Each year the MNO Healing and Wellness Branch undertakes several research initiatives and projects to gain insight into the health needs of Métis people in Ontario. Information about our ongoing and past projects and initiatives can be found below.

Current Projects

Chronic Disease Surveillance Program

The Chronic Disease Surveillance Program started in March of 2008 when the MNO began the process of updating and revising its Registry. Through this process the MNO’s Healing and Wellness Branch was able to anonymously cross reference Registry data with provincial health records through the Institute of Clinical and Evaluative Sciences (ICES). In 2009 the MNO and the ICES began collaborating on a more routine basis to generate a series of chronic disease surveillance reports. These reports are focused on gathering Métis specific data on incidence, prevalence, health services use, and outcomes of common chronic illnesses that affect the Ontario Métis population. To date the collaboration has produced reports on diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, kidney disease, and osteoporosis. Studies on mental illness and addictions within the Métis population are currently underway. The findings of these reports help inform the MNO as to the health priorities of Métis people in Ontario and allow us to develop and deliver health programs tailored to those specific needs. The Initiative is made possible through funding the MNO receives from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Press Releases

Initiative Reports

General Reports

Cardiovascular Disease Reports

Diabetes Reports

Cancer Reports

Respiratory Disease Reports

Other Medical Reports

Past Projects

Our Health Counts Project

The ‘Our Health Counts – Baseline Population Health Database for Urban Aboriginal People in Ontario Project’ was launched in March of 2008 and concluded in September of 2010. The Project was undertaken by the MNO, the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendships Centres, Tungasuvvingat Inuit, and the Ontario Native Women’s Association in an effort to collect baseline health data for Indigenous people living in Ontario. Through this Project the MNO and its project partners worked together with the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care to adapt Ontario’s health information collection system so that it provides accessible, useful, and culturally relevant urban Indigenous population health data to local, small regional, provincial and federal policy makers. The MNO participated in this initiative because there was and still is very little Métis specific population health data available to those who want to make improvements to Ontario’s Health Information System. This Project documented for the first time basic population health measures such as health care access, chronic disease and disability, Indigenous specific services, and housing of Métis, Inuit, and First Nation adults and children living in Ontario.

Project Reports

Youth Identity Project

The Youth Identity Project was funded by the Centre for Excellence in Children and Youth Mental Health and the Ontario Native Women’s Association with support from the Métis Centre at the National Aboriginal Health Organization. For this Project, researchers consulted with status and non-status off-reserve Métis, Inuit, and First Nations youth across Ontario about their concept of identity. The goal of the Project was to find possible links between identity and mental health and well being. The Project was centred around a dialogue that was organized with status and non-status off-reserve Métis, Inuit, and First Nations youth between the ages of 16 and 26 across Ontario. The Project was carried out using a consultative youth driven process that was designed to empower participants and encourage them to voice their collective thoughts and opinions with regards to identity and mental health in a safe and supportive environment. The information that was gained through this Project has been used by the MNO to develop more effective programs and services for youth in Indigenous communities throughout Ontario.

Indigenous Knowledge Network Initiative

The Indigenous Knowledge Network for Infant Child & Family Health Initiative was a research initiative designed to enhance Métis infant, child, and family health in Ontario and Saskatchewan. The Initiative was undertaken by the MNO, the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendships Centres, Seventh Generation Midwives Toronto, Meadow Lake Tribal Council, Canoe Lake Cree First Nation, and the Northern Village of Île-à-la Crosse. Through this initiative the project partners gathered, synthesized, and applied locally relevant Indigenous and public health knowledge to culturally based parenting, infant, and toddler promotional health programs. Through this initiative each of the project partners hosted community based research activities and provided a project liaison and a network participant to help complete the data collection.

The goals of the Initiative were to develop, maintain, and evaluate a network of Métis and First Nations front line health workers, policy makers, knowledge keepers, and Indigenous academics and conduct an international review of Indigenous culturally based parenting, infant, and toddler promotional health programs and share the results with Indigenous communities throughout Ontario. Through this Initiative the project partners worked to assess and further develop existing locally relevant baseline public health data sources so that participating communities could use this information to evaluate and enhance their programs and uncover and archive original Indigenous infant, child, and family health knowledge using oral history. The partners also worked to facilitate the sharing and uptake of study results to existing networks with similar mandates and contribute to the development of additional regional networks. Once the Initiative was completed the study results were shared with existing Indigenous networks with similar mandates in order to facilitate the development of additional regional networks.

Press Releases & Initiative Reports

Healthy Messaging Project

The MNO’s Healing and Wellness Branch ran the Healthy Messages, Métis Specificity, and Cultural Competency Project which employed focus groups to help the MNO gain insight into the perspectives of focus group participants on Pan-Indigenous and Métis specific health promotion materials in the media as well as programs and services directed at the Métis population in Ontario. Participants were asked about the concepts of Métis specificity and cultural competency in Ontario and what those concepts meant to them. The results showed that knowledge about how to live a healthy lifestyle and prevent serious disease and illness was minimal among participants and that awareness about these concepts and the resources available to Métis people in Ontario was quite low. The study found that there is a real need to increase the amount of health information available to Ontario Métis people. The information collected through this Project has since been used by the MNO to support the delivery of a province wide health campaign by allowing us to identify gaps in knowledge and understand our audience and the kind of products required to get the message out in a way that resonates with people who need it most.

Posted: April 1, 2020