Qanuippitaa? National Inuit Health Survey (QNIHS)

An ongoing survey of Inuvialuit health and wellbeing is being led by IRC and will start very soon.  The stated overall goal of Qanuippitaa? National Inuit Health Survey is to provide high quality, Inuit-determined and Inuit-owned data to monitor changes in health, identify health strengths and wellness gaps in order to inform programs, plans and decision-making. This is part of an ambitious National Inuit Health survey first announced at the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami ITK Board of Director meeting in 2018.   

Across the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, selected participants will be asked to take a questionaire survey and a very basic clinical and oral health screening component. You will hear much more about this work and be able to ask questions of staff and fieldworkers when it is time. The ISR survey content and delivery incorporates the input from a Regional Advisory Committee made up of representatives from the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC) and Community Corporations, Elders, youth members and health authorities.  Data collection in the ISR is being planned to start in fall 2021, with a team of locally-hired fieldworkers being trained to work in all communities within the Inuvialuit Settlement Region to conduct the survey.

You can find updates on QNIHS on this page, the National QNIHS website, and through announcements posted in your community.

Frequently Asked Questions:

The FAQ can help answer the basics on the Qanuippitaa? National Inuit Health Survey (QNIHS) including: the importance of this work to the region and to Inuit, how to become a fieldworker for when the QNIHS will travel to the ISR communities, and what the survey will include if you are asked to participate.  

Feel free to use the contact information provided at the end of the FAQ if you have more questions at any time.

How is this survey different from other research in the region?

While Inuit have been asked to take part in many surveys, most research has been led primarily by southern academics. Historically, there have been very few opportunities for us to develop and implement our own research on behalf of our people. 

The main objective of Qanuippitaa? National Inuit Health Survey (QNIHS) is to increase access to Inuit-determined and Inuit-owned, quality health information. Qanuippitaa? National Inuit Health Survey will be the first health survey by and for Inuit. Further, it is the only Inuit controlled health survey that includes Inuit of all ages from all communities across the four Inuit regions. 

For the first time, all Inuit regions are working in partnership to develop and carry out a national health survey. Regional representatives from across Inuit Nunangat have worked together towards a survey that reflects our common priorities as Inuit living in Canada. Information that we provide will enable the development of projects that improve our health, both in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region and throughout Inuit Nunangat. Survey information will help us to advocate for change by identifying what improvements are needed in our communities. As well, the survey will highlight the strengths of our culture, traditions, and people. Regional comparisons will allow us to identify best practices such that regions can learn from one another in a collective effort to improve life and health across Inuit Nunangat. 

Another goal of the survey is to provide training and resources to help Inuit develop the skills required to conduct our own surveys on a regular, ongoing basis. This helps ensure that Inuit have greater control over research and that survey and research-related expertise and jobs stay in our communities. To this end, we will be hiring a team of local fieldworkers based in the ISR to implement the survey.

When will data collection begin and what type of information will be collected?

QNIHS will be launched in Inuvialuit communities in the fall of 2021; and the survey will take place roughly every five years after that. The survey focuses heavily on Inuit-specific determinants of health, including questions pertaining to education, language, housing, harvesting practices, and food security, among other important domains of Inuit life. Information will also be gathered on chronic health issues, access to health services, mental wellness, and on-the-land injuries, among other health topics. The survey is comprised of two questionnaires: the youth/adult questionnaire for participants 12 years and older; and the child questionnaire for children under 12. The child questionnaire is completed by the child’s parent or caretaker on behalf of the child. 

Who came up with the survey questions?

Survey themes and questions were conceived based on extensive consultations with Inuvialuit leaders, community representatives and stakeholders regarding the collective priorities of Inuit regions. At the national level, the survey development process was facilitated by Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK). At the regional level, an ISR-based Steering Committee with representatives from all six ISR communities provided feedback and made decisions about survey content over the course of several years.

What will data collection “look like” for Inuvialuit? What can participants expect to experience?

Teams consisting of ISR-based fieldworkers, support workers, and other QNIHS staff will arrive in each community prior to data collection. Participants will complete the survey with the assistance of a fieldworker at a local community centre. Although the survey will take place in a central location, participants will have full privacy with survey stations spread far apart from one another. Participants will receive a gift certificate to a local store to thank them for their time and support.

