The Budget Cuts and First Nations Statistics
Ottawa – April 11, 2012: The Federal Government’s recent Budget announcement hit First Nations organizations hard. The First Nations Statistical Institute (FNSI) had its Federal funding slashed this year and will go out of business next year. The National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO) lost all of its funding this year and will shut down its operations in June of this year. The Aboriginal Healing Foundation’s mandate ended on the last day of March. These announcements shocked many people. Where, they wondered, could they find reliable data on the health and living condition of First Nations?They needn’t worry. We were here long before both FNSI and NAHO. We still provide the best, most reliable and comprehensive data about First Nations anywhere in Canada. “We” are the First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC).
According to Grand Chief Charles Weaslehead, Alberta representative on the Board of Directors, “The First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC.ca) is there to fulfill that data need but many people don’t know it exists”.
The FNIGC incorporated in 2010. It’s the mandated body to conduct research on-reserve and in northern First Nations communities. The First Nations Regional Health Survey (RHS) has been around for more than 16 years, is now permanently housed at the FNIGC with offices in Akwesasne First Nation and Ottawa.
Gail McDonald is the Operations Manager at FNIGC in Ottawa. She says the “RHS is the best source of information on the First Nations population in Canada and is often overlooked due to its title. People think RHS is just about health but RHS is a comprehensive, holistic survey. Once you learn what is included in RHS you are pleasantly surprised by the wealth of knowledge and data in the survey and the published reports available”.
RHS has been providing First Nation leadership at the local, regional and national levels and the federal government with key information on housing and mold, language use, employment and health conditions, migration, education and many other key areas. The RHS is the only national research initiative that is controlled and owned by First Nations and that conducts OCAP™ (ownership, control, access and possession) compliant research. The FNIGC is the home of OCAP™, which represents self-determination in the area of research and information management.
The First Nations Regional Health Survey – Phase 2 (2008/10) National Report has 37 chapters. It will be released in the very near future. The survey will provide national results on determinants of health and well-being for the adult, child and youth populations. Each of the 10 participating regions will also be releasing their regional results in the coming months. It’s anticipated that these results will be invaluable to improve programs at the national level. RHS data is collected to help improve the lives of First Nations living on-reserve and in northern First Nations communities.
The FNIGC will soon be releasing a national report on the First Nations Oral Health Survey (FNOHS) and making its data sources available through the FNIGC Research Data Centre (RDC) which will be open to the public.
Most recently the FNIGC announced that it will partner with the Federal Government to conduct the First Nations Education, Employment and Early Childhood Education Survey (FNEES) on-reserve and in northern First Nations communities. This survey, commonly referred to as the “RES”, will begin data collection in the fall of 2012.
“The results of the ‘RES’ will be critical in addressing these priority areas impacting First Nations communities “states Ms. Tracy Antone, Chairperson of the RES National Advisory Committee and Ontario Representative on the Board the FNIGC.
The FNIGC is the place to go for First Nations data, information, training and resources. The data collected in these surveys and other future planned initiatives will be invaluable to leadership, researchers and policy makers today and in the future.
Ms. Gail Mc Donald,
FNIGC Operations Manager,
613-733-1916 ext 101