December 11, 2023 – Ottawa, Ontario – We, the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN), wish to express our deepest regret, apologizing to the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples of Canada for harms, historical or contemporary, related to nursing education.
We acknowledge that too often, access to nursing education has been inequitable and unjust for Indigenous Peoples. We also acknowledge that the experiences of Indigenous students and faculty within the nursing education system have not always been respectful, or culturally safe. Furthermore, we acknowledge that many graduates of Canadian schools of nursing provide care to Indigenous patients that is racist and culturally unsafe.
We recognize that these harms have been perpetuated through systemic racism and a failure to incorporate Indigenous perspectives or the impacts of colonialism into nursing curricula. We understand as well, the importance of nursing education in shaping the future of health care, and we deeply regret any instance where CASN’s actions contributed to disparities or reinforced colonial structures.
CASN is committed to a process of self-reflection, learning, and transformation. We will take the following steps to address the harms:
- Anti-Racism, Cultural Safety, and Humility: Promote education, resources, and practices that address anti-Indigenous racism, supporting decolonization, cultural humility, and cultural safety for nursing faculty, staff, and students. Promote institutional policies and processes that address systemic racism to foster an inclusive and equitable learning environment.
- Curriculum Revision: Promote a review of nursing education curricula to ensure a strengths-based focus and trauma-informed approach, the inclusion of content on the continued impact of colonialism and racism on Indigenous health, as well as Indigenous perspectives on health and well-being.
- Community Engagement: Establish meaningful partnerships with Indigenous organizations and communities to ensure their voices are heard in shaping nursing education policies and practices.
- Recruitment and Retention: Promote strategies that create culturally safe and supportive learning environments including pre-admission supports, in-program supports, and services that are developed in partnership with Indigenous communities.
- Ongoing Accountability: In collaboration with Indigenous partners, establish mechanisms to monitor progress and address concerns raised by partners, Indigenous nursing students, and faculty.
This apology marks CASN’s commitment to positive change. We recognize that actions speak louder than words, and we are dedicated to taking action that will foster anti-racism, cultural safety, and cultural humility in Canadian schools of nursing and in our organization.
We welcome further dialogue to ensure that our efforts are informed by the needs and aspirations of Indigenous peoples. Please know that we are committed to an ongoing process of improvement and accountability.
Cynthia Baker, Executive Director, on behalf of CASN and its Board of Directors
About the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing
The Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN) is the national voice for nursing education, research, and scholarship and represents baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs across Canada. CASN’s mission is to lead nursing education and nursing scholarship in the interest of healthier Canadians.
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