01. What is First Nations Statistics?
First Nations Statistics is an initiative to create a statistical service agency for First Nations communities and other stakeholders. It is envisioned that the institute will evolve into a center of expertise for First Nations statistics, to the benefit of First Nations and all users.
The institute will be tasked to produce higher quality information, and enable better usage of First Nations statistics for all users. The institute’s three main functions will be to provide information for the fiscal institutions – created in the same piece of legislation - to carry out their work, improve the quality of First Nations information in all levels of government, and improve the statistical capacity in First Nations communities.
The Union of Ontario Indians is sponsoring the development of the statistical institute.
02. Is the institute operational right now?
No. The legislation to create the statistical institute has been passed by the government, including Royal Assent. However, its enabling law will not come into force until spring 2006.
Until then, the development of the institute will continue, with a Board of Directors established, policies developed, head office location identified, and other pre-implementation activities to ensure the institute is prepared for its coming into force.
03. What are some examples of how the institute could assist First Nations?
The statistical institute will provide statistics that can be used as a management tool by First Nations and create performance measures that help improve First Nations government.
FNSI could work on improving First Nations administrative data systems and reduce the administrative costs. There is no agency coordinating the collection of First Nations administrative data, clearly articulated by the Auditor-General’s report of 2002.
The institute will provide statistics that would help First Nations determine what types of investment they are best able to attract. Moreover, it would provide statistics that support First Nations in marketing their communities to investors. Investors typically have difficulty acquiring the information they require.
FNSI will work with Statistics Canada and First Nations to improve the quality of Census information collected from First Nations. This information is vital as it is used to help dictate funding formulas for First Nations.
04. What services will the institute provide for the other institutes created by the First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act
- Work with First Nations and the First Nations Tax Commission (FNTC) to develop statistics that allow First Nations to better manage their tax systems.
- Work with First Nations and the FNTC to develop statistics that protect investments in improved infrastructure while identifying potential risks.
- It can work with First Nations and the FNFA to develop statistics that safeguard investments in improved infrastructure while identifying potential risks.
05. What is the relationship between the institute and Statistics Canada?
The First Nations Statistical Institute will play a complimentary role to Statistics Canada. Statistics Canada focuses on large collection surveys, most notably the Census. The current gap in the process is the lack of interpretative bodies. The First Nations Statistical Institute will:
- Focus on analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of existing data, such as Census data
- Build capacity in First Nations communities to understand and utilize the data
- Work with Statistics Canada and First Nations to improve the quality of information collected from First Nations, by assisting in developing collection methodologies which respond to First Nations’ unique needs
06. Is the institute optional for First Nations?
FNSI is all about options. It is a service agency to communities.
If a community or group of communities want to reduce their reporting requirements then FNSI could be an option to help.
If a community or group of communities want to compare their education, health or social funding to municipalities or provinces than FNSI could be an option to help.
If a community or group of communities want to develop information systems that attract investors to their opportunities than FNSI could an option to help.
If a community wants to raise the accuracy of the data collected from surveys, then FNSI is an option to help.
FNS has no compelling authority, meaning First Nations cannot be forced by the institute to participate in statistical projects.
07. How could I get involved in the development of the institute?
The First Nations Statistics Advisory Panel would like to hear from First Nations community members, organizations, and other stakeholders. As the institute is not yet operational; instead, in development, the opportunity is there to shape and mold the institute.
Please click here to let us know what you think. What do you envision in a First Nations statistical institute? What needs do you have, or what gaps have you identified, that the institute could play a role in improving?
Furthermore, if you would like to be included on the institute’s mailing list, or if you would like to get involved in some capacity in the development, please contact us (information is on the “Contact Us” page).