Yesterday, the report In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in B.C. Health Care was released by BC Minister of Health Adrian Dix and independent reviewer Dr. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond (Aki-Kwe).

On behalf of British Columbia’s family physicians, the BCCFP apologizes to all those who have experienced racism at the hands of health care providers. We acknowledge the harm and pain caused to Indigenous people and their communities as a result of both systemic and individual acts of racism perpetrated by health care providers. This racism is not just historical – it is ongoing.

Racism in health care is proven to result in substandard care, unequal access, harm, and death. 84% of Indigenous people who took part in the investigation reported experiencing discrimination in the health care system. Over half of the Indigenous health care workers who took part stated that they had personally experienced racism at work because of their Indigenous identity. This behaviour was most frequently exhibited by a colleague or fellow student (74%). We must acknowledge the role family physicians play in systemic racism and work together to end it.

BCCFP President Dr. Marjorie Docherty says, “Family physicians are very concerned about the disturbing findings of this report. We feel deeply for those who have been impacted by racism in the health care system. The collective health and well-being of British Columbians relies on every resident receiving equitable, quality care, which is what we as primary care providers strive for. As family physicians, we must practise cultural safety and humility in our work every day. We need to understand and address the needs of Indigenous patients. I encourage all family physicians to make themselves aware of the report’s findings and recommendations and come together as a specialty to make a positive ongoing impact for equity in health care.”

Reading and understanding this report is an essential opportunity for family physicians to come together and advocate for positive changes in health care that respect all people and address the needs of Indigenous populations. Our Board will be taking time to review the report in full and will work with our Cultural Safety and Humility Working Group to implement recommended actions.

We encourage our members to read the report and join us in committing to immediate action.

Recommended cultural safety and humility resources and activities can be found on our website here. Please advise us of any further resources you have found helpful.

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