The EDI: An Indigenous Perspective

Engagement with Indigenous Communities and Organizations

Engagement with First Nations Métis, and Inuit communities and organizations is an ongoing priority at HELP. We have an  Aboriginal Steering Committee (ASC) and a Senior Manager, Indigenous Initiatives, who are helping to guide our actions in upholding our commitments to create equitable and respectful change. All Indigenous-specific positions at HELP are held by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Peoples with strong ties to community. The ASC continues to guide HELP concerning research with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children in conjunction with local Indigenous community leadership. 

Indigenous Data Sharing and Reporting 

HELP recognizes and respects that First Nations, Métis, and Inuit families, communities, and governance have sovereignty and jurisdiction over their children. They are the owners of data collected for their children. For this reason, HELP does not release disaggregated Indigenous EDI data publicly. Upon request, Indigenous children’s data are presented back to community through Indigenous Education Council meetings, local gatherings, and through invited reporting and briefing presentations with various levels of Indigenous organizations, communities, and Nations.  

Please contact Kinwa Bluesky, Senior Manager, Indigenous Initiatives, at to make a Data Sharing Request.

In order to ensure that data results are understood and not used to perpetuate misperceptions about Aboriginal children, HELP’s Aboriginal Community Liaison Coordinator works closely with HELP’s Aboriginal Steering Committee on the reporting and dissemination process of Aboriginal specific EDI data. Community engagement with Aboriginal communities is an ongoing priority at HELP. We work closely with school district Aboriginal Education Councils and with community and Nation based governance organizations.

How does the EDI benefit Indigenous children?

Data from the EDI, in conjunction with data from other population health tools, can provide important information about how Indigenous children are faring in their communities. Community reports, which include EDI data, can be used as a community engagement tool, enabling parents, care givers, and community members to get together, understand, and appreciate the importance of the early years. The information provided can be used to plan and implement initiatives that address the specific needs of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children. 

Almost all school districts also have Indigenous Education Enhancement Agreements in place.  The EDI can support these Agreements by providing important information about the experiences of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children before they enter Grade 1. EDI data can also support increased understanding between First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Peoples and schools regarding their culture and language.  

Indigenous Participation in the EDI

Public school districts from across the province participate in the EDI each year.  Where First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children attend public school Kindergarten, they have the opportunity to participate in the EDI survey; participation in the EDI survey is voluntary. 

HELP takes a community by community (Nation by Nation) approach, engaging with geographical and relational communities and First Nations Band Schools. We intend to ensure that local protocols and initiatives are respected and that community-based discussions include accurate information in order to answer specific questions or concerns. 

About thirty percent of First Nations on reserve schools have participated in the EDI over the past 10 years. Some have participated once or twice while others have participated every year.  

Privacy and Ethics

HELP is guided by ethical standards for research accepted by all academic institutions in Canada.  It is guided by both the First Nations Principles of OCAP™ (ownership, control, access, and possession) and the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans, Chapter 9, Research Involving First Nations, Inuit & Métis Peoples of Canada. 

HELP's research depends on accurate, high-quality data that includes personal information. Safeguarding these data is a responsibility that HELP takes very seriously.  We follow the highest standards available, many of which are required by law.  To ensure that the privacy and confidentiality of individuals is upheld, all of HELP's systems and processes meet or exceed the requirements of provincial and federal privacy legislation. Please visit HELP's Safeguarding Personal Information page for more information.