On March 1, 2017, the College’s Registrar, Bob Nakagawa, pledged the College’s commitment to improving BC pharmacy professionals’ work with First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples by signing the “Declaration of Cultural Safety and Humility in Health Services Delivery for First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples in BC

The College believes that cultural safety and humility are vital for the provision of fair and equal health services, as well as the creation of a healthcare environment free of racism and discrimination, where individuals feel safe and respected.

Signing the Declaration of Commitment reflects the high priority placed on advancing cultural safety and humility for First Nations people among regulated health professionals by committing to actions and processes which will ultimately embed culturally safe practices within all levels of health professional regulation.

The declaration commits the College to report on its progress within our annual report and outline strategic activities that demonstrate how we are meeting our commitment to cultural safety.

This Declaration of Commitment is based on the following guiding principles of cultural safety and humility.

Cultural Humility is a life-long process of reflection to understand individual and systemic biases and to develop and maintain respectful processes and relationships based on mutual trust. 

Cultural safety is an outcome based on respectful engagement that recognizes and strives to address power imbalances inherent in the health care system. Cultural safety is the outcome of people feeling safe when receiving health care services. 

Cultural safety must be understood, upheld and practised at all levels of the health system including governance within health profession regulatory bodies and within professional practice. 

All stakeholders, including First Nations and Aboriginal individuals, Elders, families, communities, and nations must be involved in co-development of action strategies and in the decision making process with a commitment to reciprocal accountability. 

The Declaration also consists of three main pillars:

Create a Climate for Change

  • Articulating the pressing need to ensure cultural safety within First Nations and Aboriginal health services in BC.
  • Opening an honest and convincing dialogue with all stakeholders to show that change is necessary
  • Forming a coalition of influential leaders and role models who are committed to the priority of embedding cultural humility and safety in BC health services.
  • Leading the creation of the vision for a culturally safe health system and developing a strategy to achieve the vision
  • Supporting the development of work plans and implement through available resources.

Engage & Enable Stakeholders

  • Communicating the vision of culturally safe health system for First Nations and Aboriginal peoples in BC and the absolute need for commitment and understanding on behalf of all stakeholders, partners and clients.
  • Openly and honestly addressing concerns and leading by example
  • Identifying and removing barriers to progress
  • Tracking, evaluating and visibly celebrating accomplishments

Implement & Sustain Change

  • Empowering heath organizations and individuals to innovate, develop cultural humility and foster a culture of cultural safety.
  • Allowing organizations and individuals to raise and address problems without fear of reprisal
  • Leading and enabling successive waves of actions until cultural humility and safety are embedded within all levels of the health system.

Developing a Strategy for Acting on Our Commitment to First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples in BC

The College worked on developing a strategy to fulfill its pledge to improve BC pharmacy professionals’ work with First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples over the past fiscal year.

The strategy was presented to the College Board in September 2017.

Moving forward, we recognize that working together with the First Nations Health Authority, other health regulators, pharmacy associations, First Nations groups, and others will be essential to act on our plan and create a healthcare environment free of racism and discrimination, where individuals feel safe and respected.  


The College would like to extend a great Huy chexw and Hay ce:p q̓a’ (thank you in Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Sníchim of the skwxwú7mesh úxwumixw and in hǝn̓q̓ǝmin̓ǝm̓ of xʷməθkʷəy̓əm and sel̓íl̓witulh nations)* to the First Nations Health Authority for working with the College in the development and implementation of our strategy to improve cultural humility and safety for First Nations in BC.

We appreciate their leadership and wisdom in caring for Frist Nations and Aboriginal Peoples in BC.

*Respectfully practicing the language of the sḵwx̱wú7mesh úxwumixw (Squamish), sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) nations, whose unceded and traditional territory the College of Pharmacists of BC is located


The College will reflect on its progress towards meeting its commitment each year in the annual report.

Acting on Our Commitment to Improve Cultural Humility in 2017/18

See our progress against our commitments during 2017/18

While we began to act on some elements of the strategy in 2017, the College intends to operationalize the plan in 2018. 

FNHA Mental Health and Wellness Summit

In February 2018, The College was fortunate to be a part of the first Mental Health and Wellness Summit hosted by the First Nations Health Authority.

We took the opportunity to talk with the public and members of BC’s First Nations Community about the College’s commitment to improving BC pharmacy professionals’ work with First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples, and the “Declaration of Cultural Safety and Humility in Health Services Delivery for First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples in BC.”

What We Heard

In addition to sharing our resources, we connected with local public health directors and administrators, mental health professionals, and community leaders and engaged in conversations focused on what we, as one of BC’s largest health professions, can do to advance cultural safety and humility for First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples within BC’s public health system. 

We asked them to share their thoughts on what cultural safety and humility within BC Pharmacies looks like to them so that we might share their responses with our registrants.  

Here’s what we heard…



“Pharmacies should show cultural sensitivity and be aware that many of our people fall below the economic poverty line and are not able to pay for their medicine and they should also be aware of all social programs that assist in paying for medicines to better facilitate our people in getting their medicines.” 

“Make sure there are places people can gather to talk, to belong & to access culturally appropriate services” 

“Transparency to all” 


“Always see the human, not the stats, not the stigma” 

“Kind, compassionate approach to people who have addictions” 

“Reaching out to your open indigenous community to open dialog and sharing”


“It’s time to incorporate First Nations medicine and all its healing properties, into the health system so it’s not lost.”

“Respect and understanding of Indigenous needs; Recognition of Indigenous medicines; Respectful communication with Indigenous people.” 

“The integration of both traditional and Western knowledge regarding healing” 


“Seeing people equally – as human beings regardless of what they look like or where they come from” 

“Honesty and Respect and Open mindedness” 

“Being open, respectful, positive and non-judgmental” 

Thank you to the over 50 participants who shared their thoughts with us and contributed to our continued efforts toward improving BC Pharmacy Professionals’ work with First Nations and Aboriginal People. 

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