Engaging with Indigenous Communities
We recognize that social work oversight impacts Indigenous peoples who access social work services and those who practice social work, both in communities and in urban environments. This engagement will help develop an understanding of the impacts and priorities on this issue.
We are committed to engaging directly with Indigenous communities on a government-to-government level, inclusive of all Indigenous peoples in British Columbia who choose to participate, including First Nations peoples, Métis peoples and Inuit. We recognize the critical importance of building strong relationships based on recognition, rights, respect and co-operation.
Through this process, we are exploring issues related to equity, inclusion, anti-racism, and truth and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. We recognize lasting and meaningful truth and reconciliation is an ongoing process – and we see this engagement as an opportunity to move forward in that journey. This includes actively working to address and eliminate colonialism, racism, and the denial of the rights of Indigenous peoples.
Engagement included, for example:
- Exploring how the current oversight model can adapt to the specific needs and priorities of Indigenous communities and individuals;
- Finding opportunities to address systemic racism from the social work oversight model;
- Finding opportunities to improve quality of care and outcomes for Indigenous peoples who access social work services;
- Exploring potential tensions between social work oversight and a multi-jurisdictional model of child welfare; and
- Finding opportunities to better support truth and reconciliation with Indigenous communities, families, and individuals.
We are committed to early, consistent and transparent engagement with Indigenous peoples, in alignment with our constitutional obligations, section 3 of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This includes upholding and honouring Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination, and free, prior and informed consent on actions that affect them.
We are committed to doing this work in a way that is respectful, transparent and culturally safe. That said, we recognize that cultural safety – while often defined as a physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually safe environment, without challenge, ignorance or denial of an individual’s identity – is a priority outcome and can only be defined by the Indigenous person on an individual level.
We will ensure we have the free, prior and informed consent from all Indigenous people we engage with – particularly before sharing the stories we hear during the engagement. This aligns with our responsibilities under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
When preparing the What We Heard Report, we will reflect the stories gathered in a respectful and accurate way, while honouring the unique voices and perspectives brought forward during the engagement.