Policy and Research
The Role of the Policy and Research Department
Provincial, federal and territorial governments set policies that affect the whole population. However, government policies may – and do – disadvantage Aboriginal women and their families. These systemic barriers surface because the government’s policy writing process that is not value neutral. To address these systemic issues ONWA conducts culture-based gendered analyses of existing and proposed policies as well as research that will inform policy recommendations.
The role of the Policy and Research Department is to ensure that the views and interests of Aboriginal women are represented at a provincial level by:
- Monitoring current and emerging legislation and policies;
- Advocating for Aboriginal women at Government tables;
- Providing feedback on Government documents including but not limited to frameworks, strategies and policies;
- Producing fact sheets, briefing notes, reports, policy position papers, media releases and other documents to ensure recommendations are received by relevant levels of government, Aboriginal communities, and the general public;
- Identifying systemic issues and barriers that affect Aboriginal women and their families
- Carrying out Analyses of using culture-based gendered methods;
- Distributing media releases to engage the public on policy or related issues;
- Engaging in primary and secondary research activities;
- Keeping up to date on research in key policy areas
- Developing research projects to inform policy recommendations;
- Maintaining a wholistic approach to research and policy analysis; and,
- Building relationships and partnerships with all levels of government, Aboriginal organizations, educational institutes and media.
Policy analysis requires research, investigation, internal and external consultation, information synthesis, recommendations and evaluation of several possible options. Research that uses Indigenous methodologies requires clear ethical guidelines, the time to develop community relationships, patience, and planning. The work of the Policy and Research Department ensures ONWA is well prepared to sit at government tables, respond to existing and emerging legislation, conduct culture based research using Indigenous methodologies, and quickly disseminate research findings and policy recommendations to partners and media outlets. Through this advocacy work, ONWA is able to address the biases embedded within current government policies and legislation.
What We Do
To effectively respond to policies and legislation that affect Aboriginal women across Ontario, the Policy and Research Department responds to current and proposed policies and legislation, sits at government tables, and participates in research projects. In addition to these ongoing tasks, the Policy and Research Department is creating a number of guiding documents to frame the work that we do including: an Aboriginal women’s policy lens, a research ethics framework, a document outlining the systemic issues faced by Aboriginal women, and research looking at Aboriginal women’s traditional knowledge and governance roles.