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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 101, Issue 2, pp 143–148 | Cite as

A Review of Aboriginal Infant Mortality Rates in Canada: Striking and Persistent Aboriginal/Non-Aboriginal Inequities

  • Janet SmylieEmail author
  • Deshayne Fell
  • Arne Ohlsson
  • Joint Working Group on First Nations, Indian, Inuit, and Métis Infant Mortality of the Canadian Perinatal Surveillance System
Systematic Review
  • 25 Downloads

Abstract

Objective

The Joint Working Group on First Nations, Indian, Inuit, and Métis Infant Mortality of the Canadian Perinatal Surveillance System is a collaboration of national Aboriginal organizations and federal and provincial/territorial stakeholders. Our objective was to better understand what is currently known about Aboriginal infant mortality rates (IMR) in Canada.

Methods

As part of a larger international systematic review of Indigenous IMR calculation, we searched the published literature for original research regarding the calculation of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis infant mortality rates at the national and provincial/territorial level.

Synthesis

We identified major deficiencies in the coverage and quality of infant mortality data for Aboriginal populations in Canada. The review of provincial and territorial reporting of infant mortality for Aboriginal populations revealed substantial provincial and territorial variation in the way that birth and death data were collected. With respect to coverage, high-quality IMRs were available only for Status Indians and communities with a high proportion of Inuit residents. No rates were available for Métis or non-Status Indians.

Conclusion

Striking and persistent disparities persist in the IMRs for Status Indians and in communities with a high proportion of Inuit residents, compared to the general Canadian population. There is an urgent need to work in partnership with First Nations, Indian, Inuit, and Métis stakeholder groups to improve the quality and coverage of Aboriginal IMR information and to acquire information that would help to better understand and address the underlying causes of disparities in infant mortality between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal population in Canada.

Key words

First Nations Indian, North American Inuit Metis infant mortality 

Résumé

Objectif

Le Groupe de travail conjoint sur la mortalité infantile chez les Premières nations, les Inuits et les Métis du Système canadien de surveillance périnatale regroupe des représentants d’organismes autochtones et des intervenants fédéraux, provinciaux et territoriaux. Notre objectif était de mieux comprendre les données existantes sur les taux de mortalité infantile (TMI) des Autochtones au Canada.

Méthode

Dans le cadre d’un examen systématique à l’échelle internationale du calcul des TMI chez les peuples autochtones, nous avons cherché dans la documentation publiée des recherches originales sur le calcul de ces taux chez les Premières nations, les Inuits et les Métis à l’échelle nationale, provinciale et territoriale.

Synthèse

Nous avons cerné d’importantes lacunes dans la couverture et la qualité des données sur la mortalité infantile chez les peuples autochtones du Canada. L’examen des cas de mortalité infantile chez les Autochtones déclarés par les provinces et les territoires a révélé des différences importantes dans la façon dont les provinces et les territoires recueillent les données sur les naissances et les décès. En ce qui concerne la couverture, les seuls TMI de grande qualité visaient les Indiens inscrits et les communautés comptant une grande proportion d’Inuits. Il n’y avait aucun taux pour les Métis et les Indiens non inscrits.

Conclusion

Par rapport à l’ensemble de la population canadienne, des inégalités frappantes persistent dans les TMI chez les Indiens inscrits et les communautés comptant une grande proportion d’Inuits. Il est urgent de travailler en partenariat avec des groupes d’intervenants des Premières nations et d’intervenants inuits et métis afin d’améliorer la qualité et la couverture des données des TMI chez les Autochtones et d’obtenir des renseignements qui permettraient de mieux comprendre les causes des écarts dans les TMI entre les Autochtones et les non Autochtones au Canada et de s’y attaquer.

Mots clés

Premières nations population d’origine amérindienne Inuits Métis mortalité infantile 

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janet Smylie
    • 1
    Email author
  • Deshayne Fell
    • 2
  • Arne Ohlsson
    • 3
  • Joint Working Group on First Nations, Indian, Inuit, and Métis Infant Mortality of the Canadian Perinatal Surveillance System
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9
    • 10
  1. 1.Centre for Research on Inner City HealthSt. Michael’s HospitalTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Maternal and Infant Health SectionPublic Health Agency of CanadaOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Department of PaediatricsMount Sinai HospitalTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Canadian Perinatal Surveillance System - Public Health Agency of Canada (CPSS)Canada
  5. 5.Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP)Canada
  6. 6.Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK)Canada
  7. 7.Métis National Council (MNC)Canada
  8. 8.Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC)Canada
  9. 9.Vital Statistics Council of Canada (VSCC)Canada
  10. 10.Statistics Canada (SC)Canada

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