What is OCAP? And Why Do I Need to Know About it?

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Ever wondered what OCAP is? Ever came across a time in your work where you needed to deal with OCAP?

You’re not alone and there is help!

The First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC) has dedicated webpage and training for anybody to take and get themselves up to speed on the requirements and needs of OCAP.


Interest in getting OCAP certified? Go to: to get registered!

“The First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC) is pleased to introduce the “Fundamentals of OCAP®”, a new online training course developed in partnership with Algonquin College.”

The cost for the course is $249.00 plus GST/HST and can be paid online by credit card.

To begin your exploration of OCAP®principles and practices, click on the “Register Now” link to the right.  For group registrations of 10 or more please contact us by e-mail at or by telephone at 1-866-997-6248. (taken from source)

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What is OCAP®?

The First Nations principles of OCAP® are a set of standards that establish how First Nations data should be collected, protected, used, or shared. They are the de facto standard for how to conduct research with First Nations.

Standing for ownership, control, access and possession, OCAP® asserts that First Nations have control over data collection processes in their communities, and that they own and control how this information can be used.

What do the four “OCAP®” principles mean?

There are four components of OCAP®: Ownership, Control, Access and Possession.

Ownership refers to the relationship of First Nations to their cultural knowledge, data, and information. This principle states that a community or group owns information collectively in the same way that an individual owns his or her personal information.

Control affirms that First Nations, their communities, and representative bodies are within their rights in seeking to control over all aspects of research and information management processes that impact them. First Nations control of research can include all stages of a particular research project-from start to finish. The principle extends to the control of resources and review processes, the planning process, management of the information and so on.

Access refers to the fact that First Nations must have access to information and data about themselves and their communities regardless of where it is held. The principle of access also refers to the right of First Nations communities and organizations to manage and make decisions regarding access to their collective information. This may be achieved, in practice, through standardized, formal protocols.

Possession While ownership identifies the relationship between a people and their information in principle, possession or stewardship is more concrete: it refers to the physical control of data. Possession is the mechanism by which ownership can be asserted and protected.

First Nation peoples have always understood the need to protect our natural resources, and increasingly one of our most important resources today is information. Information is about more than numbers and surveys: it's also about identity, heritage, and the right to self-determination. That's why the First Nations Information Governance Center (FNIGC) was created nearly 20 years ago.

[In French:] Les Premières Nations ont toujours compris la nécessité de protéger nos ressources naturelles, et, de plus en plus, l'information se révèle être l'une de nos plus importantes ressources aujourd'hui. L'information n'est pas qu'une affaire de chiffres et d'enquêtes, c'est l'identité, le patrimoine et le droit à l'autodétermination.

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