Notice to Community

As you may know, the Office of Evaluation at Health Canada is leading an evaluation of the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) Mental Wellness Programs. As one component of this evaluation (called a Program Cluster Evaluation), FNIHB is asking for feedback about how its Mental Wellness programs are working. FNIHB has contracted our company, Horizons Community Development Associates ( to help with this work. The purpose of this part of the evaluation is to better understand first, if/how these Mental Wellness programs integrate with other community-based programs and services, and second, if/how these programs affect mental wellness outcomes for individuals, families, and communities.

We are inviting community program staff, Chiefs/Mayors and Councils, program participants, and other community members that have participated in a Mental Wellness program and/or have received health support services from the Indian Residential Schools Residential Support Program (IRS RHSP) to participate in a survey. We anticipate that this survey will complement the IRS RHSP client satisfaction survey that took place in the fall of 2014.

Your community has the opportunity to share the positive impact these programs may have had. You can submit stories, case studies, reports, newsletters, videos or any other medium to illustrate your community’s successes. There is a question at the end of the survey where you can let us know that you’re interested and we will follow-up with you. The survey was developed by a working group whose members included FNIHB Mental Wellness and Addictions Regional Coordinators, FNIHB headquarters staff, an Assembly of First Nations health representative, and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) staff. Throughout the process, working group members liaised with their Regional teams and co-management committees (or similar structures) to provide guidance around data collection processes that respect Ownership Control Access Possession (OCAP) principles and other community-specific processes/protocols. These include:

  • recognizing cultural protocols relevant to the Aboriginal communities involved in evaluation, community leaders will be consulted to obtain their consent prior to approaching community members individually;
  • using culturally relevant evaluation methods that include, where appropriate, face to face focus groups with community level Program staff and participants recognizing a preference for oral and participatory methods;
  • discussing anonymity, privacy, and confidentiality prior to the collection of data; and,
  • meaningful engagement of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) in the evaluation process, which includes providing an opportunity to review data collection methods and tools developed to collect community-level data, preliminary findings and a draft of the evaluation report.

Your input will be held in the strictest confidence. We will combine your individual comments with all the other input we collect, and we will not use any names in the report. We will also remove anything in your comments that could identify you or your community. You may skip any questions you do not wish to answer. We will not tell FNIHB who participated, or which questions anyone answered.

Once the data are collected, we will develop national and regional summaries which will be shared with communities.

The link to the web survey is: A French version is also available.

If you do not have reliable access to the Internet please email us and we will send you a version of the survey that you can fax or email to us.

Please feel free to contact us via email or the telephone numbers below if you have any questions. Also please feel free to contact Lynn Kennedy with FNIHB ( or 613-884-2484).

We look forward to your input.

Best wishes,
Jean Robinson-Dexter
(902) 354-2397

Cari Patterson
(902) 582-7940