Informing community engagement
Understanding needs and priorities
Organizations and individuals within the Canadian health-care system should commit to learning about the historical and ongoing experiences of First Nations, Inuit and Métis in the land now known as Canada. A review and reflection of the following information and concepts is a good place to start:
- First Nations, Inuit and Métis are culturally rich, strong and resilient. It is important to understand the impact of past trauma on individuals and communities, particularly during times of stress.
- When working together, it is critical to recognize and understand the critical and relevant legislation and principles including the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, the First Nations data governance principles of ownership, control, access and possession OCAP ® Inuit and Métis research principles and protocols, and existing jurisdictional contexts.
- First Nations and Inuit access health care services through the federal non-insured health benefit program, and Métis have a similar program. This often presents unique jurisdictional and local challenges. Existing resources such as Ontario Health’s Indigenous Relationship and Cultural Safety Courses help non-Indigenous organizations and teams better understand the intricacies of how these services are delivered and the impact on patients.
- First Nations-, Inuit- and Métis-specific, self-determined priorities and indicator concepts in the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control reflect the effort and investments identified by Indigenous communities regarding what is needed to drive change in cancer care, outcomes and experience and improve the health and wellbeing of all First Nations, Inuit and Métis.
Where to start with community engagement
A list of tools will help organizations to start meaningful engagement with community partners. While not Indigenous Peoples-specific, these tools include strategies that can be adapted to different contexts and communities:
- International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) Spectrum describes different levels of engagement.
- The Tamarack Institute’s Community Engagement Planning Canvas is a fillable template to help organizations map out their community engagement strategy and their Index of Community Engagement Techniques offers strategies for varying goals of engagement.
- Understanding Co-Design is an Alberta Health Services resource that describes key principles of co-design and provides tangible examples of application in health care projects.
Community engagement in action
Recently five partners engaged communities to increase colorectal screening rates within their jurisdiction. Their key takeaways may help you get started.
How to be an ally
Interested in learning how to create a positive and sustainable impact on the lives of First Nations, Inuit and Métis? Take a look at the Indigenous Ally Toolkit created by the Montreal Indigenous Community Network.