Cultural Safety and Humility

Intent of this Page

This page communicates COBC’s commitment to cultural safety and provides resources to the public and opticians to learn more about cultural safety and humility. We hope will help you to begin exploring this topic for yourselves and help you with your own journey of cultural safety and humility. 

If you have any amendments or suggestions for resources, please contact us at

COBC’s Commitment to Cultural Safety

Declaration of Commitment

In 2017, the Declaration of Commitment to Cultural Safety and Humility was signed by The College of Opticians of BC, our 22 other regulatory Colleges in BC, the First Nations Health Authority and the Ministry of Health. This declaration pledged a commitment to advancing cultural safety and humility among all regulated health professions in BC.

Strategic Plan

The COBC Board just completed development of a new 3-year strategic plan, which includes Cultural Safety as one of the 5 high level goals. All staff, board and committee members are expected to complete either the San’Yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training, or the Indigenous Canada course offered by the University of Alberta as an introductory first step to this topic. We continue to encourage registrants to consider using this as a learning goal with BC’s new Quality Assurance Program.  

Apology Ceremony

On July 27, 2021, 11 BC Health regulatory Colleges, including COBC, gathered with an Indigenous leader, a knowledge carrier, and witnesses in an intimate traditional ceremony to mark our commitment, action, and sincerity in being better allies to Indigenous people (First Nations, Inuit and Métis).

Under recommendation #1 of the In Plain Sight report, colleges were encouraged to issue an apology statement to illustrate our intent to be part of the change.

COBC Registrar, Lisa Bannerman signs the joint apology
Photo by Michael Sean Lee



BC Cultural Safety and Humility Standard
The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) and the Health Standards Organization (HSO) have released the British Columbia (BC) Cultural Safety and Humility Standard, a tool that will enable organizations to address indigenous-specific racism and build a culturally safe health care environment.

HSO news release regarding BC Cultural Safety and Humility Standard

FNHA news release regarding BC Cultural Safety and Humility Standard

People Powered webinar regarding BC Cultural Safety and Humility Standard

Education Courses

San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety and Humility training program. 
Facilitated by the Provincial Health Services Authority in BC, the San’yas training program is becoming a standard program for all healthcare providers. They offer core training and also a course specifically created for health care providers. 

Indigenous Canada at University of Alberta

Legislation and Government Initiatives

BC Bill 41: A Promising Start to Implementing UNDRIP
Explanation of Bill 41 and its relation to other Canadian legislation and government policies.

United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Truth and Reconciliation Commission: 94 Calls to Action

Truth and Reconciliation Commission


First Nations 101 by Lynda K. Gray

21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act by Bob Joseph

The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King

Anything from this CBC list 


FNHA Cultural Humility resources. 
Webinars and other resources about ICSH.

Indigenous Foundations by University of British Columbia
Resources on key topics relating to the histories, politics, and cultures of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. 


CBC White Coat Black Art – Cultural Safety: Making healthcare safe for Indigenous patients
An episode of the popular healthcare podcast with Dr. Brian Goldman about cultural safety and San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Program.

CBC Unreserved

Stories from across Indigenous Canada from Halifax to Haida Gwaii

Interior Voices
Created by Interior Health exploring the intersection of health and culture in the workplace, everyday life, and patient care.

Indigenous Land Rights and Reconciliation

Live panel presentations that theorize the justifications for land right from Indigenous perspectives and investigates how these understandings challenge and enrich theories in the Western tradition. 

Think Indigenous with Ryan McMahon
Presentations sharing best practices, innovation and delivery models of Indigenous education. 


CCP Case Study: Indigenous Cultural Safety and Humility

Learn how you can incorporate expanding your awareness into your learning goals for the Continuing Competency Program

Healing racism in Canadian health care. 
(English) By: Boyer Y, CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal [CMAJ], 2017 Nov 20; Vol. 189 (46), pp. E1408-E1409

Developing cultural competence in general practitioners: an integrative review of the literature.
 (English) By: Watt K; Abbott P; Reath J, BMC family practice [BMC Fam Pract], 2016 Nov 15; Vol. 17 (1), pp. 158; 

Enhancing health care equity with Indigenous populations: evidence-based strategies from an ethnographic study. 
(English) By: Browne AJ; Varcoe C; Lavoie J; Smye V; Wong ST; Krause M; Tu D; Godwin O; Khan K; Fridkin A, BMC health services research [BMC Health Serv Res], 2016 Oct 04; Vol. 16 (1), pp. 544

Unmet health needs and discrimination by healthcare providers among an Indigenous population in Toronto, Canada. 
(English) By: Kitching GT; Firestone M; Schei B; Wolfe S; Bourgeois C; O’Campo P; Rotondi M; Nisenbaum R; Maddox R; Smylie J, Canadian journal of public health [Can J Public Health], 2020 Feb; Vol. 111 (1), pp. 40-49; 

Structures last longer than intentions: creation of Ongomiizwin – Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing at the University of Manitoba. 
(English) By: Cook C; MacKinnon M; Anderson M; Whetter I, International journal of circumpolar health [Int J Circumpolar Health], 2019 Jan-Dec; Vol. 78 (2), pp. 1571381; 

What all students in healthcare training programs should learn to increase health equity: perspectives on postcolonialism and the health of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada. 
(English) By: Beavis AS; Hojjati A; Kassam A; Choudhury D; Fraser M; Masching R; Nixon SA, BMC medical education [BMC Med Educ], 2015 Sep 23; Vol. 15, pp. 155

Insiders’ Insight: Discrimination against Indigenous Peoples through the Eyes of Health Care Professionals.
(English) By: Wylie L; McConkey S, Journal of racial and ethnic health disparities [J Racial Ethn Health Disparities], 2019 Feb; Vol. 6 (1), pp. 37-45; 

“They treated me like crap and I know it was because I was Native”: The healthcare experiences of Aboriginal peoples living in Vancouver’s inner city. 
(English) By: Goodman A; Fleming K; Markwick N; Morrison T; Lagimodiere L; Kerr T; Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society, Social science & medicine (1982) [Soc Sci Med], 2017 Apr; Vol. 178, pp. 87-94; 

Barriers and Mitigating Strategies to Healthcare Access in Indigenous Communities of Canada: A Narrative Review. 
(English) By: Nguyen NH; Subhan FB; Williams K; Chan CB, Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland) [Healthcare (Basel)], ISSN: 2227-9032, 2020 Apr 26; Vol. 8 (2)

Educating for Indigenous Health Equity: An International Consensus Statement.
(English) By: Jones R; Crowshoe L; Reid P; Calam B; Curtis E; Green M; Huria T; Jacklin K; Kamaka M; Lacey C; Milroy J; Paul D; Pitama S; Walker L; Webb G; Ewen S, Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges [Acad Med], 2019 Apr; Vol. 94 (4), pp. 512-519;

Other Resources

A guide to pronunciation of Indigenous communities and organizations in BC

A guide to land acknowledgements

Whose Land

Native Land
A web-based app to help identify Indigenous nations, territories and communities across Canada and beyond.