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“He is kind, compassionate, and most of all culturally safe”


​Philip Charlebois, winner of the new Award of Excellence – Indigenous Cultural Safety Award: Nəca̓mat, at this year's People First awards ceremony, demonstrates allyship by embracing Indigenous values and demonstrating through practice the inclusion of culture in care; a key strategic priority for VCH.

Watch a short video tribute for Philip from his colleagues: 


Here's what Philip's colleagues have said about him and how he models our VCH values:

He models cultural safety

“Philip Charlebois was a Clinical Nurse Educator at the Access and Assessment during Aboriginal Health, Indigenous Cultural Safety's pilot at VGH for the learning circles project. He was a huge champion and he was the very first one to step forward to engage in the learning process with an Indigenous Simulated Patient. He was kind, compassionate, and most of all culturally safe."

In Philip's words: 'What resonated most with me is the impact we as a service have on the lives and well-being of Indigenous people. As a service, we have the potential to play a pivotal role in providing a safe and culturally appropriate space for people of Indigenous backgrounds to engage in their own wellness. At the Access and Assessment Centre, we are often the first point of contact for people experiencing a mental health crisis in the community. This is an important and difficult time for people and it is vitally important that they feel safe and supported. When our staff have the awareness of the lived experience and history of Indigenous people we are better able to provide a culturally safe experience with our clients.'

Philip's colleagues say that is it is encouraging and reassuring that Philip is there to promote and practice cultural safety so that there is a warm and welcoming space for Indigenous people on the continuum of healthcare. Thank you Philip, for living our values and taking such good care of our First Nations and Aboriginal people and ensuring they have access to a care environment where they feel safe, respected and acknowledged.

What do we mean by Indigenous Cultural Safety?

Indigenous Cultural Safety is an outcome of cultural competency, defined and experienced by those who receive the service – they feel safe. Cultural safety is based on understanding the power differentials and potential discriminations inherent in the health service delivery system. In 2015, our CEO, Mary Ackenhusen, signed a Declaration of Commitment along with the Ministry of Health and the other health authorities, to have cultural safety and humility embedded in all levels of the health system. This is a journey that is just beginning - we have a long way to go. At VCH, we are always learning!

Philip's inspiration

We asked Philip what inspires him to live our values every day and he explained, “What inspires me every day is seeing the hard work and passion in my colleagues and the resilience of my clients.  I get the opportunity to work with people across many different disciplines who are extremely talented and who truly work with their client's wellbeing in mind.  I also get to meet clients and their families who have lived through so much trauma and to witness their resilience and strength is inspiring."

At VCH, we believe in caring for everyone and providing exceptional care to all our patients, clients and residents in a culturally safe manner. Thank you, Philip, for role-modelling this practice and helping VCH to become a more culturally competent and safe organization.

For more information on the program, please visit the People First Awards page or contact

SOURCE: “He is kind, compassionate, and most of all culturally safe” ( )
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