Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is The First Nations Information Governance Centre?
A. This is an exciting development whereby First Nations will now have a dedicated Centre that will serve as the permanent home of the First Nations Regional Longitudinal Health Survey (RHS) and build upon that successful process to provide an abundance of information, research, training, data collection, analysis and dissemination services to First Nations at the community, regional and national levels. In addition, the Centre will not only be centrally located in Ottawa, it will also support the development of regional centre’s that will serve the strategic First Nations information and research needs as determined by each of the participating regions..
Q. Is this Centre supported by First Nations leadership?
A. At the AFN Special Chiefs Assembly held in December 2009, Resolution #48 was passed that supported the development of the First Nation Information Governance Centre. To date there are 9 regional support resolutions for The FNIGC and they include : AB, MB, SK, YK, NB , QC, ON, NWT, NS.
Q. What exactly will The FNIGC do?
A. The FNIGC will:
- Be the permanent home of the First Nations Regional Longitudinal Health Survey (RHS);
- Be the premier source of First Nations information;
- Be entirely devoted to First Nations;
- Make the most of research and information that will truly benefit the health and well being of First Nations;
- Strive to partner with entities that seek to achieve success in working with First Nations, through the use of credible information and processes that respect First Nations jurisdiction to own, protect and control how their information is collected, used and disclosed;
- Promote and advance the First Nations Principles of OCAP;
- Assist in building First Nations capacity in research, information technologies, health surveillance and data analysis;
- Measure improvements to First Nations health and well-being through the RHS and specialized surveys.
- Host the RHS Research Data Access Centre to facilitate greater access to RHS public data files and support supplemental research in a control and protected environment.
Q. Why is The FNIGC Federally Incorporated?
A. As a First Nation entity, federal incorporation is required as it will cross many provincial and territorial boundaries. Each region has different corporate laws and rules; therefore a federal corporation would address all of the different regional corporate laws. The FNIGC is required to incorporate to receive funding and to enter into agreements with regions. Although the Centre will be a First Nations entity – it is not a First Nation community which has its own legal standing.
Q. If we decide to join the FNIGC as a region do we have to incorporate our regional office as well?
A. Each participating Region will decide to whether it wishes to incorporate or not, it will be their decision. This will be a regional driven process.
Q. How do we hold The FNIGC accountable to First Nations?
A. The Centre is structured under existing First Nations political processes much like the Assembly of First Nations. According to the By-laws the Centre will be governed by First Nations appointed through the regional processes. The existing First Nations Information Governance Committee will serve as its founding Board given the oversight experience with the Regional Health Survey (RHS) process. The Centre will report directly to the AFN Chiefs in Assembly on an annual basis.
Q. I see reference to 2 terms, what is the difference between the FNIG Committee and The FNIG Centre?
A. At the inception of RHS over 16 years ago, the oversight committee of RHS used to be called the RHS National Steering Committee. In March of 2000, the Assembly of First Nations Chiefs Committee on Health passed a motion in support of the development of the First Nations Information Governance Committee. This committee was given a larger mandate not only to oversee the RHS files but to oversee other research initiatives being conducted among First Nations. Once, again the leadership in December 2009 gave a broader mandate and the First Nations Information Governance Centre (refer to Q1) was created. Essentially they are the same members (now called the First Directors in the new Centre) whom have vast experience in conducting First Nations research.
RHS National Steering Committee FNIG COMMITTEE THE FNIG CENTRE
1995 2000 2010
Q: How will First Nations regional organizations benefit?
A. The First Nations Regional Longitudinal Health Survey (RHS) has assisted in building the regional infrastructure and the regions serve as the backbone of the survey process. Without the regions and communities; there would be no survey. Each region has evolved and expanded their capacity for research, data collection and information dissemination under their own direction. Some regions operate comprehensive research units and have centralized their regional processes into one unit; others have joined efforts with other regions for scales of economy to stretch their funding.
Q. Where will the funding for the Centre come from?
A. The Centre is being sponsored by current funds from the RHS process. Approximately, 70% of all RHS funding goes directly to the regions to support regional efforts, staffing and other administrative functions. The Centre will have a central hub office and regional satellite offices – which will be defined by their own regional mandate and strategic plans. The central hub will support the regional offices as requested.
It is anticipated that proposals will be submitted to various federal departments and other agencies to support the FNIGC and the regional centre’s as well as further phases of RHS (RHS Phase 3 and 4) and other survey, information and research initiatives.
Q. Where will the FNIGC be located?
A. Ottawa is the preferred location due to its proximity to federal departments, the Assembly of First Nations and other national research entities. The location of the FNIGC Ottawa office is located at 170 Laurier Avenue West, Suite 904. The FNIGC head administrative office is located on 49 Ford Lane, Unit 1, in Akwesasne First Nation, Ontario.
Q. What is the First Nations Statistical Institute (FNSI)? What is the difference with the FNIGC?
A. The First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Act (Bill C-23) is a federal crown corporation created under legislation Bill C-23 to provide First Nations with fiscal and taxation powers and to establish institutions such as: First Nations Tax Commission, First Nations Financial Management Board, First Nations Finance Authority and First Nations Statistical Institute. The FNSI is responsible for the provision of information and data to support and promote First Nations economic development as well as the work of its 3 sister organizations.
