Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario


  • Racism and cultural oppression have been realities for many minority groups living in Canada, especially the First Nations’ peoples, with longstanding impacts of poverty, poor health, loss of identity and marginalization
  • This best practice guideline for nurses on cultural diversity provides bold recommendations about actions that can be taken to embrace diversity in the health care work force as part of creating a healthy work environment and a healthy work team.
  • This best practice guideline includes recommendations related to individuals, organizations and the external system. It is a critical tool that can be used by leaders to better understand and plan work environments that optimize the performance, productivity and satisfaction of every team member.
  • Attention to this aspect of the work environment is essential for quality health care based on retention of a productive and satisfied team of health care professionals, as well as successful ongoing recruitment.
  • The guideline lays the foundation from which nursing leaders and others can develop a work environment that acknowledges and truly embraces diversity with positive outcomes for patients, nurses and the organization.
  • Throughout the development of this guideline the panel endeavoured to maintain neutral and non-judgmental terminology wherever possible.
  • Terms such as “minority”, “visible minority”, “non-visible minority” and “language minority” are used in some areas; when doing so the panel refers solely to their proportionate numbers within the larger Canadian population, and infers no value on the term to imply less importance or less power.
  • In some of the recommendations the term “under-represented groups” is used, again, to refer solely to the disproportionate representation of some Canadians in those settings in comparison to the traditional majority.
Healthy Work Environment
Embracing Cultural Diversity in Health care: Developing Cultural Competence
Background Information