Indigenous Anti-Racism, Cultural Safety & Humility (IARCS&H)

The mandate of the College is to protect the public by ensuring people receive safe, ethical, and effective occupational therapy services. This mandate includes the protection of Indigenous clients.

In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-Specific Racism and Discrimination in BC Health Care, a report led by Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond and released in partnership with the Ministry of Health, details the many systems of colonialism working to create environments of racism and discrimination. These result in unsafe health care services for Indigenous peoples in what is now commonly called British Columbia.

“This stereotyping, discrimination, and prejudice results in a range of negative impacts, harm, and even death.”

– Turpel-Lafond, 2020, p.2

As stated in the document What Have We Learned: Principles of Truth and Reconciliation by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015), reconciliation “is a process of healing of relationships that requires public truth sharing, apology, and commemoration that acknowledge and redress past harms” (p.3).

The First Nations Health Authority defines Cultural Humility as “a process of self-reflection to understand personal and systemic biases and to develop and maintain respectful processes and relationships based on mutual trust. Cultural humility involves humbly acknowledging oneself as a learner when it comes to understanding another’s experience.”

Cultural Safety is “an outcome based on respectful engagement that recognizes and strives to address power imbalances inherent in the health care system. It results in an environment free of racism and discrimination, where people feel safe when receiving health care.”

As further explained by Lecturer in Indigenous Health, Robyn Williams (1999), Cultural Safety is also: “more or less – an environment, which is safe for people; where there is no assault, challenge or denial of their identity, of who they are and what, they need. It is about shared respect, shared meaning, shared knowledge and experience, of learning together with dignity, and truly listening.”

The content included in this section of COTBC’s website represents the College’s ongoing efforts to share the truth, provide a deeper understanding of what cultural humility and safety is, and to provide supportive learning resources to occupational therapists and the public.

Artwork by Sage Paul

Land Acknowledgement

The COTBC office is located on the traditional territory of the W̱SÁNEĆ (Saanich) peoples, including the BOḰEĆEN (Pauquachin), SȾÁ,UTW̱ (Tsawout), W̱JOȽEȽP (Tsartlip), and W̱SÍḴEM (Tseycum) First Nations, who have had a special relationship with this land since time immemorial. We are grateful visitors here where we conduct our important work.

Our Commitment to Indigenous Anti-Racism, Culturally Safe Care

Understand why cultural safety and humility are important.

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Colonization & Its Impacts on Health Care

Understand colonialism and its ongoing impact on Indigenous health and wellness.

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IARCS&H Resources

Find valuable resources, foundational documents and courses to build your competencies.

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Our IARCS&H Initiatives

Review the College’s activities to embed cultural safety and humility throughout our culture, governance, and daily operations.

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