Steinbach MLA and Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced that a new information sharing agreement will enable 63 First Nations across the province to access Manitoba’s public health information management system.
“Co-ordinating care is a key element to providing health care in an efficient, effective manner,” said Goertzen. “This tool will allow health-care professionals to collect, share and analyze a wide range of critical health information, ensuring access to quality care for all Manitobans.”
Manitoba’s public health information management system is an integrated electronic system that allows health-care providers access to comprehensive immunization records, vaccine monitoring and other public health-related information.
Through the new agreement, Manitoba First Nations communities will have access to the provincial public health information management system, either directly through First Nations health-care providers or through a bridging service provided by Indigenous Services Canada.
An extensive stakeholder engagement process was undertaken to reach the information sharing agreement, including input from the First Nations Inuit Health Branch of Indigenous Services Canada and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, represented by Nanaandawewigamig (First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba). Each partner contributed expertise, represented the experiences of their community, and provided input from experts such as analysts, health information specialists and legal counsel.
“We are very pleased that after four long years of negotiation and deliberation, we have reached an agreement that affirms First Nation data governance and respects OCAP principles,” said Cathy Merrick, chief of the Cross Lake Band of Indians, and chair of the First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba.
“This information sharing agreement will greatly improve access to information and health care in our communities. It is a milestone that is symbolic and significant to the recognition of our inherent rights and self-determination.”
This new agreement was developed in accordance with the First Nations principles of OCAP – ownership, control, access and possession. OCAP allows First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of Indigenous Services Canada to make decisions on why, how and by whom information is collected, used or shared. For more information on OCAP, see fnigc.ca.
In 2013, the public health information management system project was initiated in Manitoba with funding from the provincial government, Canada Health Infoway and the First Nations Inuit Health Branch of Indigenous Services Canada.