Eagle flies up so high it looks down and sees all of humanity as one, cannot see our various nations or small differences, Eagle just sees us as one people. When we hold a feather, we remind ourselves of that perspective, and can speak with respect and honesty to each other like the family that we all are.
– Aaron Nelson-Moody / Tawx’sin Yexwulla, Artist
Eleven BC health profession regulatory colleges, including the College of Opticians of British Columbia (COBC), have adopted an Indigenous cultural safety, cultural humility, and anti-racism standard of practice. The standard sets clear expectations for how registrants of each college are to provide culturally safe and anti-racist care for Indigenous clients and patients.
In November 2020, the In Plain Sight report by Dr. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond was published. The report found widespread systemic racism against Indigenous peoples in the BC health care system that Indigenous communities in this province have long reported experiencing in the BC health care system. It also found that requirements for cultural safety and humility and addressing Indigenous-specific racism were not adequately embedded throughout policy and standards. The report recommended that “all health policy-makers, health authorities, health regulatory bodies, health organizations, health facilities, patient care quality review boards and health education programs in B.C. adopt an accreditation standard for achieving Indigenous cultural safety through cultural humility and eliminating Indigenous-specific racism that has been developed in collaboration and cooperation with Indigenous peoples.”
The BC College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC (CPSBC) collaboratively developed and launched their Indigenous Cultural Safety, Cultural Humility, and Anti-Racism standard of practice in February 2022. Development of the BCCNM and CPSBC standard included engagement and consultation with Indigenous registrants, Indigenous members of the public, and Indigenous partners and organizations such as the First Nations Health Authority.
Between January 2022 and September 2022, 11 other BC health profession regulatory colleges met to follow up on their commitments to address Indigenous-specific racism in health care and move forward with developing a standard of practice on Indigenous cultural safety, cultural humility, and anti-racism to guide registrants of their colleges. The colleges pledged to collaborate with each other to promote consistency, as recommended in the In Plain Sight report.
Words from the Knowledge Keeper regarding this work
“I heard the words of the Hon. Dr. M.E. Turpel-Lafond as did you the Luminaries of the universe of Health here in British Columbia. I have also witnessed you launch your collective canoe into an ocean of troubled waters with both Courage and Strength of heart, to bring into balance health care equity for the 150,000 First Nations People and the Citizens of British Columbia who live on our Ancestral Lands. You are doing this by addressing and alleviating the systemic racism within the Health Care System.
I am proud of you for your industry in this most important history making task and look forward to supporting into the future.”
Sulksun (Shane Pointe)
Building on the work of BCCNM and CPSBC, the 11 colleges adapted and approved the standard. The Indigenous Cultural Safety, Cultural Humility, and Anti-Racism standard of practice is now available, and registrants are expected to familiarize themselves with it.
The colleges that have adopted the Indigenous Cultural Safety, Cultural Humility, and Anti-Racism practice standard regulate more than 28,000 registrants. The standard supports the goals of eliminating Indigenous-specific racism and fostering culturally safe practice in BC’s health care system. It acknowledges that Indigenous-specific racism exists in health care and sets expectations for opticians to provide culturally safe and appropriate care to BC’s First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples.
This collaborative work was guided by Sulksun (Shane Pointe), proud member of the Coast Salish Nation and the Musqueam Indian Band, and Knowledge Keeper to all, and Joe Gallagher (k’wunəmɛn) of Tla’amin Nation, Principal at Qoqoq Consulting Ltd.
The standard is applicable to all registrants, regardless of their workplace or area of practice.
If you have questions and/or feedback, please contact COBC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 The participating colleges are: the College of Chiropractors of BC, the College of Dietitians of BC, the College of Naturopathic Physicians of BC, the College of Occupational Therapists of BC, the College of Opticians of BC, the College of Optometrists of BC, the College of Pharmacists of BC, the College of Psychologists of BC, the College of Physical Therapists of BC, the College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals of BC, and the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of BC.