New papers chronicle the creation, application, and implementation of the First Nations principles of OCAP™

Anyone who’s ever browsed FNIGC’s website before has likely come across the term “OCAP™” -- four little letters that mean a lot. They stand for ownership, control, access and possession and collectively represent a set of principles that lay out how data about First Nation people and communities are collected, protected and managed.

Born in 1998 during an initial brainstorming meeting for what would become the First Nations Information Governance Committee, the initial concept was used to guide the development of the First Nations Regional Health Survey. In the years since OCAP™ has grown significantly. It is now the generally accepted standard for how First Nations research should be conducted, and has come to encompass the governance of not just research, but all First Nations information. And there are more exciting developments in the wings, including a new online training course and an OCAP™-certified process designed for academics and researchers.

Given the increased interest in OCAP™ in 2013 FNIGC commissioned two papers that would serve to update the general public’s knowledge base about OCAP™. We’re happy to announce that these papers are now available to download on

Ownership, Control, Access and Possession (OCAP): The Path to First Nations Information Governance is a 32-page paper that serves as an update of FNIGC’s foundational OCAP™ paper published in 2002. This new paper reviews the origins and rationale for OCAP™, reviews some relevant case studies, and considers where OCAP™ will go from this point forward.

Barriers and Levers for the Implementation of OCAP™ takes a close look at the obstacles to – and supports for – the implementation of OCAP™ in general, and specifically in relation to data holdings within Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and the Government of Canada. It also explores how federal legislation such as the Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act can undermine OCAP™.  (Note: This paper was originally published in the April 2014 issue of The International Indigenous Policy Journal.)    

Please give them a read and don’t hesitate to bmackay [at] fnigc [dot] ca (contact us) with any questions or queries