Ethics of Health Research Involving First Nations, Inuit and Métis People

Policy

In December 2010, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada jointly released the 2nd edition of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS).

With this publication, research involving First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada will now be governed by the provisions outlined in Chapter 9 of the TCPS and by any codes of research practice established by Aboriginal communities themselves.

The inclusion of Chapter 9 for research involving First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples marks a significant advance for research in Canada. This new chapter emphasizes the need for equitable partnerships and provides safeguards specific to First Nations, Inuit and Métis people.

The inclusion of Chapter 9 in the revised TCPS would not have been possible without previous work undertaken by CIHR and its Aboriginal partners to create the former CIHR policy: Guidelines for Health Research Involving Aboriginal People. These Guidelines, on which the new chapter of TCPS is based, have been rightfully acknowledged both nationally and internationally, not only for the rigour of their content, but also for the collaborative approach by which they were developed.

The collaborative approach was grounded in the importance that CIHR places on traditional cultural values, community engagement and partnership with Aboriginal people for appropriate and relevant research that can improve health outcomes. CIHR applied those same values and experience when it participated in the development of Chapter 9 of the revised TCPS.

Chapter 9 will assist researchers across the three federal research agencies to undertake, in collaboration with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, mutually beneficial research that is culturally responsive. It provides a strong framework for the ethical conduct of research and is offered in a spirit of respect.