March 21st is International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination 

Posted on: March 21, 2024

Discrimination of any kind is a serious issue and addressing racial discrimination requires efforts of various levels, including the implementation of legal reforms, education, fostering dialogue for understanding, and taking action. In Canada, International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is an opportunity to reflect on the fact that while progress has been made, Indigenous Peoples and racialized communities continue to face racism and discrimination every day.  


Racism and Health 

Racism is a key determinant of health and well-being, and influences access to health promoting resources. Compared to non-racialized people, racialized populations and social group experience stressors including inter-personal and systemic discrimination throughout the life course. The Canadian Human Rights Commission notes that Indigenous, Black, and other racialized people in Canada have consistently reported poorer health care outcomes in areas such as heart disease, diabetes, substance abuse, and mental illness.

Indigenous, Black, and other racialized people in Canada face health stressors such as unequal economic opportunities, poor housing; precarious work, underutilization of screening programs, and overall mistrust of the health care system. 

- Canadian Human Rights Commission (2023) 


Resources for Actions: 


The Colleague Coalition for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour Employee Resource Group (BIPOC ERG) Coming April 2024 

The Colleague Coalition is a network where Island Health BIPOC employees can come together, connect, share experiences and inform/influence organization priorities. BIPOC employees from all lines of work, across all professional disciplines are invited to join the ERG. By coming together, we hope to celebrate diverse perspectives, encourage leadership and involvement from staff from diverse backgrounds, share resources, foster open and ongoing dialogues and advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion across our organization. 


Meetings will take place on a monthly basis, and together the group will determine how they want to participate in influencing organizational culture change and priority setting. Managers, Supervisors and Leadership to do their best to support staff to attend. If you are interested in being part of The Colleague Coalition for BIPOC, please email with your name, Island Health email address and your title/role. 


At Island Health, we are committed to addressing racism within the organization as a key priority reflected in our 2020-25 Strategic Framework. Patients, clients and families will be the centre of their own health and care. We will support all people to participate as fully as they can in their health and care journey within a system free of discrimination, racism and stigma. People will be enabled through timely and open access to their health information. We understand people are experts in their own lives, and we will support them in making choices about their care and respect their right to determine the level of risk they accept. 

The Indigenous Cultural Safety, Cultural Humility and Anti-Racism Standard , which The BC College of Nurse and Midwives (BCCNM) developed in collaboration with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC (CPSBC), is a new practice standard in response to the In Plain Sight report and as part of BC health profession's pledges to reduce experiences of Indigenous-specific racism and to make our health system more culturally safe for Indigenous peoples.  ​


COURSE – IH ICS Learning Journey Course – see ICS Learning Journey

From Bystander to Ally explores how you can become an effective ally when witnessing racism, bias, or stereotypes directed toward an Indigenous person. This is a one-hour per week, 6-week, self-paced and facilitated eLearning course, designed to build awareness and skills about how to identify and interrupt racism at the interpersonal level.

Prerequisite: San'yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Core Health Training - ICS (Online) and Blanket Exercise or Relational Practice, It Begins with You!

CBC Unmasking Racism: Unmasking Racism is a virtual town-hall segment on systematic racism that explores solutions to build safe, more inclusive communities in BC. 

(Video) Province of BC, Anti-Racism Virtual Townhall: ​This virtual townhall focusses on ways people, organizations, and communities can fight racism and make sure BC is a safe and welcoming place for everyone. A special focus is on ways to take action and address systemic racism. 


Promote the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination with the Government of Canada Digital Toolkit 

Be Anti-racist:  BC's Office of Human Rights Commissioner examines what stands between an anti-racist province and us.