Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the First Nations Information Governance Centre?
A. The First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC) is Canada’s premier source of information about First Nations people living on reserve and in northern communities. An incorporated non-profit organization operating with a special mandate from the Assembly of First Nations’ Chiefs in Assembly (Resolution #48, December 2009), the FNIGC is committed to improving the health and well-being of First Nations people living in our 634 communities across the country.
In collaboration with its Regional Partners, FNIGC conducts unique data-gathering initiatives that allow us to build culturally relevant portraits of the lives of First Nations people and the communities they live in. FNIGC recognizes that quality information — information that is collected by First Nations people for First Nations people — has the power to change lives by influencing knowledge-based decision-making and inspiring effective policy and programs for all First Nations Communities.
Q. What does the First Nations Information Governance Centre do?
A. FNIGC is responsible for a wide-range of work, from research and planning to certification and training. But our core responsibility is the development and administration of national First Nations survey initiatives with our Regional Partners. These currently include: the First Nations Regional Health Survey (FNRHS) and the First Nations Regional Early Childhood, Education and Employment Survey (FNREEES).
The FNRHS (or RHS for short) is the only First Nations-governed national health survey in Canada. Established in 1997, it collects health information in more than 250 First Nations communities using both Western and traditional understandings of health and well-being.
The FNREEES (or REEES) collects a wide-range of information about early childhood, education and employment in more than 250 First Nations communities. When complete it will provide a comprehensive and unprecedented understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing First Nations in Canada.
FNIGC’s pioneering survey work has been reviewed by Harvard University (in 2006) and Johns Hopkins University (in 2012), which concluded that our methodology was “outstanding,” “excellent” and “first-rate.”
Q. When was the First Nations Information Governance Centre established?
A. FNIGC became an independent, incorporated entity on April 22, 2010. But its history stretches back nearly two decades to 1996, when a National Steering Committee was created to design a new national First Nations health survey. This was in response to a decision from the Federal Government to exclude First Nations people living on reserve from three major longitudinal population surveys.
The result was the First Nations and Inuit Regional Longitudinal Health Survey, a 1998 pilot project which was intended to address First Nations and Inuit health and well-being issues, and acknowledged the need for First Nations and Inuit people to control their own health information.
In 2002 the First Nations Regional Longitudinal Health Survey Phase 1 began, this time as a solely First Nations survey. This version saw more than 22,600 surveys collected in 238 First Nations communities, and included the Yukon and Northwest Territories for the first time.
In 2008 data collection began for the First Nations Regional Health Survey Phase 2, which collected nearly 22,000 surveys in 217 First Nations communities.
Q. Where does the First Nations Information Governance Centre get its funding from?
A. FNIGC receives its funding through agreements with Health Canada, and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, and Employment and Social Development Canada. FNIGC administers this funding under contract with our Regional Partners who conduct this important survey work in collaboration with FNIGC.
Our Regional Partners include: the Alberta First Nations Information Governance Centre,the First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba (Nanaandawewigamig),the Chiefs of Ontario, the Union of New Brunswick Indians,the Dene Nation (Northwest Territories), the Union of Nova Scotia Indians, the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Service Commission, the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, the Council of Yukon First Nations , and the First Nations Health Authority (British Columbia).
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 Nations communities which follows the First Nations principles of OCAP®, and it is our First Nations leadership that will use this information to showcase the realities of First Nations 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 is OCAP®?
A. FNIGC is also home to the First Nations principles of OCAP®, a set of principles that guide how research with First Nations people should be conducted and how that information should be stored.
OCAP® stands for ownership, control, access, and possession. It means that First Nations control data collection processes in their communities and that First Nations own, protect and control how their information is used. Access to First Nations data is important, and under OCAP® First Nations determine how and when external researchers are allowed to access and use their information. OCAP® is an important expression of First Nations jurisdiction over its information.
Q: Where is the First Nations Information Governance Centre located?
A. The FNIGC has two offices. Its Head Office is in Akwesasne, Ontario, with another in Ottawa, Ontario. FNIGC also has a presence in 10 provinces and two territories thanks to its Regional Partners who are integral to carrying out our survey work.
341 Island Road, Unit D
Akwesasne, ON K6H 5R7
Toll Free: 1.866.997.6248
180 Elgin Street, Suite 1200
Ottawa, ON K2P 2K3
Tel: 613.733.1916, ext. 100
Toll Free: 1.866.997.6248
General inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org