Cultural Safety

Supporting increased cultural competency and safety throughout Northern Health

Cultural Safety: Respect and Dignity in Relationships

Key priority

Supporting the health care system to be culturally safe for Indigenous people is one of our top priorities. All our programs and initiatives work toward inclusive health services and a health care system respectful of Indigenous people in northern BC. For example:

  • our team members can support Northern Health leaders and staff by: providing Indigenous-specific health resources including presentations, tools and processes, actively participating on Northern Health committees and working groups, and engaging Indigenous individuals and communities. Learn more...

  • we purchase seats annually for Northern Health employees to take the Sanyas Indigenous Cultural Safety training

  • we support AHICs to develop local cultural resources for health practitioners to learn about Indigenous peoples and communities in northern BC

  • we are developing a webinar series to share and discuss local cultural resources developed by AHICs

Activities and resources

We are working on specific cultural safety activities and resources to increase awareness, understanding and capacity within Northern Health to provide culturally safe services. For example:

Learn more

There are several key terms related to realizing cultural safety in health service delivery. Those terms include:

Cultural Humility

Cultural humility is a lifelong journey of self-reflection and learning. It involves listening without judgement and being open to learning from and about others. It involves learning about our own culture and our biases. Cultural humility is a building block for cultural safety. It is an overarching principle that is threaded through our learning and acts as the process by which change can occur.

Cultural Awareness

The journey of cultural humility often starts with cultural awareness – recognizing that differences and similarities exist between cultures. Learning about the histories that impact Indigenous peoples in Canada is an important part of developing cultural awareness.

Cultural Sensitivity

Cultural sensitivity grows when we start to see the influences of our own culture and acknowledge that we have biases. This can be an eye-opening experience, and it may take courage and humility to walk this path. Cultural sensitivity is NOT about treating everyone the same.

With cultural awareness and sensitivity comes a responsibility to act respectfully.

Cultural Competence

We can increase our cultural competence by developing knowledge, skills and attitudes for working effectively and respectfully with diverse people. It’s about reducing the number of assumptions we make about people based on our biases. Cultural competency does not require us to become experts in cultures different from our own.

Cultural Safety

The goal of cultural safety is for all people to feel respected and safe when they interact with the health care system. Culturally safe health care services are free of racism and discrimination. People are supported to draw strengths from their identity, culture and community.

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