The First Nations Information Governance Centre operates under the authority of First Nations and will uphold the Principles of OCAP and protect the individual and collective privacy rights of First Nations. The Centre will be guided by principles, research ethics and a cultural framework developed by First Nations for First Nations. There is a difference between the two entities mandate and structure.
Q. Why do you have the word “governance” in your Centre’s title?
A. The term governance is used to reflect the long history of the RHS process. The RHS process changed how research is currently conducted in First Nations communities in Canada. The RHS is about “self determination” in the area of research and it is First Nations themselves that will govern how its information is collected and used by outsiders. It means governance over ‘information” and governance over “information management”. We collect quality data from our First Nation communities and it is our First Nation leadership that will use this information to showcase the realities of First Nation communities based on sound quality data and lobby for policy changes etc. Simply said, we provide the data for our leadership to bring about change for our communities.
Q. What makes you different from other national “aboriginal” organizations that claim to work on behalf of First Nations?
A. We are different because we are accountable directly to our leadership and First Nations communities. Our focus in on First Nations and First Nations only, we are not an “Aboriginal” organization. We are not part of the Pan-Aboriginal process that fails to meet the needs/issues of First Nations. The FNIGC will present to the Chiefs in Assembly on an annual basis. It is the First Nations regional organization that are Members of the Centre and that will select the Board of Directors from a First Nations specific process.
Q. How is the Board of Directors selected?
A. Directors of the Board are selected based on “First Nation Regional Processes” which are the generally-accepted manner in which the First Nations in that Region exercise decision-making and determine representation. Each regional process reflects the accountability and governance structure of the region.
Q. Can any organization in the region become a member of FNIGC?
A. Upon approval by the Board, any First Nation regional organization may apply for and be granted membership in the Corporation. However, only one (1) individual shall be appointed from each Region as a Delegate on behalf of all of the Regional Organizations in each respective Region. Appointment of Delegates shall be made according to regional processes. “First Nation Regional Organizations” or “Regional Organizations” mean the First Nation organizations established and accepted within each Region, according to regional processes. In the FNIGC by-laws there are ten territorial divisions: New Brunswick/Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia/Newfoundland, Quebec/Labrador, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon Territory, and Northwest Territories.
Q. What is the link between the Assembly of First Nations and The FNIGC?
A. The AFN has 2 positions on the Board of Directors of the FNIGC. Currently the Manitoba Regional Vice Chief and AFN Director of Health and Social are appointed to the Board of Directors. There is a need to have a strong link with First Nation leadership and the FNIGC will present at the AFN Annual Assembly each year. This ensures that leadership is aware of the business of the FNIGC.
Q. Why was the RHS transferred to the FNIGC?
A. Over the past 16 years of existence; the RHS has been hosted by a number of organizations beginning with the Chiefs of Ontario, the Assembly of First Nations, the First Nations Centre at NAHO and since 2006, again at the Assembly of First Nations. It was decided that RHS needed a permanent home as the transferring to different organizations had a negative impact on the file due to changes in administrative procedures in each of the host organizations.
Q. Will the RHS data be protected at the FNIGC?
A. RHS is guided by strict privacy protocols as well as a Code of Ethics and these protocols will be maintained at the FNIGC. Individual and community privacy are the core principles that drive the RHS and FNIGC. The Centre will continue to promote and support the First Nations Principles of OCAP (Ownership, Control, Access and Possession”.)
Q. Who are the current members of the Board of Directors of the FNIGC?
A. The current members of the First Board of Directors are Sarah (Sally) Johnson (NS), Peter Birney (NB), Nancy Gros Louis McHugh (QC), Tracy Antone (ON), Kathi Avery Kinew (MB), Ceal Tournier (SK), Chief Charles Weaselhead (AB), Lori Duncan (YK) and Ialeen Jones (NWT). The AFN positions (Ex-officio) are Jon Thompson (AFN Health and Social Director) and Vice Chief Bill Traverse, MB). The position for BC is currently vacant.
Q. Who are the Officers of the FNIGC Board who form the Executive Committee?
A. The Executive Committee members are: Chairperson- Ceal Tournier, Secretary- Kathi Avery Kinew, Treasurer- Nancy Gros Louis McHugh, and the Co-chair is Jon Thompson (AFN).
Q. What if a region does not want to participate in the FNIGC? What does this mean for the region? Can they join later?
A. FNIGC is respectful of regional processes and if a region does not want to become a member of the FNIGC their position will be respected. The position will remain vacant until the region decides if it wishes to participate in the future. The FNIGC will continue to encourage all regions to support the FNIGC.
Q. How will the Board of Directors be accountable back to the regions and First Nation communities?
A. Each Board of Director is selected by the regional processes and thus is accountable to the regional organization that put them into the position. The FNIGC will host an annual meeting of members and a report will be made by the directors. The financial statement, report of the auditors shall be presented and the auditors appointed for the ensuing year.