We, as research leaders within PHSA, together with PHSA’s Indigenous Self Identification Working Group chaired by PHSA’s Indigenous Health Team, are strongly committed to strengthening the diversity of research participants and ensuring that research conducted at PHSA is inclusive. It is our hope that more inclusive research can lead to positive changes that will improve health outcomes and experiences for all patients.
For this reason, we are endorsing the collection of race-, ethnicity-based and Indigenous Identity data according to the Standards for Race-Based and Indigenous Identity Data Collection Health Reporting in Canada developed by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). Collecting these data is a positive step towards promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion in the conduct of research at PHSA. We also aim to ensure that the collection of these data leads to meaningful change by monitoring and evaluating the impacts of this initiative to underserved research populations over time.
- Dr. François Bénard, senior executive director, BC Cancer Research Institute
- Dr. Quynh Doan, senior executive director, BC Children’s Research Institute
- Dr. Lori Brotto, executive director, Women’s Health Research Institute
- Dr. Tonia Nicholls, forensic research lead, BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services Research Institute
- Dr. Christian Schütz, research lead, Adult Mental Health & Substance Use, BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services Research Institute
- Dr. David Patrick, director of research, BC Centre for Disease Control
This statement asserts a strong commitment from all partners (funding agencies/ research institutes /government) to embed Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in all facets of PHSA’s research ecosystems. The collection of race-, ethnicity-based and Indigenous Identity data is an important initiative to drive the changes and enhance equity in all the research process.
“In order to achieve world-class research, we must address systemic barriers that limit the full participation of all talented individuals. Moreover, we must create a culture where embedding equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) considerations into all aspects of research is second nature.” (Tri-Agency Plan for 2018-2025)
The project, which supports the Research Roadmap initiative to strengthen equity, diversity, and inclusivity in the conduct of research, began with the creation of a dedicated working group of researchers and research leaders from across PHSA and the wider community. From the initial explorations of PHSA research, this team identified the lack of race-, ethnicity-based and Indigenous Identity data.
The working group implemented a culturally safe process for collection of this type of data, reducing the risk of harm and improving their quality for use in future research studies. Fortunately, group members found that concurrent work had already been done nationally, through the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), part of Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).
In March 2022, CIHI launched The Standards for Race-Based and Indigenous Identity Data Collection and Health Reporting in Canada based on years of consultation and research, which would have been the same work that would have to be replicated in B.C., taking even more of PHSA’s time and resources after beginning preliminary policy work.
CIHI asserts that collecting this type of data is “vital for the identification and monitoring of health inequalities that stem from racism, bias, and discrimination, and to inform interventions to improve equity in health care access, quality, experience, and outcomes.”
To express their strong, unified support, six leaders of PHSA’s research institutes endorsed the national standards through this joint statement. This approach has the advantage of promoting unity across PHSA’s research enterprise and brings the organization in line with national standards that align with standards developed by Statistics Canada for key surveys and resources, such as the census.
Sample questions from Indigenous Identity and race-, ethnicity-based data standards guidance from CIHI
“The joint statement reflects our research leaders’ collective commitment to advancing equity, diversity, access, and inclusion within research led by their research institutes. As our leaders, they want to understand the diversity of current research participants in order to strengthen the quality of data moving forward.” - Ellen Chesney, Chief Administrative Officer Research
This initiative is supported by PHSA’s Indigenous Self Identification Working Group chaired by PHSA’s Indigenous Health Team and the DEI department.
The signing of this statement helps to affirm PHSA’s recognition of the urgency to move forward with an Indigenous Self Identification (ISI) standard to ensure that Indigenous Peoples are accurately counted and represented in various programs and services. PHSA’s commitment to implementing ISI ensures that we are committed to our goal of eliminating Indigenous Specific Racism. The CIHI standard provides a standardized (but voluntary) approach for accurately collecting and comparing data that can help improve health care access, quality, and outcomes, and starts to address the health inequities stemming from racism and discrimination impacting historically and systemically marginalized groups.
The CIHI ISI standard was developed through significant consultation and collaboration with Indigenous communities and organizations, as well as with government and health care partners. This approach ensures that the standard is respectful of Indigenous cultures, practices, and perspectives, and that it reflects the diversity of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Additionally, the CIHI ISI standard builds off the Aboriginal Administrative Data Standard (AADS), which has been widely used and accepted by governments and organizations across Canada (including the First Nations Health Authority). As AADS questions roll-up into the CIHI questions, it provides a smooth transition for those already using the AADS and offers a consistent approach for all. With some programs in British Columbia already migrating towards the CIHI ISI standard, endorsing this standard nationally will help to provide consistency and comparability of data across all jurisdictions.
The new standards, which can be found online
, apply to all research led by PHSA researchers and occurring at PHSA-based sites and research institutes unless collecting them would be unwise from an ethics perspective. The standards align with Statistics Canada’s national standards for population group and Indigenous Identity.
Related resources can be found at the following links:
For more information, please contact Holly Longstaff
, director, Privacy and Access, Research and New Initiatives, PHSA.