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July 8, 2021

To: VP Leadership Teams

From: Susan Brown, President & CEO
Re: Aboriginal Partnerships Restructuring

Last week, a memo was distributed announcing changes to the structure of the Aboriginal Partnerships
(formerly Aboriginal Health) portfolio, including two new leadership positions. The new roles were to
align with our focus and priorities related to Cultural Safety and Humility, Anti-Aboriginal Racism, and
growing strong relationships with our First Nation and Métis partners.

I regret to inform you that since the announcement was made, the two individuals who had been
appointed to the new positions have made the decision to step back and return to their previous roles.

Their decisions follows comments made to them directly and to others suggesting that process to
appoint them was discriminatory towards potential Aboriginal candidates who should have been given
preference. The comments implied that to be qualified for a role in this portfolio the leaders must
themselves be Aboriginal. This is not true, as across our organization we encourage and value the
participation of all people, working side-by-side, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal.

Both of the individuals who were appointed to the two new roles are experienced and proven leaders
within IH and the broader health system. The decision to appoint them was based on their strong
qualifications as well as Interior Health’s organizational need for capacity in this important portfolio, and
our desire to provide immediate, strong support and resources to the work with Aboriginal partners.

While I am disappointed, I understand and support their decisions to withdraw, and thank each of them
for their willingness to take on a new role, their honesty and professionalism.

As a result of this update, we will proceed immediately to post and recruit to fill the roles of Corporate
Director, Aboriginal Health and Wellness, and Corporate Director, Aboriginal Cultural Safety and
Humility. The change in approach will limit the portfolio’s capacity and ability to take on new work in the
coming months, and I want to thank all our VP Leadership Teams for your understanding.

Finally, I want to be clear: Interior Health is steadfast in our commitment to working in partnership with
Aboriginal communities, creating culturally safe care environments, and increasing Aboriginal
representation within our workforce to 10 per cent. We support all staff in their professional
development across IH. This has not changed and will not change.

At the same time, we know there will be occasions where not everyone agrees with each decision. In
these instances, it remains critically important that we continue to treat each other with respect,
integrity and compassion. Each and every person in IH has the ability to contribute in valuable and
meaningful ways when we all share the same goal.

Thank you.

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