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Supporting Indigenous-led use of ICES data and methods to answer important health questions in First Nations communities

For several years, ICES has worked closely with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities and organizations to develop partnerships guided by the principles and values of each partner. In 2017, ICES formalized the creation of an Indigenous Portfolio with dedicated staff, establishing a commitment to make Indigenous health an ongoing research priority. In 2018, the portfolio added a project navigator to support Indigenous communities in their work with ICES. Through partner engagement, ICES is raising awareness of how data can be used to address Indigenous priorities, enabling Indigenous partners and communities to guide and access research that is of importance to them.

ICES Research

At the All Ontario Chiefs Conference in 2013, a resolution was passed mandating the Chiefs of Ontario to work with ICES to produce a report examining trends in prescription opioid use in Ontario First Nations communities. Completed in 2019, this work has led to ongoing partnerships between the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network and the Chiefs of Ontario to support ongoing, First Nations-led opioids research. Other reports prepared in partnership with the Chiefs of Ontario include a study on aging among First Nations people.

ICES also supports First Nations–led research in Ontario through its work with the Mamow Ahyamowen (“Everyone’s Voices”) research partnership, a collaboration of dozens of First Nations–governed health service organizations in Northern Ontario, which consulted with ICES to acquire data and research evidence to help answer community questions and work toward health equity. The first of the Mamow Ahyamowen reports was completed in 2019, focusing on trends in time and cause of death and chronic conditions at the time of death. A total of 59 communities opted in to this study. Additionally, ICES has a close partnership with one of the Mamow Ahyamowen First Nations partners, the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority (WAHA), with two embedded staff under the guidance of WAHA.

How this work is having impact

(Recommendation 10) ...that Indigenous Services Canada work with First Nations and provinces and territories to develop and implement an integrated data collection protocol specific to the health and well-being of First Nations; and that this data be used to inform the provision of evidence-based health services on reserves.

Supporting Community-Level Advocacy

  • The 2019 Chiefs of Ontario opioid report (PDF) produced with the support of ICES is being distributed among First Nations to support community-level responses. The project was also approved by Kenora Chiefs Advisory and Grand Council Treaty #3, which received reports specific to its communities.
  • The first Mamow Ahyamowen report, released in 2019, includes 68 tailored reports at the community, partner and overall level. One partner agency shared findings from its partner-level report at a media event to raise awareness of the causes of death within its community.
  • The Chiefs of Ontario study on aging in First Nations, supported by ICES and released in 2017, provided evidence to advocate for improved resources, such as seniors’ housing on reserves. ICES was called to present the results of the study at a 2018 House of Commons Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs, helping to inform the Committee’s report (PDF).

Setting an Example for Collaborative Work with Indigenous Partners

  • Recommendation 10 of the 2018 Report of the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs (PDF) states “... that Indigenous Services Canada work with First Nations and provinces and territories to develop and implement an integrated data collection protocol specific to the health and well-being of First Nations; and that this data be used to inform the provision of evidence-based health services on reserves.”
  • ICES scientists are collaborating in a cross-Canada data platform partnership aimed at achieving these goals, and helping to spread the use of a new research framework that enshrines respect for the Indigenous ownership of data, or data sovereignty, at all stages of research.

Posted December 2019

Published in the 2018-19 Annual Report

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