Information Governance and Data Projects

The Union of Nova Scotia Indians is responsible for the administration of the Nova Scotia sector of the First Nations Regional Longitudinal Health Survey (RHS).  Working with all 13 First Nations communities across Nova Scotia, the Program Manager coordinates research activities pertinent to the RHS.  The Program Manager also works with Abeqweit and Lennox Island, Prince Edward Island, and Miawpukek in Conne River, Newfoundland.

Designed by and for First Nations people, the RHS is a First Nations-specific survey that applies to on-reserve participants only. The study looks into the determinants of health such as housing, income levels, food security, mental health, family structure, residential school history, community wellness, health care access, injury, smoking, alcohol, drugs, suicide, physical activity, languages, education, water quality, social activities, and other factors over several cycles, or phases.

The RHS was launched in 1997 and was the first national survey to comply with the First Nations OCAP (Ownership, Control, Access and Possession) principles, a stepping stone in First Nations control over research.

View results from the 2008-2010 Regional Health Survey.

The RHS took place in 10 regions across Canada using a standardized set of questions. Separate from the National survey, however, was the Nova Scotia regional survey that asked specific questions pertinent to First Nations. The NS regional survey was designed by the Nova Scotia RHS Advisory Committee,  comprised of Health Directors and practitioners from several Mi’kmaq communities from around the province. The purpose of the regional survey is to reveal NS RHS-specific data.

The RHS Program Manager travels to all 16 communities in the region, promoting RHS and providing training to individual fieldworkers. These workers deliver the survey to four (4) groups of on-reserve Mi’kmaq:

1) Elders (ages 55+);
2)Adults (ages 18 – 54);
3) Youth (ages 12 – 17); and
4) Children (ages 0 – 11).

The surveys are delivered in the home, or at community or health centres and takes between 20-45 minutes to complete, depending on age category.

Participants for the survey are chosen randomly through a computer-generated formula. The questions are extensive (see survey sample) and are aimed at taking an accurate snapshot of the health determinants of each region. At the end of this survey phase, 2112 surveys will be completed.

The objective of RHS is for First Nations communities to have complete control over if and how they may use the analyzed data from the survey. Band Councils may choose to use the data to leverage funding for health-specific programming as the survey results will substantiate the need for certain programs within their communities.

The results are anticipated in 2010, when the report will be delivered to individual communities within the Nova Scotia region.


Blog (NEW!)

September 2018


First Nations Regional Health Survey: Phase 1 (RHS, 2002-03)
First Nations Regional Health Survey: Phase 2 (RHS, 2008-2010)


Contact Information Governance Staff
 201 Churchill Drive – Suite 304, Membertou, Nova Scotia, Canada B1S OH1
Fax : (902) 564-2137

Mindy Denny – Director 

Phone: (902) 539-4107 (ext: 205)

Wasuek Googoo – Projects Coordinator

Phone: (902) 539-4107 (ext: 213)

Allystar Gould – Junior Research Assistant

(902) 539-4107 (ext: 213)

Vacant – Statistics Analyst