How long will the survey take?

The youth/adult survey for participants 12 years and older should take approximately 1 hour to complete, while the clinical component will take approximately 15 minutes. The child survey, which a parent or caretaker completes, should take approximately 30 minutes. Survey appointments will be booked for slightly longer time slots to accommodate participants who may desire more time. Should participants require breaks during the survey, accommodations can be arranged to extend the time. At no point will the survey time-out.

How will survey data and findings be used?

Qanuippitaa? National Inuit Health Survey will collect up-to-date information required by Inuit communities and Inuit regional governments to better understand the health challenges that Inuit face. Data from the survey will be exclusively owned and controlled by Inuit and will reflect health priorities determined by Inuit. Survey findings will provide actionable information to help develop health-related programs at the community, regional and national levels. In addition, data access protocols will be developed for researchers and others who may wish to explore survey results in more depth. As is the case with internal use of data, any shared data will be completely anonymous with no identifying information included.

How will this survey benefit me?

Survey data will be used to improve the quality of and access to health services and resources in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. Moreover, participants of Qanuippitaa? National Inuit Health Survey will receive a clinical and oral health report card that will indicate whether participants might wish to follow-up with a nurse, dentist, or physician in relation to any of the information collected.

This survey is being called “permanent” – in what way is it permanent? 

The survey will take place every five years, enabling Inuvialuit organizations to track the health of our communities over time. Further, data collected at regular intervals can be used to monitor changes, assist with program planning, and contribute to the development of relevant and timely interventions aimed at improving the health of Inuit.

How will results from this survey be conveyed back to participants, ISR communities, and the general public?

From the beginning of survey planning, considerable thought has been given to the dissemination of Qanuippitaa? National Inuit Health Survey results. Detailed timelines are being developed to ensure that key findings are shared with participants and their communities in a timely and culturally appropriate manner. Because the entire survey process, including data dissemination, is Inuit-controlled, the information generated will reflect the health priorities of Inuit. Survey communications will be overseen by a team appointed by Inuit organizations; and a regional dissemination strategy will be developed to ensure that information flows to our community members as quickly and efficiently as possible.

When will survey results be made public? Where will the survey’s information be stored and where will it be publicly accessed?

The survey will begin in Inuvialuit communities in late fall of 2021, continuing into early 2022. Preliminary results from the ISR should be available within a year following data collection. Inuit access to survey results is a priority; and we will work with communities to determine how best to share results. Survey data will be exclusively controlled and owned by our region. Survey data will be password protected, encrypted, and stored on secure servers for the duration of the QNIHS program. No identifying information linking individuals to data will be available, thereby ensuring participants’ full privacy and anonymity.

Are there any specific topics the survey will focus on? 

The survey covers a wide variety of topics that are relevant to Inuvialuit of all ages: children, youth, adults, and seniors. The survey focuses predominantly on social determinants of health and wellbeing, including safe and adequate housing, on-the-land activities, food security, mental health and emotional wellbeing, discrimination and bullying, substance use, and Inuvialuit cultural identity. The survey likewise asks about access to health services and quality of healthcare, both within Inuvialuit communities and in the South.

How are participants selected?

The survey will not be administered to all Inuvialuit living in the ISR. Instead, participants will be randomly selected from comprehensive lists of all Inuvialuit households. All Inuvialuit living in selected households will be included in the study. In the event that there are non-Inuvialuit living in the same household as Inuvialuit, these individuals will not be included in the survey.

What if I’m not selected but want to participate?

Only information collected from selected participants will be used. However, if it is important to you that you experience the survey, arrangements can be made to allow you to take the survey. In this case, your information would just be collected, but would not be included in the survey results.

Will it be just a survey or will you be collecting blood and hair samples?

The national survey is a questionnaire where participants provide self-reported information. However, in the ISR, we have decided to also include a short non-invasive clinical component. We will collect basic measurements, such as height, weight, and blood pressure, as well as administer a basic oral health screening. No biological samples (e.g. blood or urine) will be collected for this round of the survey. After completing the survey, participants will be given a document that displays all the clinical information that was collected.