Honouring National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

September 29, 2022 |
Truth and Reconciliation

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (formerly known as Orange Shirt Day) is observed on September 30 to honour the lost children and Survivors of residential schools. It is a day to commemorate the history and legacy caused by residential schools and to honour everyone who continues to grieve.

CPSM cannot move forward with our reconciliation efforts if we don't acknowledge the history of residential schools and their long-lasting impacts. We must listen to Survivors, their families, communities and others affected by the residential school system and educate ourselves about their experiences.

We invite you to read, watch, and learn from the resources located at the bottom of the page. 

Update on CPSM's Pursuit of Reconciliation

In June 2021, CPSM Council made addressing Indigenous-specific racism in medical practice a Strategic Organizational Priority. Since then, CPSM has formed a Truth and Reconciliation Advisory Circle, which meets regularly. We are grateful for the Indigenous physicians, scholars, Elders, and Knowledge Keepers who share their stories, experiences, knowledge, and guidance. 


We will not see change until all practitioners recognize how medical care is impacted by Indigenous-specific racism. CSPM will act on the seven recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Advisory Circle, which Council has endorsed.

1. Apology and Statement by CPSM on Indigenous-Specific Racism

Indigenous-specific racism continues to exist in the medical profession resulting in harm to Indigenous People. Racism, like many social determinants of health, harms health outcomes. We recognize that CPSM has fallen short in regulating Indigenous-specific racism in the medical profession. We must now acknowledge this racism exists, cite specific failures, apologize, and express our commitment to change.

2. Land acknowledgement

While CPSM has been using a land acknowledgement that honours the traditional lands where CPSM registrants practice and all applicable treaties, we will develop a more purposeful land acknowledgement. It will recognize the current and historical role CPSM and its registrants play in the health of Indigenous patients and commit to reconciliation with specific actions. 

3. Standard of Practice

Introducing a Standard of Practice will assist practitioners with requirements to make medical care safer for Indigenous patients.

4. Restorative Justice Approach to Complaints and Investigations

Restorative Justice emphasizes repairing or restoring relationships, fixing the damage, and preventing further harm from occurring. This approach is collaborative and engaging for all parties involved.

This initiative includes creating an open culture for receiving and addressing the complaints made by Indigenous patients.

5. Indigenous-Specific Anti-Racism Training

As the Honourable Murray Sinclair has stated, "Education is what got us into this mess, and education will get us out." 

While Manitoba-educated medical graduates from recent years will have comprehensive training in Indigenous health care, other registrants may have no training or background on the topic. It is crucial to establish a baseline of Indigenous intercultural competence in Manitoba; recent Statistics Canada data shows that Manitoba's population had the highest share of Indigenous people and Winnipeg is home to the largest Indigenous population in Canada.   

Requiring a baseline Indigenous intercultural competence for all registrants will provide knowledge on the issues that reconciliation seeks to address to assist in interactions with Indigenous patients and Indigenous medical practitioners.

6. Leadership Opportunities for Indigenous Physicians

Pursuing reconciliation requires listening to the voice of Indigenous Peoples and physicians. Creating better support for Indigenous physicians is a significant part of this initiative. 

7. Defining Indigenous Racism

To acknowledge the existence of Indigenous-specific racism and to develop initiatives to address this form of racism, it is necessary to define it. That includes citing instances and examples of racial discrimination in the medical profession.

These initiatives will take time and we will continue to engage the TRC Advisory Circle. We may encounter discomfort and make mistakes along the way, but this is a priority and we move forward with humility.

We hope you will join CPSM and its staff in honouring the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, whether it is through personal reflection, engaging in education and learning, or actively participating in community events.

We invite you to view the following resources for residential school history:


Residential School Timeline 


Residential Schools in Canada: A Timeline 


The Canadian Museum for Human Rights' The Witness Blanket website includes items and stories carried by the Witness Blanket. They are accompanied by the voices of Survivors who talk about the experience of being forced into residential schools. They reveal the ongoing harms caused by Canada's residential school system.


Knowing the history of Indigenous Hospitals in Canada is especially important for health care practitioners.