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​​​​​Recommendations for Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in B.C. Health Care

November 30, 2020

The report from Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond’s independent investigation into Indigenous-specific racism in B.C.’s healthcare sector was released on Monday, November 30. Dr. Turpel-Lafond described “widespread and insidious” issues in B.C.’s healthcare system during the briefing held to share the findings and summarize the 24 recommendations contained in the report.

”This report provides a blueprint for fundamental changes to beliefs, behaviours and systems that are necessary in order for us to root out racism and discrimination and ensure that the basic human rights of Indigenous people to respect, dignity and equitable health care are upheld."

—​Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, independent reviewer


Minister of Health Adrian Dix called for system reform and issued a bold apology on behalf of the province, stating a commitment to address systemic racism by taking decisive action on the recommendations contained in the report.

”The core of our response will be action: action to implement the recommendations, action to ensure that Indigenous leaders are fully included in any response, action to see that change happens.”

—Adrian Dix, Minister of Health​



The issues identified through the investigation include -- but are not limited to -- mistrust and fear of the health-care system due to the prevalence of stereotypes, discrimination, racism and abuse experienced by Indigenous people. This results in reduced access to healthcare and avoidance of healthcare, which is detrimental to the health status of Indigenous people.

The following recommendations contained in the report will have direct implications for CDSBC as a health regulatory body:

  • Develop a joint strategy to improve the patient complaint processes to address individual and systemic Indigenous-specific racism (recommendation #5).
  • Collaborate with Indigenous peoples to develop and adopt an accreditation standard for achieving Indigenous cultural safety (recommendation​ #8).
  • Recruit Indigenous individuals to senior positions to oversee and promote needed system change (recommendation #14)

The College of Dental Surgeons will take definitive action to respond to the recommendations in this investigation. To that end, we will engage Indigenous expertise to ensure that Indigenous people who contact CDSBC will have a respectful, culturally safe experience. We will make the necessary changes in all aspects of our regulatory functions in order to dismantle systemic racism. We believe that this work is critical and necessary to improve health outcomes for B.C.'s Indigenous people. ​

At its November 20 meeting, the CDSBC Board approved the development of progress targets for board members, committee members and staff (in recognition that CDSBC is a signatory to the Declaration of Commitment to Cultural Safety and Humility), and the development of a strategy to ensure a culturally safe experience for Indigenous people who contact CDSBC.

Learn More

The full report, In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in B.C. Health Care, is available here: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/613/2020/11/In-Plain-Sight-Full-Report.pdf (A summary version of the report is here).

Read the BC government’s media release here: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/addressingracism/review-recommends-steps-to-solve-widespread-racism-in-b-c-health-care/