The following documents outline communications for internal and external stakeholders.

Information Brochure

This brochure acts as a fact sheet, outlining key messages used to communicate the BC First Nations’ Data Governance Initiative’s goals, objectives, and vision.

Communications Protocol

The partners of the BC First Nations’ Data Governance Initiative rely on strong effective and efficient relationships to ensure that the vision of the Initiative is realized. As excellent communication is essential to these relationships, the protocol below has been developed to guide communications between and among the partners.

Communication with First Nations Peoples and First Nation Organizations will be led by the Initiative’s First Nation Champion whenever possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Data Governance?

Data governance is comprised of the “processes, policies, standards, organization and technologies required to manage and ensure the availability, accessibility, quality, consistency, audit ability, and security of data in an organization.” (Stratejuste Consulting: Identifying Useful Approaches to the Governance of Data on Aboriginal Organizations and Populations, 2013). 

It relates to the management of data within the information life cycle, and is framed by instruments to maximize the benefits and minimize risks in the collection, usage, storage and dissemination of information. It extends beyond data management to include key actors (roles, responsibilities and accountabilities of parties involved) and fundamental questions (jurisdiction, decision rights, representation, compliance).  The British Columbia (B.C.) First Nations' Data Governance Initiative will provide secure access and clarify rights of possession in relation to data that is owned and/or controlled by First Nations.

2. What is the British Columbia First Nations Data Governance Initiative?

The B.C. First Nations’ Data Governance Initiative is a comprehensive approach to measuring tripartite government investments in First Nations' individual and community well-being. It is a collaborative process initiated by B.C. First Nations and brings together Federal, British Columbia and First Nations government interests in achieving their shared goal of accessible, quality and timely data and information for planning and accountability purposes.

The initiative is part of broader framework whereby B.C. First Nations are moving to a model of data governance that is community-driven and nation-based, and builds on the Tripartite Data Quality and Sharing Agreement signed in April 2010 between the First Nations Health Council (FNHC); Province of British Columbia; and the Government of Canada (represented by Health Canada).

3. Why is the B.C. First Nations’ Data Governance Initiative relevant?

All three governments, Federal, B.C. and First Nations, require timely access to accurate information to plan and account for the investments being made in First Nations individual, family and community well-being.  The Initiative will ultimately provide access to the data necessary to effectively report to Canadians and Parliament.

The B.C. First Nations’ Data Governance Initiative is a practical approach to achieving the political commitments made in the B.C. Transformative Change Accord, and builds upon the management and transfer of health services from Health Canada to B.C. First Nations. 

4. What is the main objective for the B.C. First Nations’ Data Governance Initiative?

To develop and implement an integrated tripartite First Nations’ data governance model (data rules, policies, standards and technical linkages across all jurisdictions), aligned with transformative change, building capacity within First Nations' governments to collect, manage and, as appropriate, share data.

This comprehensive approach to data and information management ensures that governments (federal, provincial and First Nations) will have the data they need to account for, and report on, investments in First Nations’ health and well-being. Ultimately, the Initiative is working to support the long-term vision of First Nations collecting, owning, and housing their own data.

5. What is unique about the B.C. First Nations’ Data Governance Initiative?

The B.C. First Nations’ Data Governance Initiative is led by First Nations and will unfold in parallel to the transfer of the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, B.C. Region, to the First Nations Health Authority.  First Nations in B.C. are transforming relationships with the provincial health authorities and are establishing comprehensive health and wellness plans through which to coordinate both federal and provincial investments in individual and community well-being.  These plans are being developed through a community-driven engagement process from the ground up, where B.C. First Nations are fully involved in leading, planning and decision-making.

Data Governance is seen as a building block of transformation.  The Initiative lays a foundation for a comprehensive approach to First Nations Data Governance in British Columbia and is transforming how First Nations’ data and information can be governed and managed in B.C.

The Initiative's scope accounts for the health and well-being of all First Nations based on a broad definition of the social determinants of health (early child development, education, social support networks, culture, physical environments…)

6. How does the B.C. First Nations’ Data Governance Initiative link to health system transformation?

The First Nations Health Council represents British Columbia First Nations in leading systems transformation and they together are working to achieve health, through wellness.  The first of Seven Directives (attached), Community-driven, Nation-based, requires that activities support First Nations' goals and objectives, as defined in their comprehensive community development and nation re-building plans, which include health and wellness components.

The Data Governance Initiative is led by First Nations demonstration sites that are engaged in planning and evaluation activities, located in the five health authority regions.  This on the ground collaboration will ultimately provide First Nation communities with easy access to knowledge, standardized administrative tools and instruments that will permit local data collection, linked to reporting at local, regional and national levels, including those associated with the goals of the regional and provincial Health Partnership Accords and Tripartite Health Plans.

7. Why is data governance an important consideration for Federal, British Columbia, and First Nations partners’? 

Jurisdictional issues have resulted in First Nations being subject to a complex and burdensome reporting environment, as noted by the federal Auditor General.  Setting tripartite standards for First Nations' Data Governance and providing all First Nations with document and information management systems, will result in a more streamlined investment, evaluation and reporting environment and increased accountability.  First Nations will have the capacity to generate reports and target investments strategically, to address issues at the individual, family, community and regional levels.

