Aboriginal health

25 April 2022

Perinatal Psychoactive Substance Use Among Indigenous Women: Social Determinants

Because of its impact on the health of families and future generations, psychoactive substance use during the perinatal period is a public health concern for the entire population. Understanding the factors that influence psychoactive substance use among Indigenous women in the perinatal period is essential to targeting prevention and health and wellness promotion strategies for First Nations and Inuit people. This synthesis analyzes the factors that emerge from the scientific literature through the lens of social determinants of health.

  • Strong family ties, social support and connection to community, traditional values and culture emerged as protective factors against psychoactive substance use during the perinatal period for Indigenous women. These factors are associated with the social environment and cultural continuity, which are social determinants of Indigenous health.
  • Difficult living conditions (job insecurity, low education level, and frequent relocat…
21 September 2021

Impact Assessments in Indigenous Contexts: Promising Avenues for Reflection and Improvement for Health Impact Assessments

This document is intended for public health authorities who wish to undertake a health impact assessment (HIA) in Indigenous contexts in Canada, practitioners working in the field of impact assessment, and Indigenous organizations that wish to undertake or participate in impact assessments.

Approaches to prospectively assessing the environmental, social and health impacts of policies, programs or projects are increasingly being implemented and standardized in a large number of countries. When these approaches are implemented in Indigenous contexts in Canada, that is, when they involve First Nations, Inuit or Métis, they raise specific issues related in large part to the gap that exists between the worldviews held in these communities and the Western approaches to evaluation that underpin the practice of impact assessment (IA). This discrepancy can be observed, in particular, in relation to conceptions of health, to knowledge systems, to the information used to estimate the e…

3 November 2020

COVID-19: Indigenous resilience, a lever to support

The COVID-19 pandemic and its economic and social repercussions have highlighted the social and health inequalities that make Indigenous communities particularly vulnerable to the pandemic and its impacts.

In response to COVID-19, representatives from Indigenous communities and organizations have quickly taken measures and applied their knowledge to protect the people in their communities, especially elders and individuals with chronic illnesses. The strategies used are based on known community resilience factors: frequent and appropriate communication, strong local leadership, protection of and access to the territory, a response tailored to the needs of the community, and maintenance of family and social ties.

Focusing on community resilience may be a promising avenue for protecting the health and well-being of Indigenous people in Québec and around the world. Community resilience will be fostered by actions that:

  • Consider the health of Indigenous popu…
24 April 2020

Indigenous-specific Mental Health and/or Wellness Strategies in Canada

The NCCHPP produced a Scan of Mental Health Strategies to show what is being developed in the field of population mental health across Canada. This Scan provides an overview of mental health and wellness and related strategies through comparative tables and summaries, with a particular emphasis on work related to the promotion of mental health and the prevention of mental illnesses.

This document presents the information contained in the online comparative table that lists the most recent Indigenous-specific mental health and/or wellness strategies in Canada. In developing this section of the Scan, a search of the grey literature was carried out, and completed by reaching out to key informants in certain provinces/territories. Briefly, we searched for Indigenous-specific mental health strategies and suicide prevention strategies in each province and territory, as well as pan-Canadian strategies. In addition, Indigenous-specific wellness strategies were also identified and in…

7 December 2015

The Diet of Québec First Nations and Inuit Peoples

  • The diet of Québec’s First Nations and Inuit has changed significantly in a few decades. It passed from a diet based on local natural resources to a mixed diet or one relying exclusively on commercial food.
  • When adding a sedentary lifestyle and the social conditions of many families and communities, the commercially-based diet, which is high in refined sugars, trans fat, and sodium and low in essential nutrients, contributes to chronic illnesses like obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
  • The traditional diet is healthy and high in a variety of essential nutrients (iron, zinc, and vitamins A, B, C and D). The foods in this regimen generally contain abundant animal proteins as well as essential fatty acids. Eating these foods is advocated for their positive effects on individual global health.
  • A healthy and varied diet includes products obtained from hunting, trapping, fishing and gathering, but also through access to a variety of quality and…
29 January 2014

