• Education: an important determinant of health
Oct 09, 2018

There are many ways to measure and discuss education. For example, here is what is presented in the RHS education booklet – Phase 3: school attendance, school path, education, learning problems, employment, income and health. These measurable characteristics are interrelated, which makes it possible to compile a complete portrait of the educational situation of First Nations.

Considering that education is one of the major social determinants of health,[1] it is important to be aware of the reality of First Nations in the communities. Here are some results on education taken from the 2015 Regional Health Survey (RHS).


Children (0-11 years old)

Education begins at an early age, and an estimated four out of ten children between the ages of 0 and 11 years old currently attend or at some time attended an Aboriginal Head Start Program.

At the same time, it is troubling to note that almost two children in ten (18%) aged 6 to 11 years old have already repeated a grade.

Adolescents (11-17 years old)

When looking at school attendance and health, it is possible to observe the interrelationships between these topics. Figure 1 shows that adolescents (12-17 years old) who attend school report having better general health than adolescents who do not attend school.


Adults (18 years old +)

For adults, it is possible to measure the highest level of completed studies. Here are the results collected at the time of the survey in 2015. It can be observed that 4 out of 10 people have a high school diploma (general or vocational) while 2 out of 10 have completed post-secondary studies.



We are available to assist you in your reflection on the results of the RHS and the social determinants of health or other themes according to your needs.


For more information, please contact Joannie Gray Roussel, Support Agent - Research and Evaluation at 418-842-1540, ext. 2509.


The results presented here are from the Quebec First Nations Regional Health Survey (RHS) – Phase 3. The survey was conducted between February 2015 and May 2016 in 21 First Nations communities in Quebec.



First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission. (2017). Quebec First Nations Regional Health Survey (RHS) – Phase 3 (2015) – Education



[1] According to the WHO: “The social determinants of health are the circumstances in which people are born, grow up, live, work and age, and the systems put in place to deal with illness. These circumstances are in turn shaped by a wider set of forces: economics, social policies, and politics.”