On November 30, 2020, the Ministry of Health of British Columbia released a report detailing the results of a large-scale public investigation into Indigenous-specific racism in the BC health system: In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-Specific Racism and Discrimination in BC Health Care. This in-depth report details the many systems of colonialism working to create environments of racism and discrimination resulting in unsafe health services for Indigenous peoples in what is now commonly called British Columbia.
COBC is one of 11 health profession regulators in BC who have pledged a commitment to making the BC health system culturally safer and anti-racist for Indigenous peoples as outlined in a Joint Statement of Apology and Commitments to Action signed in July 2021. As part of meeting this commitment, COBC endeavours to gather information to better understand its registrants’ demographics.
To assist COBC in gathering this information, registrants will have the option of answering a few new questions on their registration renewal application starting in 2023. Licensed Opticians will have the option to self-identify as Indigenous and also indicate whether they would be interested in being contacted by COBC about opportunities to provide their perspectives on regulatory issues. Answering these questions is optional and will not affect the outcome of the renewal application in any way. The questions will remain available in the online portal, so registrants can update their answers at any time.
Anonymized information gathered from registrants’ answers to these questions may be shared in aggregate form with stakeholders such as the First Nations Health Authority, the Ministry of Health, universities, associations, and others, to inform program development and initiatives. COBC may also use this information to review its processes and programs to better meet the unique needs of Indigenous peoples, including Licensed Opticians who identify as Indigenous.