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Message Regarding the College-Selected Activity 2021

Concerns have been brought to the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta’s attention regarding the content of the Harvard Implicit Bias Tests and some of the demographic information collected as part of this ongoing research study.

The College of Physiotherapists of Alberta selected this activity as a component of the CSA because of the importance of understanding implicit biases and how they affect our experiences and interactions with others. The College of Physiotherapists of Alberta’s staff had completed the tests as part of our internal training related to discrimination, inequity and oppression and found them to be a relevant source of information and reflection.

We have, however, received comments from regulated members who found that the activity does not align with the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta’s statement regarding addressing discrimination, oppression, and inequity in Physiotherapy in which we state, “we have a duty to address discrimination and identify and deconstruct structures and systems of inequity, with the goal of fostering equity, diversity and inclusion within the health-care system and society at large.”

We now understand that some of the demographic questions may be offensive and exclusionary to some registrants. We sincerely apologize to all members who may have similar concerns but who may not have opted to contact the College. We recognize the bravery required to raise such concerns with one’s regulatory body.

It was not our intent to cause harm or offense, however we understand that our intent is not relevant in this situation, the effect of our action is.

We recognize that as staff members we too hold biases and that these biases are accompanied with blind spots. We did not recognize the issues with the language in the demographics section of the Harvard Bias Tests until they were pointed out to us.

We sincerely thank those registrants who brought this to our attention for holding us to account and again apologize for the harm done.  

We remain committed to advancing the work of equity, diversity, and inclusion within our own daily work and within the spheres where we have influence. We are committed to learning from the feedback we have received, and to do better in the future.

We would like to advise all regulated members that their responses to the Harvard Bias Tests are confidential and the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta does not have access to the information you submit.

We would also like to advise members that they have the option within the demographics section to decline to respond to questions that they find objectionable, intrusive, offensive, or othering. This will not affect their participation with the CSA or their ability to renew their registration.

The College of Physiotherapists of Alberta provided resources to regulated members to advance their understanding of this topic, acknowledging that we ourselves are in the process of learning. Given the concerns raised regarding the Harvard Implicit Bias tests, the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta permits regulated members to identify and apply alternate resources to achieve the learning objective “understand what implicit bias is, have considered your implicit biases, and understand how your implicit biases affect your interactions with patients and others when left unchallenged” should they wish to do so.

Page updated: 20/04/2022