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.
As one of the most accessible healthcare providers, having BC’s pharmacy professionals acknowledge racism in healthcare and pledge to work towards improving care for First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples is important in leading our provincial health system toward a more inclusive future.
Our Duty to Serve and Protect First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples in BC
Ensuring cultural safety and humility is included in the care First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples receive, is part of our duty to protect the public.
16 (1) It is the duty of a college at all times
(a) to serve and protect the public, and
(b) to exercise its powers and discharge its responsibilities under all enactments in the public interest.
First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples should feel safe and respected when receiving care from registered pharmacy professionals. They should also feel welcomed and empowered to approach the College about any issues that may occur in their receipt of pharmacy care so that we can take appropriate action.
The College has pledged to improve 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”.
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.
The Declaration 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 safety and humility 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 and Enable Stakeholders
- Communicating the vision of culturally safe health systems for First Nations and Aboriginal people 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 and Sustain Change
- Empowering health 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 safety and humility are embedded within all levels of the health system.
Understanding Cultural Humility, Safety and Systematic Racism
Cultural Safety is an outcome based on respectful engagement that recognizes and strives to address power imbalances inherent in the healthcare system. It results in an environment free of racism and discrimination, where people feel safe when receiving health care.
Cultural Humility is a process of self-reflection to understand personal and systemic conditioned biases, and to develop and maintain respectful processes and relationships based on mutual trust. Cultural humility involves humbly acknowledging oneself as a life-long learner when it comes to understanding another’s experience. Systemic Racism, also known as structural or institutional racism, is enacted through societal systems, structures and institutions in the form of “requirements, conditions, practices, policies or processes that maintain and reproduce avoidable and unfair inequalities across ethnic/racial groups” (Paradies et al., 2008).
Systemic racism is not only enacted proactively in efforts that create racialized inequality, but also in the failure by those in power (e.g. policymakers, funders) to redress such inequalities (Reading, 2013). It is commonly manifested in social exclusion and isolation that limits or prevents political and economic participation, or access to and participation in other social systems such as education and health (Reading, 2013).
(From First Nations Health Authority – #itstartswithme Creating a Climate for Change: Cultural Safety and Humility in Health Services Delivery for First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples in British Columbia)
Our Strategy for Acting on Our Commitment
The College developed a strategy to fulfill its pledge to improve BC pharmacy professionals’ work with First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples and presented the strategy to the College Board in September 2017.
We recognize that making impactful change requires working together with the First Nations Health Authority, other health regulators, pharmacy associations, First Nations groups, and others 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 taking steps towards improving 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 strategy includes actions under three themes which are based on the First Nations Health Authority’s Cultural Safety and Humility Key Drivers and Ideas for Change.
(Review the College’s strategy to fulfill its pledge to improve BC pharmacy professionals’ work with First Nations and Aboriginal People.)
In 2019, the College continued to make progress toward fulfilling its commitment to Cultural Safety and Humility.
Events and Campaigns
As part of our effort to engage with First Nations communities and promote cultural safety and humility concepts to BC’s pharmacy professionals, the College has been involved in a number of events and initiatives over the past year, including:
First Nations Health Authority Mental Health and Wellness Summit 2019
In May 2019, the College was fortunate enough to be invited back to the second annual Mental Health and Wellness Summit hosted by the First Nations Health Authority!
The 2019 Frist Nations Primary Care and Mental Health and Wellness Summit focused on weaving wholistic wellness into the health care system – bringing together the best of western medicine and First Nations traditional wellness approaches. The summit showcased the latest developments in policy, program design, and service delivery work to improve the health and wellness of BC First Nations.
As an exhibitor, we took the opportunity to connect with participants, build trust and awareness of our role as a health regulator in protecting public safety, and learn more about what cultural safety in pharmacy means to First Nations in BC.
Orange Shirt Day
September 30th has been declared Orange Shirt Day, in recognition of the harm the residential school system has left on generations of indigenous families and their communities.
The “orange shirt” refers to the new shirt that Orange Shirt Day founder, Phyllis Webstad, was given by her grandmother for her first day of school at St. Joseph’s Mission residential school in British Columbia.
Learning about the impacts of residential schools in Canada helps build cultural humility and is a step towards making our health system more culturally safe for First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples in BC.
Highlights on how the College has been taking action on action towards making our health system more culturally safe over the 2019/20 fiscal year include:
- Strengthening our ongoing relationship and partnership with the First Nations Health Authority
- Public land acknowledgements at all College Board meetings, staff meetings, engagements and presentations.
- Building awareness of our Commitment to Cultural Safety and Humility and how it impacts public safety and patient outcomes
- Collaborating with other BC Health Regulators to further cultural safety and humility as part of the Cultural Safety Working Group.
- Presented to regulated professionals at the Vancouver Regional Symposium - Cultural Awareness: Valuing Indigenous and Minority Populations in Professional Regulation, hosted by the Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation (CLEAR).
- Represented BC’s Health Regulators as an exhibitor at FNHA’s Gathering Wisdom Conference.
- Integrating Cultural Safety and Humility into College Organizational Policies
- Participating in the FNHA Mental Health and Wellness Summit
- Participating in Orange Shirt Day to build awareness of the impact of residential schools
- Developing new content for our Cultural Humility and Safety ReadLinks Series