HARMONY JOHNSON AND BRIAN SIMMERS
VICE PRESIDENT, INDIGENOUS WELLNESS & RECONCILIATION AND CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER AND VICE PRESIDENT, PEOPLE & HEALTH INFORMATICS
The federal government has designated September 30, recently known as Orange Shirt Day, as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Recently, the provincial government has indicated support for this day of commemoration by directing all provincial public sector employers to recognize September 30 as a statutory holiday in 2021. Over the coming months, the government of BC will work with Indigenous leaders, organizations and communities on the best and most respectful ways to mark Truth and Reconciliation Day in future years. Read more in the government statement.
At Providence, we are working to implement this new statutory holiday to commemorate the history and ongoing trauma caused by the residential school system, and to honour the 150,000 Indigenous children forcibly taken from their families, those children who never returned home and the survivors, families and communities who continue to grieve.
We will share more information soon about impacts to staff scheduling and more broadly our plans to commemorate this important day.
As health care providers, we are accountable to address Indigenous-specific racism and discrimination in health care, as outlined in the In Plain Sight Report, as part of our commitment to anti-Indigenous racism, anti-colonialism and cultural safety and humility.
We urge all non-Indigenous staff and medical staff to continue to learn the truth of our shared history and the atrocities committed in residential schools – horrific truths many Canadians are only now coming to terms with, yet known by Indigenous Peoples for decades – to accept it and to learn from it.
As we continue on our individual and collective journeys of truth, justice and reconciliation, we reflect and honour the commitment that we make every single day to uphold the dignity and well-being of the Indigenous patients we serve, and to embed reconciliation “in everything we do”.
To support your continued learning about Indigenous cultural safety, truth and reconciliation, the Indigenous Wellness and Reconciliation (IWR) team has curated a list of Indigenous Cultural Safety Resources. We are holding each other accountable for intentional action.
Together, we must do the work to stop Indigenous-specific racism in BC health care and to support Indigenous rights, dignity and well-being.
If you have any questions about the new statutory holiday, please speak with your leader/manager.