Cultural Humility and Culturally Safer Practices

COTM’s Journey to learn the truth and to reconcile with the Indigenous Peoples of Canada

Our journey began in earnest in early 2016 when the question was posed to the Executive Director by an academic colleague – “So what is COTM, what are the regulators, doing about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action?” And the answer was – “What are the Calls to Action?”

Admitting this ignorance was the first step on this journey. We started to educate ourselves on the Calls to Action followed by an invitation to our regulatory colleagues through the Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy Regulatory Organizations (ACOTRO) and the Manitoba Alliance of Health Regulatory Colleges (MAHRC) to begin our collective and respective work to learn the Truth and participate in Reconciliation.

COTM’s efforts are guided by the following wisdom:

‘If you have come to help me you are wasting your time. If you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together’.

(Dr Lilla Watson, a Gangulu woman from Australia, is often credited with the quote but she is not comfortable being credited for something that had been born of a collective process. She prefers that the words be credited “Aboriginal activists group Queensland, 1970s”.)

‘You may not be part of creating the problem, but you absolutely are part of the solution given you are part of the future. To do it right you have to understand what occurred and you need to know how to relate to Indigenous Peoples in ways that are respectful.’ (begins at 20:50)

(The above is a paraphrase of dialogue by Justice Murray Sinclair in his January 2017 webinar with Shelagh Rogers entitled Racism, Reconciliation, and Indigenous Cultural Safety; this is part of the Indigenous Cultural Safety Collaborative webinar series. Listen to the webinar Racism, Reconciliation, and Indigenous Cultural Safety — National Indigenous Cultural Safety Learning Series).

COTM is committed to Truth and Reconciliation and acting on the 94 Calls. Some actions include:

  1. supporting staff and volunteers to carry out the personal reflection to promote learning and action
  2. addressing the organizational and governance structures and participate in efforts to reduce systemic barriers and harms to Indigenous Peoples
  3. discerning how to support Manitoba occupational therapists to walk their own reconciliation journey

You are encouraged to visit the ACOTRO website which elaborates on the collective work of the OT regulators in Canada and with the broader OT profession.

Building Indigenous Cultural Safety – Commitment and Actions – Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy Regulatory Organizations (

Next, review the new Competencies for Occupational Therapists in Canada, 2021 which now includes a new domain entitled Culture, Equity and Justice.

Competencies_for_Occupational_Therapists_in_Canada_2021 (

Lastly, you are invited to reach out to COTM to continue the dialogue.