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First Nations Information Governance Centre celebrates the ‘power of data’ on National Aboriginal Day

June 20, 2014 (Ottawa, ON) – As we pause during the summer solstice to recognise National Aboriginal Day, the First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC) is proud to pay tribute to the rich contributions Aboriginal people have made in Canada over the years.

As Canada’s premier source of information about First Nations people living on reserve and in northern communities, FNIGC is committed to collecting and protecting data that reflects the diversity of life in the 633 First Nations communities across the country.

FNIGC recognizes that good information—information that is collected by First Nations people for First Nations people—is the key to making good decisions that can positively benefit the health and well-being of First Nation communities.

“The power of good data that is collected in a culturally relevant way cannot be underestimated.” says Gail Mc Donald, FNIGC’s Executive Director. “Quality information can help us tell the many stories of our communities, and it has the ability to affect change in First Nation people’s lives.”

This “power of data” principle is one that guides FNIGC’s work, which includes our core survey work. In cooperation with its regional partners FNIGC conducts two large-scale national surveys that together will produce a landmark look at First Nations people and the communities that they live in.

The First Nations Regional Early Childhood, Education and Employment Survey (FNREEES or REEES for short), is currently in the field collecting data in 250 communities. The information gathered by the REEES will help provide a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges that lead to success and will serve to benefit First Nations children, schools and employment.

The long-running First Nations Regional Health Survey (FNRHS, or RHS) will begin data collection in fall 2014. The only First Nations-governed, national health survey in Canada, the information collected by the third phase of the RHS will provide unprecedented information on trends from 2002, when RHS Phase One began collecting data, to the present day.

“The information gathered by these two significant surveys will provide a rich and meaningful understanding of the challenges and opportunities faced in First Nation communities.” says Ceal Tournier, Chair of the FNIGC Board of Directors. “This information will help guide and influence policy makers at the community level and on a national and regional level in ways that will impact First Nations for generations to come.”

Both the RHS and the REEES collect First Nations data using the First Nations principles of OCAP™ (Ownership, Control, Access and Possession), a set of guidelines that allows a community to make decisions regarding why, how and by whom information is collected, used or shared.

In fall 2014 FNIGC will launch an online course in collaboration with Algonquin College that will allow anyone with access to an internet connection to educate themselves on the intricacies of OCAP™.

“On behalf of FNIGC and its partners across the country, on this day we pay tribute to all the strength, fortitude and endurance of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and encourage everyone to take time to celebrate the many cultures and traditions of Aboriginal people across the country.” says Mc Donald.


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