The EDI: An Aboriginal Perspective

In Consultation with Aboriginal Communities and Organizations

Consultation with Aboriginal communities and organizations is an ongoing priority at HELP. We have an Aboriginal Steering Committee (ASC) and a Senior Manager, Indigenous Initiatives. All Aboriginal specific positions at HELP are held by Aboriginal peoples with strong ties to community (geographical and relational) based processes. The ASC continues to guide HELP concerning research with Aboriginal children in conjunction with local Aboriginal community leadership. 

Aboriginal Data and Reporting EDI Results

Aboriginal-specific EDI data holdings differ from the non-Aboriginal data holdings in one important way. While both adhere to the same ethics, collection and analysis procedures, HELP recognizes and respects that Aboriginal families, communities and governance have sovereignty and jurisdiction over their children and, therefore, are the owners of data collected for their children. For this reason, HELP does not release disaggregated Aboriginal EDI data publicly. Upon request, Aboriginal data are presented back to community through Aboriginal Education Council meetings, local gatherings, and through invited reporting and briefing presentations with various levels of Aboriginal organizations, communities, and nations. Aboriginal data are never released without the written consent of the involved Nation or appointed representatives.

Please contact Kinwa Bluesky, Senior Manager, Indigenous Initiatives, at to learn how to request Aboriginal specific data and to request tools to help you with your 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 Aboriginal children?

Data from the EDI, in conjunction with data from other population health tools, can provide important information about how Aboriginal children are faring in their communities. Community reports, which include EDI data maps, 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 Aboriginal children.

Almost all school districts also have Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreements in place. The EDI can support these agreements by providing important information about the experiences of Aboriginal children before they enter Grade 1. EDI data can also support increased understanding between Aboriginal peoples and local schools regarding Aboriginal culture and language. 

Aboriginal Participation in the EDI

Public school districts from across the province participate in the EDI each year. Where Aboriginal 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.  EDI results for First Nations children have been shared in school reports directly to the band schools and have not been released publically.

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 Aboriginal Peoples. 

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.