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CIHI is engaging First Nations, Inuit and Métis to support their health, wellness and data priorities. CIHI is on a learning journey, guided by what we have learned, and continue to learn, from Indigenous individuals, communities and organizations. Our work is grounded in cultural responsiveness and humility, respectful engagement, and Indigenous-driven processes and partnerships.

Principles that guide CIHI’s work with First Nations, Inuit and Métis

  • Cultural humility and safety are foundational to meaningful and respectful engagement.
  • A distinctions-based approach acknowledges the distinct histories, interests and priorities of First Nations, Inuit and Métis.
  • Indigenous-driven processes and partnerships are fundamental to the appropriate use of First Nations, Inuit and Métis data.
  • Data and information about health and wellness are critical tools for self-determination.
  • The inherent and collective sovereign rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis to self-determination include ownership and governance of their data, irrespective of where it is housed, and control over their own health and health care priorities.

CIHI’s 4 focus areas for Indigenous health

Foundational capacity

Develop foundational capacity by promoting and embedding cultural responsiveness within CIHI. This includes supportive policies, training, and processes to promote cultural humility and safety.

Relationships and partnerships

Build relationships and partnerships locally, regionally and nationally with First Nations, Inuit and Métis to identify opportunities to work together in pursuit of Indigenous health and wellness.

Governance of Indigenous data

Develop a respectful approach to the governance of Indigenous data at CIHI by working to align policies and procedures with Indigenous data sovereignty principles.

Analysis and capacity-building

Enable actionable analysis and capacity-building by working in collaboration with First Nations, Inuit and Métis to identify analyses, products, services, training, data infrastructure and/or tools to support their health priorities, health planning and improvements in well‑being.


A photo of Marion Crowe, CEO of the First Nations Health Managers Association.

Marion Crowe (CEO, FNHMA)

First Nations Health Managers Association (FNHMA)

In 2019, CIHI and the First Nations Health Managers Association (FNHMA) entered into a partnership agreement to strengthen our mutual commitment to addressing the need for actionable, high-quality data to support decision-making. Our common interests include advancing First Nations’ health; strengthening capacity for First Nations leaders and communities; strengthening First Nations’ ability to access and use data for planning, health service management and decision-making; and contributing to the broader national process of reconciliation.

First Nations Health Managers Association (FNHMA) External link, opens in new window

Respecting OCAP® and supporting First Nations data governance: First Nations home care project

In alignment with the principles of OCAP®,Reference1 some First Nations communities in Alberta have chosen to work with CIHI to implement interRAI home care assessments to improve access to home and community care that is comprehensive, culturally safe, accessible, effective and equitable. The project is a collaboration between First Nations communities, Indigenous Services Canada’s First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (formerly a part of Health Canada), Momentum Healthware, the First Nations Technical Services Advisory Group (Alberta), Alberta Health Services, Alberta Health, interRAI and CIHI. The communities receive training from CIHI on how to use the assessment tools and have the option to share data with CIHI for community-specific reporting. Since implementation, wait times for assisted living and long-term care have decreased significantly in participating First Nations, and community nurses now have the tools to assess the care needs of their diverse client populations.

Indigenous Services Canada External link, opens in new window
Momentum Healthware External link, opens in new window
First Nations Technical Services Advisory Group External link, opens in new window
Alberta Health Services External link, opens in new window
Alberta Health External link, opens in new window
interRAI External link, opens in new window

First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) in British Columbia

CIHI and the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) in B.C. share a valuable working relationship. In May 2017, both organizations entered into a memorandum of understanding that formalized a partnership with a shared goal of improving the health and well-being of First Nations in B.C. A shared work plan is maintained, with work focused on 3 streams: data and analytics (including tools such as CIHI’s Population Grouper); potential development of performance indicators to measure improvements in cultural safety and humility within B.C.’s health care system; and shared learning, including development of a joint statement on First Nations health data governance.

First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) External link, opens in new window
Memorandum of understanding External link, opens in new window

Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA)

In 2018, the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA) started using CIHI Portal to access administrative health data on behalf of the 31 First Nations that it serves. This direct access to Portal has enabled SLFNHA to determine both regional and community-specific rates for emergency department visits and hospital admissions in Ontario and Manitoba, as well as the top causes of utilization.

In September 2018, SLFNHA released Our Children and Youth Health Report — its first regional report that provides information on the health status of infants, children and youth. Community-level information gleaned from the report helped to increase understanding of the distinct health care needs of each community and facilitate associated planning. Ongoing access to CIHI Portal helps SLFNHA fulfill its mandate to the region in acting as a data steward for the First Nations it serves. This includes further development of health status reports and health surveillance systems.

Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA) External link, opens in new window
Our Children and Youth Health Report External link, opens in new window

Related resources

CIHI’s Strategic Plan

First Nations Information Governance Centre External link, opens in new window

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s final report External link, opens in new window

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples External link, opens in new window

interRAI Implementation Toolkit

Contact us

If you have questions about the Indigenous Health program of work at CIHI, please contact the Indigenous Health team:


Back to Reference 1 in text
First Nations Information Governance Centre. The First Nations Principles of OCAP® External link, opens in new window. Accessed March 23, 2020.