Honouring all our relations: Advancing health and wellness of uncounted Indigenous peoples in BC through addressing gaps in population health and wellness reporting

This Health System Impact Fellowship is co-funded by CIHR, MSFHR, and BC Office of the Provincial Health Officer (health system partner), to help build BC’s health policy research capacity for the integration of policy research into decision-making.

Reporting on the health and wellness of populations is vital to monitor trends, identify priorities, track progress towards targets, and address inequities. All Indigenous peoples — including those who do not have ‘Status’ under Canada’s Indian Act — have the right to be counted. Their perspectives and priorities must guide how data is collected, used, and reported. Yet, at present, First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples who do not have ‘Status’ or are not registered with Metis Nation BC are ‘invisible’ and ‘uncounted’ within population health and wellness reporting in British Columbia (BC).  Responsibility for reporting on health of BC residents lies with the Office of the Provincial Health Officer (OPHO). Through agreements with federal, provincial, and Indigenous governments, the OPHO’s responsibilities include collaboratively reporting on health and wellness of diverse Indigenous peoples living in the province. Currently, there is no process in place to report on health and wellness of “uncounted” Indigenous peoples. This work must be done in partnership with Indigenous collectives representing this population. Current gaps include:

  • No strengths-based, self-determined terminology to refer to diverse Indigenous peoples who are uncounted in population health data.
  • Lack of formal relationships with Indigenous collectives representing uncounted Indigenous peoples.
  • No way of identifying this population in existing BC population health data.
  • Absence of research frameworks that reflect uncounted Indigenous peoples’ perspectives of health and wellness.
  • No implementation plan for province-wide population health reporting led by uncounted Indigenous peoples, on their terms .

The goal of this project is to support the health and wellness of uncounted Indigenous peoples living in BC by addressing current gaps in population health reporting, through partnerships that uphold Indigenous self-determination, decision-making, and perspectives of health and wellness.

Source: CIHR Funding Decisions Database