Why is this indicator important to First Nations, Inuit and Métis?
For First Nations, Inuit and Métis, what gets measured matters.1 Having data about service access and burden of illness, for example, is critical in documenting needs and informing health services and program planning as well as proposal development for necessary investments in healthcare infrastructure.
This critical information can also be used to inform prevention programs, characterize the burden of disease and rare cancers, support screening programs, and identify Peoples-specific and environmental risk factors.
Understanding First Nations, Inuit and Métis cancer care access, quality, experience, and outcomes requires distinctions-based identification data and can inform system improvements to support better care and outcomes.
However, it is important that such processes which enable the identification of First Nations, Inuit and Métis citizens within mainstream systems are nested within the context of sound patient education and awareness campaigns as well as culturally safe data collection processes.
Further, in keeping with the principles of data sovereignty and data governance, such data, no matter where and how it is gathered must be accessible to First Nations, Inuit and Métis governments, communities and organizations and protected against misuse by others.
How does this affect care and outcomes?
The identification of First Nations, Inuit and Métis-specific data can inform First Nations, Inuit and Metis-led interventions to improve equity in health care access, quality, experience, and outcomes.
Processes to systematically gather First Nations, Inuit and Métis identity data in culturally safe ways as well as data sharing agreements so that First Nations, Inuit and Métis governments can access and use the data to address self-determined health priorities are needed.
First Nations, Inuit and Métis identity data can also highlight inequities that may be the result of racism, bias, and discrimination, and be used to institute measures to address these inequities.
Towards health equity
First Nations, Inuit and Métis governments and communities can access and use data to understand and address unmet health needs and plan for self-determined priorities.
First Nations, Inuit and Métis-specific data will enable the systemic identification and monitoring of health inequities that may arise from systemic racism and discrimination and can inform anti-racism strategies.
The measurement of inequities is a key first step in closing such gaps.
What this would mean for people in Canada
All people in Canada would experience equitable access to quality cancer care.
- Rodriguez-Lonebear, D. 2016. Building a data revolution in Indian country. In: Kukutai, T and Taylor, J (eds.), Indigenous data sovereignty: Toward an agenda, pp. 253–272. Canberra, Australia: Australian National University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.22459/CAEPR38.11.2016.14