Updated program for combating sexually transmissible and blood-borne infections Nunavik: clinical intervention section

In Nunavik, the battle against bacterial sexually transmissible and blood-borne infections (STBBIs) has become increasingly urgent. In the wake of mass interventions in the 1990s, and despite more recent efforts, the region has been unable to lower its incidence curves, particularly for gonococcal infection, which has reached epidemic proportions since fall 2007. In this context, and spurred by the renewed interest of medical teams on the ground, the Direction de santé publique (department of public health: DSP) of the Régie régionale de la santé et des services sociaux du Nunavik / Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services (NRBHSS) has asked the Institut national de santé publique (Québec's national public health institute: INSPQ) to support a group of experts in an attempt to optimize the regional program for clinical prevention of STBBIs. Accordingly, a meeting was held on October 2010. In attendance were representatives of the two CSSS organizations (physicians, a con…

14 December 2012

Health Profile of Nunavik 2011: Demographic and Socioeconomic Conditions


  • Nunavik's population has doubled over the past 30 years, growing from 5,860 in 1986 to 11,860 in 2011.
  • Nunavik's population is young: approximately one third (34%) of the population is under 15 years of age, compared to 16% for Québec.
  • The population aged 65 or older has been constantly growing since the end of the nineties and will continue to grow over the next few years: the proportion of people aged 65 or older will increase from 3% in 2011 to 8% in 2031.
  • Nunavik can be easily compared with other Inuit regions: they all have a large proportion of young people and few elderly at this time.


  • The average number of children per woman in Nunavik is one of the highest in Québec with 3.2 children per woman in Nunavik and 1.6 in Québec for the 2004–2008 period.
  • The women of Nunavik have children at a younger age than their peers in Québec: the average age…
14 December 2012

Health Profile of Nunavik 2011: Demographic and Socioeconomic Conditions - Highlights

This summary features highlights from the first section of the Nunavik Health Profile 2011 on demographic and socioeconomic conditions. It contains information on demographic (population, fertility) and socioeconomic (family, education, employment, income, food security) indicators.

The demographic and socioeconomic profile that emerges allows us to identify certain challenges that need to be addressed in order to improve health and well-being among the Nunavimmiut.

  • Population growth: The population of Nunavik has increased significantly in recent years, and this trend is continuing. The regional housing supply has not kept up with this strong population growth and the needs of new families. Nunavik should obtain the necessary support from provincial and federal authorities to be able to offer adequate housing in sufficient numbers.
  • Education: Education and employment are already major regional development issues. Young people age 15 to 24 are currentl…
9 June 2010

Research on the Health of Québec First Nations and Inuit: An Overview - 20 Years of Research at a Glance

Speaking to the First Nations of Québec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission's 2007-2017 Blueprint, this review provides valuable information to guide the development of research on First Nations and Inuit.

Between 2008 and 2009, both the First Nations of Québec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission (FNQLHSSC) and the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) worked together to achieve this report. It follows through with the commitment made by the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux du Québec (MSSS) to entrust the INSPQ with the support of experts allowing a strong increase in research ability within the FNQLHSSC.

The objective of this report is to provide relevant and valid information on the specific reality of Aboriginal health research, allowing us to determine strategic development priorities to influence and improve the health of Québec First Nations and Inuit.

9 June 2010

Research on the Health of Québec First Nations and Inuit: An Overview from 1986 to 2006

This document presents the results of a review conducted in 2008 of Québec First Nations and Inuit health research, with the goal to identify priorities for research development and in order to shed light on decisions in regards to the health needs of Aboriginal populations.

A conceptual framework was developed to accurately define the area of Aboriginal health research. This area was defined as being composed of: The entirety of research activities on the health and well being of the Aboriginal population and on their determinants focused on producing, integrating and applying scientific knowledge, valid and relevant to the First Nations of Québec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission (FNQLHSSC) in the exercise of its mandate towards communities, families and individuals.

This review looked at 230 Aboriginal health research projects funded between 1986 and 2006. These projects, selected on the basis of the principles and criteria defined in the…