Indigenous Cultural Safety

The CPBC Indigenous Cultural Competency Task Force, established in 2016, has led the CPBC commitment to Indigenous Cultural Safety, and has provided professional guidance through the Indigenous Cultural Safety Checklist and a recorded Cultural Safety Workshop in 2018. The checklist is available on the Practice Support website page, and the 2018 workshop is available to College registrants through the registrant portal on the website. These resources have also been made available to psychology training programs province wide. The Quality Assurance Committee endorsed the San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training Course for the CPBC Continuing Competency Program (CCP) in 2018 and has continuously encouraged registrants to include learnings and activities related to Indigenous Cultural Safely in their annual CCP plans. Beginning in 2022, registrants are required to ensure that they are engaging in regular consideration of Indigenous Cultural Safety and Humility issues, and to document this by identifying which relevant learnings and activities they have undertaken in their annual CCP report to the College.

On March 1st, 2017, Dr. Andrea Kowaz, on behalf of the College of Psychologists of British Columbia, joined with registrars of the other BC health professions regulatory bodies in signing the Declaration of Commitment to the Cultural Safety and Humility in the Regulation of Health Professionals Serving First Nations and Aboriginal People in British Columbia. The Declaration reflects the high priority placed on advancing cultural safety and humility for Indigenous people among regulated health professionals by committing to actions and processes which will ultimately embed culturally safe practices within all levels of health professional regulation. All regulatory bodies have committed to report on their progress via annual reports outlining strategic activities which demonstrate how they are meeting their commitment to cultural safety.

In April of 2021, the College provided free of charge to registrants a workshop entitled “Cultural Safety and Humility – It Starts With Me.” Led by an Indigenous expert, the workshop covered Cultural Safety concepts, the history of colonization, and concluded with a call to action on how registrants could put Cultural Safety into practice. More than 25% of CPBC registrants participated. Following on the success of that workshop, CPBC was pleased to work with members of the Association of Canadian Psychology Regulating Organizations (ACPRO) to sponsor a similar workshop made available to registered psychologists across Canada. That workshop was over-subscribed and well received.

On June 7th, 2021, the College of Psychologists Board and Registrar published An Apology to Indigenous Peoples and a Pledge to Be Anti-Racist, with an apology to Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) and communities who have experienced racism while engaging with the College and with the psychology professionals the College regulates. They acknowledge that Indigenous Peoples have waited far too long for their legal rights to be recognized, and they have waited too long for health-system leaders to dismantle the racism that was built into our colonial health-care system—racism that continues to cause harm to this day.

On September 30, 2022 the College of Psychologists joined ten other regulatory colleges in a ceremony marking the College’s adoption of a joint Indigenous Cultural Safety and Humility and Anti-racism Standard. This practice standard supports the joint apology and commitment to action signed by the health profession colleges on July 27, 2021. It was adapted, with permission, from the Indigenous Cultural Safety, Cultural Humility and Anti-racism Practice Standard that was developed collaboratively by the BC College of Nurses and Midwives and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC (Jan 2022). The BCCNM and CPSBC standard involved extensive consultation with Indigenous people and guidance from Indigenous leaders. The College of Psychologists’ Indigenous Cultural Safety and Humility and Anti-racism Standard may be found here.

Additional First Nations Health Authority Resources:

The report of the Canadian Psychological Association and the Psychology Foundation of Canada Task Force on Responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Report: