Reconciliation Commitments

BC Women’s Health Foundation will live out Truth and Reconciliation through Reflection, Inclusion, Support, and Engagement.

BC Women’s Health Foundation + Reconciliation


BC Women’s Health Foundation will live out Truth and Reconciliation through Reflection, Inclusion, Support, and Engagement. We will:

R: Consider and confront complex, long-standing, and difficult subjects. We will ask ourselves and others to listen, reflect, and challenge the racist treatment of Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit people within the healthcare system.

I: Create opportunities for greater inclusion of Indigenous voices at all levels of our organization and amplify these voices.

S: Increase and extend funding to support Indigenous-led research projects and the hiring of Indigenous staff.

E: Ensure that these relationships are proactive, honest, and enduring. We will do this through learning and leading with safety and respect to engage in reconciliation meaningfully.


Why Reconciliation?


“Reconciliation requires that a new vision, based on a commitment to mutual respect, be developed.”
– Senator Murray Sinclair, Chair, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

The lasting impacts of colonization on Indigenous peoples are clear: a history of racism and discrimination contributed to poverty and poor health outcomes for Indigenous peoples, which has continued the cycle of exclusion. We must begin rebuilding positive, productive, respectful relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

The past decade has seen a significant increase in the attention paid to reconciliation by government, non-profits, and the private sector. As a result, numerous valuable calls to action and reports have been released in the spirit of reconciliation.


The Commitment


BC Women’s Health Foundation strives to be a servant partner working alongside community to foster equitable and inclusive relationships with Indigenous peoples in British Columbia.

We especially honour the voices of Indigenous women and girls and Two-Spirit people.

When we build a framework of inclusion, respect and empowerment for Indigenous women and girls and Two-Spirit people – we uplift ALL. We believe that reconciliation is the responsibility of all of us.

BCWHF recognizes and specifically supports the following:

• The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action
• The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Calls to Justice
• The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)
The Indigenous population in Canada is the fastest growing and youngest demographic in this country. New and improved partnerships between Indigenous peoples and non-profit leaders can provide benefits to everyone and, at the same time, advance the essential work of reconciliation while always remembering that true collaboration is about reciprocity and creating shared value.

A commitment to reconciliation is also an investment in the future success of our community and, most importantly, Indigenous peoples. Everyone has a role on this journey toward Indigenous wellness, equality, and respect – in healthcare and everywhere, and BC Women’s Health Foundation is committed to learning, listening, and leading in leveraging its strengths for maximum collective impact.


BC Women’s Health Foundation Commitments to Reconciliation


The following are the BC Women’s Health Foundation’s Board-approved Commitments to Reconciliation. They were authored in conjunction with BCWHF Board member and BCIT Executive Director, Indigenous Initiatives and Partnerships, Kory Wilson. An independent environmental scan was conducted to assess comparable organizations’ work to highlight gaps and/or opportunities for BCWHF to support Indigenous women’s health. This analysis was conducted by Dr. Kim van der Woerd at Reciprocal Consulting and we additionally considered the recommendations put forth by our joint In Her Circle report.

Thematically, Reciprocal Consulting’s environmental scan identified the following five areas where insufficient action was being undertaken. They also illustrate where BCWHF can align with:

• The recommendations emanating from Dr. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond’s In Plain Sight report.
• The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.
• The Province’s UNDRIP Plan and its purpose statement: “The goals and outcomes of this action plan focus on addressing the inequities experienced by Indigenous Peoples by achieving the highest attainable standard for health and well-being.”

…and which intersect with Indigenous women / girls / gender / healthcare / research and are BCWHF mission-aligned.

As a result, the following five potential reconciliation actions were identified where BCWHF might be additive. The Foundation values the opportunity to work in community and will seek out aligned partners to help collectively leverage philanthropy in service of reconciliation with Indigenous communities.

1) Recognize culture as part of health.

In Plain Sight – Dr. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, Recommendation 19

“That a Centre for anti-racism, cultural safety and trauma-informed standards, policy, tools and leading practices be established and provide open access to health care organizations, practitioners, educational institutions and others to evidence-based instruments and expertise and to expand the capacity in the system to work collaboratively in this regard.”

2) Create, support and promote avenues to address racism in the health system.

In Plain Sight – Dr. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, Recommendation 12

“That the Ombudsperson consider including a focus on Indigenous-specific racism in the health care system as a key priority and seek input from appropriate partners on current plans to strengthen this priority through engagement, special activities to promote greater fairness in public services to Indigenous peoples, and reporting to the public on progress.”

3) Support Indigenous organizations providing addiction treatment services and engage with them on opportunities to support access barriers.

In Plain Sight – Dr. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, Recommendation 17

“That the BC government and FNHA demonstrate progress on commitments to increase access to culturally safe mental health and wellness and substance use services.”

4) Increase collaboration across sectors and advocate for improved access to social determinants of health for Indigenous women in BC.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, Recommendation 19

“We call upon the federal government, in consultation with Aboriginal peoples, to establish measurable goals to identify and close the gaps in health outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities and to publish annual progress reports and assess long-term trends. Such efforts would focus on indicators such as: infant mortality, maternal health, suicide, mental health, addictions, life expectancy, birth rates, infant and child health issues, chronic diseases, illness and injury incidence, and the availability of appropriate health services.”

5) Address the unique needs of rural and remote communities.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, Recommendation 21

“We call upon the federal government to provide sustainable funding for existing and new Aboriginal healing centres to address the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual harms caused by residential schools, and to ensure that the funding of healing centres in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories is a priority.”