First Nations Regional Health Survey

For the past 15 years, the First Nations Regional Health Survey (RHS) has been known as the baseline survey for the First Nations of Canada. Its objective consists in providing a detailed picture of the health and general well-being of First Nations living in communities.

The results generated by the RHS are used in particular in decision-making processes, at local, regional and national levels.

This survey, which applies the principles of ownership, control, access and possession of information (OCAP), is the first whose governance, research method development and coordination come fully under the responsibility of First Nations authorities.

What is OCAP?

The principles of ownership, control, access and possession (OCAP) are related to data and information management. Moreover, these principles were developed in 1997 by the Regional Health Survey Steering Committee. With these principles in mind, First Nations take part from beginning to end in research projects or program evaluations conducted by the Research Sector.

Study Background

The pilot survey was carried out in 1997. Since that time, 2 phases were conducted: the first in 2002, and the second in 2008.

Coordination of the Study

The national coordination of the RHS is carried out by the First Nation Information Governance Centre. At the regional level, it is coordinated by the Research Sector of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission (FNQLHSSC).

Planning of the study is performed with the support of the Quebec First Nations Regional Research Committee. This committee ensures that First Nations values and ethics are complied with throughout the project.

Population under Study

In Quebec, the HRS targets the 8 following nations:

  • Abenaki
  • Algonquin
  • Atikamekw
  • Innu
  • Mi’kmaq
  • Mohawk
  • Naskapi
  • Wendat.

The survey targets the entire population living within these nations’ communities.

The results are collected using 3 separate questionnaires which are adapted to various age groups:

  • Children (0 to 11 years old);
  • Adolescents (12 to 17 years old);
  • Adults (18 years old and over).


To learn more about this initiative, visit the First Nation Information Governance Centre site. For more information on population surveys, please contact the Population Surveys Coordinator.

FNQLHSSC Publications

RHS Phase 3

Health and wellness 

Sociodemographic and socioeconomic conditions

Lifestyle habits and behaviours

Physical and social environment

RHS 2015 fact sheets

RHS 2008 RHS 2008 fact sheets
RHS 2002

External Link