The First Nations Principles of OCAP®

What is OCAP®?

The First Nations Principles of OCAP™ (ownership, control, access, and possession) means that First Nations control data collection processes in their communities. First Nations own, protect and control how their information is used. Access to First Nations data is important and First Nations determine, under appropriate mandates and protocols, how access to external researchers are facilitated and respected.

The right of First Nations communities to own, control, access, and possess information about their peoples is fundamentally tied to self-determination and to the preservation and development of their culture. OCAP™ allows a community to make decisions regarding why, how and by whom information is collected, used or shared.

The Components of OCAP®

  • Ownership: Ownership refers to the relationship of First Nations to their cultural knowledge, data, and information. This principle states that a community or group owns information collectively in the same way that an individual owns his or her personal information.
  • Control: The principle of control affirms that First Nations, their communities and representative bodies are within their rights in seeking to control over all aspects of research and information management processes that impact them. First Nations control of research can include all stages of a particular research project-from start to finish. The principle extends to the control of resources and review processes, the planning process, management of the information and so on.
  • Access: First Nations must have access to information and data about themselves and their communities, regardless of where it is currently held. The principle also refers to the right of First Nations communities and organizations to manage and make decisions regarding access to their collective information. This may be achieved, in practice, through standardized, formal protocols.
  • Possession: While ownership identifies the relationship between a people and their information in principle, possession or stewardship is more concrete. It refers to the physical control of data. Possession is a mechanism by which ownership can be asserted and protected.

How does FNIGC use OCAP®?

OCAP represents a new way for First Nations' data to be stored, distributed, and accessed. Data is available for analysis, but it may a be new process for many individuals. FNIGC's national databases are under the jurisdiction of the FNIGC on behalf of all First Nations.

FNIGC also offers OCAP training, either in person or online via a partnership with Algonquin College. The Fundamentals of OCAP® is the first—and only—online training course dedicated to OCAP®, and is now accepting registrations at This new course offers unprecedented access to FNIGC’s breadth of knowledge about the First Nations principles of OCAP® in an easily accessible and user-friendly platform.

To learn more about our Training options, please go to the Training section of our website.

OCAP is a registered trademark of The First Nations Information Governance Centre that can only be used under license or used with permission.