Health and Social Services Research in the NWT

The Department of Health and Social Services is committed to supporting health and social services related research in order to inform evidence-based decision making. Our current priorities include:

  • Improving the health status of the population through prevention and education
  • Improving access to primary care services
  • Mental health and addictions
  • Child and family services
  • Addressing disparities in aboriginal health

If you are a researcher looking for information on the research process, read;

You can also contact the Research Coordinator at

Contact the Aurora Research Institute for more general information on conducting research in the NWT.

Community driven research

Research collaboration that includes community partnerships can offer a variety of benefits for both the community and the researcher. In response to community concerns, the Department of Health and Social Services can engage and recruit academics who are open to working with the community. If you are a researcher or a community member and are interested in community-based participatory research, contact the Department at

Research Support Application Process

The GNWT is committed to supporting researchers who are addressing our research priorities. Those conducting research aligned with our priorities can request various levels of support from the Department of Health and Social Services. Our ability to provide support will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Particular attention to knowledge translation and plain language dissemination plans will be encouraged. Support for health and social services related research can be provided in several ways, including general letters of support, in-kind contributions, knowledge translation partnerships and access to data.

Requests for support can be made by contacting the Research Coordinator at

Information Request

Requests for publicly available health information for researchers can be made by contacting the Research Coordinator at For media or other requests, please contact

Research Data Request

If you are an academic researcher and require access to specific data for your project, you must submit a Research Support Application Form along with the documentation identified below.Data requests will only be considered if the project has a valid research license from the Aurora Research Institute and has received approval from the appropriate research ethics committee.

Researchers must include the following in their application for data:

  • Research Support Application Form
  • Data Request Intake Form
  • Research proposal
  • REC Approval including any conditions set by the REC
  • Research License
  • Any other information required by the custodian, such as  a Medical Professions Act research permit, information on intended privacy and security safeguards

For additional information on how the Department of Health and Social Services processes research requests, please review the Processing Research Requests Flowchart.

Health Information Act

The NWT Health Information Act (HIA) was passed in March 2014. It protects people’s privacy by governing the collection, use, sharing, and storage of their personal health information. The Act recognizes both individuals’ rights to access their own information and the needs of health services providers to collect, use, and share patient information in order to provide best care. Penalties may be imposed if the rules of the Act are not followed.

The HIA includes a robust privacy framework around the collection, use and disclosure of patient’s personal health information for research purposes. Anyone conducting health and social services related research in the NWT is strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the HIA by reading the Act and reviewing the Health Information Act Guide.

Research Ethics Committee

Under the HIA, all research projects in the NWT must be approved by a designated Research Ethics Committee (REC). If the project is taking place solely within the NWT, approval must be obtained from the Aurora College Research Ethics Committee. If the project is multi-jurisdictional, approval from an extra-territorial REC may be sufficient. Please consult Section 78 of the HIA or contact the research Coordinator at for more details. 

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