Canada and British Columbia are negotiating self-government agreements with First Nations and timely access to accurate data supports informed and strategic decision-making.

8. What is B.C. First Nations role in the implementation of the Initiative?

B.C. First Nations are leading this Initiative, as an extension of their community development and nation re-building activities.  A group of First Nations from the five geographic regions associated with the health systems transformation and representing the diversity of B.C. First Nations, will collaborate as demonstration sites, building the pathway forward for province-wide reporting reform in support of the transition from a sickness system, to a wellness system.

The demonstration sites will participate in individual data reform projects, working in partnership to advance strategic planning and achieve better results for B.C. First Nations through improved data governance.   Projects will engage First Nations with various provincial ministries and federal departments and together they will help to align data standards with a holistic and integrated social investment model that centralizes information from a variety of sectors including health, education, social services, child and family services, and housing.

They will demonstrate transformative change, developing an integrated set of data rules, policies, standards and technical linkages across all jurisdictions and building capacity within First Nations governments to collect, manage and, as appropriate, share data and maximize efficiencies of existing resources across Federal, B.C. and First Nation governments.

9. What is INAC’s role in the implementation of the Initiative?

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) is committed to supporting Canada's Aboriginal and northern indigenous peoples, including First Nations, in the pursuit of healthy and self-sufficient communities.

INAC is interested in exploring initiatives that incorporate principles of governance of First Nations information as a way to achieve high quality and meaningful data for both INAC and for First Nations communities.  

The Social Development Policy and Programs Branch, and the Planning, Research and Statistics Branch will take the lead in coordinating with INAC and any other interested federal departments.  INAC believes success is built on such collaborative processes that support self-determination and address the full spectrum of the data needs of partners.  INAC will define what the Federal government’s key data needs are and how outcomes will be achieved in the most streamlined approach possible.

INAC has an interest in collaborating with, as well as learning from, initiatives of other government and non-government organizations, to improve the way data are collected, governed, managed and shared; and, that is respectful and useful to all stakeholders.

10. What is the provincial government's role in the implementation of the initiative?

British Columbia is committed to supporting the government-to-government (British Columbia-to-First Nations) vision set out in the 2005 New Relationship vision document and the 2005 Transformative Change Accord (TCA) which acknowledges the importance of First Nations’ governance in supporting healthy communities, and recognizes the B.C. First Nations Data Governance Initiative as providing a framework for moving forward.

The TCA additionally recognizes the collective responsibility for reporting on the progress of closing the socio-economic gaps that exist between First Nations people and other British Columbians and states that resources will be focused towards developing the data and information necessary to monitor and report on agreed upon action plans.

The Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation (MARR) will be the lead for the Government of B.C. and will work with the Ministry of Health and other provincial Ministries and organizations to initiate and coordinate efforts related to this Initiative. The B.C. Government believes active data management increases system effectiveness, improves the accuracy and timeliness of data, and derives maximum business benefit. To demonstrate that services are delivered effectively and to measure outcomes, governments must have efficient access to the data existing in various computer systems, files and reports. 

MARR will support provincial ministries to explore initiatives that incorporate principles of governance of First Nations information as a way to achieve access to high quality and meaningful data associated with the well-being of First Nations individuals and communities.

11. Who are the major players/supporters/stakeholders?

The B.C. First Nations’ Data Governance Initiative is a partnership between B.C.’s First Nations, the Government of British Columbia and the Government of Canada:

The First Nations Health Council (FNHC) is one of the entities created by the Tripartite Framework Agreement on First Nations Health Governance and the members are elected by the Chiefs of British Columbia to represent their interests in systems transformation, at the provincial and national levels.  The Council has been mandated to address the broader social determinants of health.  Partnership Accords have been signed with the B.C. Ministry of Health and the Regional Provincial Health Authorities, in relation to systems transformation.  The Council works closely with other B.C. First Nations Organizations with relevant mandates, to further the objectives of the Initiative;

The B.C. Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation (MARR) leads on behalf of the Government of B.C. while working with the Ministry of Health, other Ministries, the Federal government and Aboriginal organizations to initiate and coordinate efforts to address issues of mutual interest; and

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, specifically the Social Policy and Programs Branch, and the Planning, Research and Statistics Branch, which leads in partnership with INAC’s B.C. Regional Office, works with other federal partners on behalf of the Government of Canada.

12. What is the difference between the First Nations Health Authority and the First Nations Health Council’s involvement in the Initiative?

The First Nations Health Council is a political and advocacy body representative of, and accountable to, B.C. First Nations and they provide a leadership perspective to research, policy and program planning related to First Nations health and wellness in British Columbia. The Health Council has endorsed the B.C. First Nations' Data Governance Strategic Framework on behalf of B.C. First Nations, acknowledging that it is a community-driven, nation-based activity aligned with achieving health system transformation.

The First Nations Health Authority is the legal entity representative of and accountable to B.C. First Nations, responsible for the planning, management, service delivery and funding of health programs previously provided by Health Canada’s First Nations Inuit Health Branch B.C. Region. They will participate in the Initiative projects that relate to health information and reporting reform.

