As a group, Indigenous peoples in Canada have poorer health status and shorter life expectancies than other Canadians. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has called on the health care system to increase Indigenous self-determination and improve western-based systems to make them culturally safe.
In 2018, TBDHU embarked on a journey to become a culturally safe organization. The plan was launched in February of 2018 and represented the first step toward building cultural safety. Staff cultural competency training is one aspect of a larger effort described in the TBDHU Strategic Plan.
Indigenous people comprise a significant and growing proportion of the Thunder Bay and District population. TBDHU is committed to working with Indigenous people and organizations to improve health outcomes and reduce health inequities. “As cultural competency and trusting relationships are fundamental to advancing these efforts, the Senior Management Team endorsed this as a priority for all staff in 2018,” stated Lynda Roberts, Director of Health Promotion.
The first step in improving cultural competency within the TBDHU workplace was a foundational training provided to all staff throughout 2018. The training consisted of a combination of individual online and group in-person training. By the end of 2018, 84% of staff had completed all eight requirements of the foundational training, with the remainder having completed portions of the training.
Moving forward for 2019, the foundational training plan has been evaluated and revised for new staff. Additional optional training opportunities will also be provided to staff who wish to continue their journey towards increasing cultural competency.