BC Health Regulators (BCHR) supports federal Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller’s October 8 call for an urgent meeting on systemic racism in health. This call to action was prompted by the mistreatment of Joyce Echaquan, an Atikamekw woman who recorded staff making racist statements shortly before her death in a Quebec hospital.
The circumstances surrounding Ms. Echaquan’s death underline the need for more action to identify and address racism within Canada’s health care system
As health regulators with a duty to protect patients, we seek to learn more about the nature and extent of racist behaviour directed at Indigenous peoples in our health system. We are committed to developing new initiatives that support BC’s 120,000 regulated health professionals to deliver care with a greater focus on cultural safety and humility.
In 2017, BCHR signed the Declaration of Commitment – Cultural Safety and Humility in the Regulation of Health Professionals. Since then, we have partnered with the First Nations Health Authority and participated in activities to advance the integration of cultural safety and humility within our organizations.
We recognize that while progress has been made over the past three years, much more needs to be done. We are committed to continuing this important work so that in Indigenous Peoples in BC receive qualified, safe, and ethical care from health care professionals who integrate cultural safety and humility into their practices.
BCHR maintains our commitment to support Addressing Racism: An Independent Investigation into Indigenous-specific Racism in BC Health Care led by Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond.
Our member colleges continue to respond to the investigation team’s requests for information about current health regulatory practices. We thank all registrants who have shared their experiences directly with the team or completed the BC health care workers’ survey, which is now closed. Registrants can still contact the investigation team to share their experiences of discrimination in health care. .
Each of BCHR’s member colleges has well-established, transparent processes to investigate complaints about the conduct or competence of registrants, and the authority to impose disciplinary measures if warranted.
Under the Health Professions Act, regulated health professionals have a duty to report a registrant (of any regulatory college) if, on reasonable and probable grounds, they believe that the continued practice of a designated health profession by the other person might constitute a danger to the public.
Unethical and unprofessional conduct, such as racist behaviour impacting care, constitutes a danger to the public. BCHR reminds registrants that they have a collective duty to hold each other accountable for the care they provide. Where there may be danger to the public, registrants are required to report that to authorities including the appropriate college.
For more information, visit the BCHR website.