13. How is the B.C. First Nations’ Data Governance Initiative linked to the Transformative Change Accord: First Nations Health Plan?

One of the action items in the Transformative Change Accord: First Nations Health Plan (2007) is to “improve the collection, use and sharing of First Nations data.” The health plans also describe the need to “increase First Nations involvement in decision-making concerning their data and services” and “develop the capacity of First Nations in the area of health information governance.” The B.C. First Nations’ Data Governance Initiative speaks to these action items.

The B.C. First Nations’ Data Governance Initiative is associated with the implementation of the B.C. Tripartite Data Quality and Sharing Agreement signed in April 2010; and the Tripartite Framework Agreement on First Nations Health Governance signed in October 2011 between the federal government, the Province of British Columbia and B.C. First Nations. These agreements transferred health programs and resources from Health Canada to B.C. First Nations in October 2013.

14. Is Health Canada still involved in First Nations program and services management in B.C.?

Health Canada transferred the responsibilities for the planning, design and delivery of health programs and services from Health Canada’s First Nations Inuit Health Branch B.C. Region to the First Nations Health Authority October 2013. The Tripartite Committee on First Nations Health is co-chaired by the Assistant Deputy Minister of Health Canada, along with the Deputy Minister of the B.C. Ministry of Health and the Chairperson of the board of the First Nations Health Authority.  The Tripartite Committee is responsible for coordinating and aligning planning and service delivery among the First Nations Health Authority, the B.C. health authorities, the B.C. Ministry of Health, and Health Canada and includes First Nations Health Council members as well.

15. What are the Initiative’s key accomplishments to date?

One of the critical first steps in achieving the Initiative's objectives is establishing effective tripartite relationships both on a political and practical level.  This has been achieved and significant commitment and even excitement generated within the federal, provincial and First Nations partners.

The B.C. First Nations’ Data Governance Project Team have produced a suite of planning documents including a Concept Paper, Strategic Framework, Terms of Reference, Demonstration Sites Community Data and Work Flow Assessment, Communications Package and a multi-year Action Plan to guide Framework implementation.

The Strategic Framework provides an overview of the vision, goals, objectives and key accomplishments to date.  The Framework provides context for the Initiative and is a guide for the development of subsequent Project Charters to incrementally advance the B.C. First Nations’ Data Governance Initiative.  The Framework builds on the Concept Paper, setting out the roles and responsibilities under the partnership, and outlines the planning and implementation processes to formalize the tripartite governance approach to B.C.-wide First Nations’ data and information management.

2014/2015 saw the development of key products to set the Initiative in motion. A Data Governance Framework, including privacy requirements; a Comprehensive Community Planning Indicator Toolkit; and a study on the state of research in First Nations’ communities were all completed. These products lay the foundation for data governance in First Nation communities across British Columbia.

16. What are the next steps?

The Strategic Framework Action Plan outlines the key planning and implementation activities to take place over the next three years, including: promoting partnerships, sharing information, and implementing projects in a phased manner to test concepts and tools and undertake reporting reform.

Demonstration projects are planned with the engagement of the following B.C. First Nation demonstration sites, representing the 5 geographic regions linked to the Health Council engagement Regions: the Cowichan Tribes (Vancouver Island), Gitxsan Government Commission (Northern region), Ktunaxa Nation and Penticton Indian Band (Interior region), the Seabird Island Band (Fraser region) and the Heiltsuk Nation (Vancouver Coastal region). The Ktunaxa Nation is the host Nation, Championing the Initiative on behalf of all B.C. First Nations.

Charters will be developed to manage the Demonstration Projects and engage the demonstration sites, relevant First Nations provincial organizations, ministries and departments in undertaking a detailed assessment of the business requirements for each program activity area and recommending solutions to achieve efficiencies, increase management capacity and reduce the reporting burden on First Nations, resulting in more accountable First Nations governments.

Following the 2014/2015 products, the Data Governance Framework and the Comprehensive Community Planning Indicator Toolkit will be implemented in all First Nations communities across British Columbia. Training workshops will be held and ongoing technical support is to be provided by the First Nations Health Authority.

17. What are the benefits?

  • A practical approach to implementation of political commitments to transformative change.
  • Ability to address issues common to individual provincial ministries and federal departments.
  • Addressing Auditor General's recommendations related to First Nations reporting.
  • Strengthens productive and respectful relationships between the Federal government, British Columbia, and First Nations' governments and organizations.
  • Long-term lever for First Nations' governance capacity building and sustainable socio-economic development.
  • First Nations’ ownership of community data.
  • Ability to plan and track well-being at the community level.

18. What is needed for the Initiative's success?

  • Effective leadership and engagement of federal departments and provincial ministries in Demonstration Projects, including investments, as able, in capacity building activities.
  • Alignment of federal and provincial First Nation/Aboriginal data and information management activities with the Strategic Framework.
  • Gradual alignment of funding instruments with social investment model.
  • Transfer of governance capacity to First Nations.
  • Effective communications.
  • Timely sharing of results.