Ethics of Health Research Involving First Nations, Inuit and Métis People
In December 2010, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada jointly released the 2nd edition of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS).
With this publication, research involving First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada will now be governed by the provisions outlined in Chapter 9 of the TCPS and by any codes of research practice established by Aboriginal communities themselves.
The inclusion of Chapter 9 for research involving First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples marks a significant advance for research in Canada. This new chapter emphasizes the need for equitable partnerships and provides safeguards specific to First Nations, Inuit and Métis people.
The inclusion of Chapter 9 in the revised TCPS would not have been possible without previous work undertaken by CIHR and its Aboriginal partners to create the former CIHR policy: Guidelines for Health Research Involving Aboriginal People. These Guidelines, on which the new chapter of TCPS is based, have been rightfully acknowledged both nationally and internationally, not only for the rigour of their content, but also for the collaborative approach by which they were developed.
The collaborative approach was grounded in the importance that CIHR places on traditional cultural values, community engagement and partnership with Aboriginal people for appropriate and relevant research that can improve health outcomes. CIHR applied those same values and experience when it participated in the development of Chapter 9 of the revised TCPS.
Chapter 9 will assist researchers across the three federal research agencies to undertake, in collaboration with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, mutually beneficial research that is culturally responsive. It provides a strong framework for the ethical conduct of research and is offered in a spirit of respect.
Capacity Building: funding opportunities
Having worked alongside Aboriginal people to help set the standard of ethics for research involving First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, CIHR remains committed to supporting and enabling research of the highest quality to improve the lives of Aboriginal people in Canada.
The CIHR Institute of Aboriginal People's Health offers a suite of funding opportunities to researchers. The Ethics Office complements these by offering a specialized Meeting Planning and Dissemination Grant (MPD) Priority Announcement designed to build capacity for local Aboriginal research oversight. The intent is to enable First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities to develop the local infrastructure to make informed decisions about the type of research they need and about how it should proceed within their communities. See the Ethics Office funding page for more information about this opportunity.
Training and Guidance Material
To support implementation of the 2nd Edition of the TCPS, the Secretariat to the Tri-Council Panel on Research Ethics (SRE), in partnership with the CIHR Ethics Office, is updating the online tutorial, including a module on research involving Aboriginal people. The Ethics Office is also supporting the design of regional training workshops for better understanding and uptake of Chapter 9 regarding research involving Aboriginal people.