Students can practice to complete a briefing note based on the information collected from your Major Paper on an Indigenous health policy issue of choice.
The student will write their own briefing note, taking into consideration lectures and utilizing the required readings for this class. The briefing note will require proper grammar, sentence structure, and paragraph/point structure.
Students should describe and explain their briefing note topic within 2 pages, single-spaced. Students are expected to produce a briefing note that may be relevant the Health Minister, Deputy Minister, senior official, etc., and assume that the audience has no knowledge of the issue. This is a common exercise in public policy where as a policy analyst (you) may be asked to brief your senior official in a concise manner.
Students follow a policy scenario that will position the student as a policy analyst tasked with writing a policy brief in aid of decision making on a specific policy issue. The subject matter must be central to Indigenous peoples health. Briefing notes that do not relate their topic to the health of Indigenous peoples will result in a significant deduction in their overall grade for this assignment.
Briefing notes are 3 single-spaced pages in length and include description of an issue as well as research-supported recommendations for decision makers to consider in the development or change of a particular policy area. An intent of this assignment is to challenge students to research, analyze, and write in a succinct format and be able to persuade the reader (a decision maker) to their recommended policy actions/solutions. Please see for detailed assignment expectations and marking rubric.
Briefing Note Assignment
Briefing notes are tools often utilized in governmental or organizational settings as a means to inform a supervisor or senior executive of the scope of an identified problem in order to assist their decision making. This is a common exercise in public policy where, as a policy analyst, you may be asked to brief your senior official in a concise manner. This is an
individual assignment and y
ou must choose a topic that is different from your paper topic. The briefing note will require proper grammar, sentence structure, and paragraph/point structure.
Your briefing note will be based on the following scenario:
You are a policy analyst in one of the following: An Indigenous organization/community, the Saskatchewan government, or the Federal government (indicate which level you are representing in your brief). Your supervisor has directed you to construct a briefing note that will inform a new trilateral partnership between Indigenous, Saskatchewan, and Federal governments. This trilateral partnership will work towards addressing longstanding issues in Indigenous health in the province.
The new trilateral partnership will look at the following issues. Your task is to
choose one and produce a policy brief to present to your direct supervisor that will inform their understanding and ability to advocate for policy options to the other levels of government:
· Long-term boil water advisories in First Nations communities
· On-reserve cannabis operations, policies, laws
· Jordan’s Principle
· Integrating traditional healing and medicines in Saskatchewan Health Authority policy and programming
· Collaboration in harm reduction (substance use) initiatives
Choose one of the above topics and produce a 3 single-space page briefing note that briefs your leadership, based on the level of government you have chosen, on the following: the
history/context of the issue (what is the issue and what contributes to its existence? Where are the gaps in policy?); the
significance of the topic (why must this issue be solved?), and the
recommendations you propose for policy options on your chosen topic. Your opinions must be informed by research and analysis of previous policy decisions of your topic and their outcomes and must pull from academic sources on your chosen topic area.
How to Write a Briefing Note
Briefing notes are succinct in nature and they are written as if the audience has little to no previous knowledge on the issue. Oftentimes, the author of a briefing note may have little to no previous knowledge of the particular issue at hand, therefore research and discernment are critical skills for this type of analytical tool.
Watch the following
for an Introduction on the intent of a Briefing Note or a Policy Brief.
Policy briefs often include some of these sections:
Title: A good title quickly communicates the contents of the brief in a memorable way.
Executive Summary: This section is often one to two paragraphs long; it includes an overview of the problem and the proposed policy action.
Context or Scope of Problem: This section communicates the importance of the problem and aims to convince the reader of the necessity of policy action.
Policy Alternatives: This section discusses the current policy approach and explains proposed options. It should be fair and accurate while convincing the reader why the policy action proposed in the brief is the most desirable. It succinctly demonstrates the policy avenues already tried (or lack thereof) and sets the stage for future policy direction.
Policy Recommendations: This section contains the most detailed explanation of the concrete steps to be taken to address the policy issue.
Appendices: If some readers might need further support in order to accept your argument but doing so in the brief itself might derail the conversation for other readers, you might include the extra information in an appendix.
Consulted or Recommended Sources: These should be reliable sources that you have used throughout your brief to guide your policy discussion and recommendations.
The Policy Brief
that outlines the rationale for choosing a particular policy alternative or course of action.
● Required: Richmond, C.A.M., Cook, C. (2016). Creating conditions for Canadian
aboriginal health equity: the promise of health public policy. Public Health Rev 37,
● Optional: Milloy, J. (2008). Indian Act colonialism: A century of dishonour,
1869-1969. National Centre for First Nations Governance.
Required: Boyer, Y. (2004). The International right to health for Indigenous peoples in
Canada. National Aboriginal Health Organization.
Required: Boyer, Y. & Spence, S. (2015). Identifying and Advancing the Treaty Rights to
Health… Signed from 1871 and 1906 in Manitoba. Revue française d’études
américaines, 144, 95-108. https://doi.org/10.3917/rfea.144.0095
Required: Tonelli, M., Tang, K-C., & Forest, P-G. (2020). Canada needs a “health in all
policies” action plan now. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 192 (3), E61-E67.
Required: Collins, T. (2005). Health policy analysis: a simple tool for policy makers.
Public Health, 119 (3), 192-196.
DUE: Discussion Forum #2: Policy-making for Indigenous peoples health
Required Reading: The Terminology of Relationships
Required: Green, J. (2009). The Complexity of Indigenous Identity Formation and
Politics in Canada. International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies, 2(2), 36–46.
Required: National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health. (2016). Culture and
language as social determinants of First Nations, Inuit and Metis Health. Prince George,
BC: National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health.
Required: Mitchell, T.; Arseneau, C.; & Thomas, D. (2019). Colonial Trauma: Complex,
continuous, collective, cumulative and compounding effects on the health of Indigenous
peoples in Canada and beyond. International Journal of Indigenous Health, 14 (2),
74–94. DOI 10.32799/ijih.v14i2.32251
Required: Aguiar, W. & Halseth, R. (2015). Aboriginal peoples and historic trauma: the
process of intergenerational transmission. Prince George, BC: National Collaborating
Centre for Aboriginal Health.
Required: Lavoie, J. (2018). Medicare and the care of First Nations, Métis and Inuit.
Health Economics, Policy and Law, 13(3-4), 280–298.
Required: Herring, Waldram, J. B., & Young, T. K. (2000). Self-determination and health
care. In Aboriginal Health in Canada (pp. 262-288). University of Toronto Press.
Required: Loppie, S., Reading, C. & de Leeuw, S. (2014). Indigenous experiences with
racism and its impacts. Prince George, BC: National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal
Required: Turpel-Lafond, M.E. & Johnson, H. (2020). In Plain Sight: addressing
Indigenous-specific racism and discrimination in B.C. health care.
Required: Allen, L., Hatala, A., Ijaz, S., Courchene, D., & Bushie, B. (2020). Indigenous-led
health care partnerships in Canada. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 192 (9)
Required: First Nations Health Society. (2010). First Nations Traditional Models of
Wellness: Environmental scan in British Columbia.
•Required: O’Neil, J. Gallagher, J., Wylie, L., Bingham, B., Lavoie, J., Alcock, D.,
Johnson, H. (2016). Transforming First Nations’ health governance in British Columbia.
International Journal of Health Governance, 21 (4). Pp. 229-244.