Health authorities in British Columbia, Canada have acknowledged the presence of racism and discrimination toward Indigenous people, the Toronto Star reports. It has now been flagged as an “area of concern” by provincial health officials.

A December 1 report titled “In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in B.C. Health Care” released jointly by Interior Health, Fraser Health, Island Health, Northern Health, Providence Health Care and Provincial Health Services, and Vancouver Coastal Health says it has uncovered “disturbing” instances of racism and discrimination towards Indigenous patients upon hearing from nearly 9,000 voices, collected through surveys, direct submissions, health care data, interviews from patients and health care workers.

The results paint a picture of “a B.C. health care system with widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people,” the report says.

“The review also found that this widespread racism has long been known by many within the health care system, including those in positions of authority, and is widely acknowledged by many who work in the system,” the report reads.

“Systemic racism requires systemic action to address it, including to address deficiencies in governance, leadership, education, policy, transparency, regulation, complaints processes, and accountability. The Review Recommendations stress the need for immediate, principled, and comprehensive efforts to eliminate prejudice and discrimination against Indigenous peoples.”

In a press release, Te’ta-in (Sound of Thunder) Shane Pointe, the Knowledge Keeper for the report, is calling for health officials to “bring dignity to those who have not been afforded it.”

The paper makes 24 recommendations on how to improve health care, including mandatory training on Indigenous-specific racism and colonialism in post-secondary programs for health practitioners, and developing a strategy to better process complaints from Indigenous patients.