
We recognize the harmful impacts of racism directed towards Indigenous Peoples in British Columbia's health-care system. We are committed to working with our fellow regulators and other partners on shared initiatives that will support all regulated health professionals in delivering care with a greater focus on Cultural Safety and Humility. Our work to date includes:
In addition to our work as part of BCHR, we are also pleased to share our organization's action plan,
BCCNM's Commitment: Constructive disruption to Indigenous-specific racism amongst B.C. Nurses and Midwives. The release of the
In Plain Sight report last year underscored the urgent need for all partners in the health-care system to take swift and decisive action to dismantle the systemic racism that has led to such poor health outcomes for First Nations, Métis and Inuit (Indigenous) Peoples. BCCNM's action plan reflects our commitment to enacting the recommendations put forth in the report and lays out a roadmap for BCCNM to follow as we work to make the health-care system culturally safe.
We recognize that learning more about Cultural Safety and Humility, and using this knowledge to change practice, is an ongoing journey. We are grateful for our partnerships with the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) and other organizations, which are supporting our efforts by sharing resources, providing educational opportunities, and offering counsel.