Northern FIREA circle purple logo with three stick human shapes. Their arms are outstretched to either side and the shapes appear to be dancing.

Group photo from the gendered violence symposium at UNBC

 Northern FIRE (Feminist Institute for Research and Evaluation) aims to:​​​​

  • achieve greater equality for women living in northern, rural, and remote communities,
  • raise awareness about these women's experiences with the health care system,
  • promote a women-centred, gender informed approach to determinants of health,
  • facilitate meaningful research that addresses northern women's needs,
  • connect researchers who are interested in gender and holistic health, especially in a northern context,
  • engage and mentor students and community-based researchers,
  • disseminate information, resources and knowledge, 
  • collaborate with community agencies and northern people on relevant research projects, and
  • partner with community organizations and northerners to bring about needed programmatic, policy, and systemic change.

About Northern FIRE

The Canadian health sector has often overlooked the unique needs of northern communities, forcing residents of the north to take additional steps and/or incur additional costs to receive the same level of health care as those who live in southern Canada (Young, Ng, & Chatwood, 2015). Multiple studies and reports by researchers and government agencies demonstrate that Canadians living in rural and remote communities of northern Canada merit additional attention in regards to their health needs due to their unique geography, history, and population (e.g., the large proportion of Aboriginal peoples). Women from these communities face higher rates of violence in addition to having less access to health resources, services, and treatments. These poor health indicators put northern women in a vulnerable position, especially when factors such as geography, climate, and issues related to age, culture, race, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status are considered.  

From illness, to disease, to conditions caused by the environment or social interaction, further examination of health care continuously proves to be an asset in understanding an individual’s health. To examine the relationship between health status and other factors, such as gender, allows for an intrinsic understanding. Therefore, it is valuable to recognize the compounding influences that gender and geography can have on an individual’s wellbeing, as this allows for a greater understanding of northern women’s experiences and their struggles with all areas of health-related issues.

Due to the complexity of examining northern women’s health, Northern FIRE is passionate about gaining a deeper understanding of northern women’s health experiences, and working with community agencies and individual women to improve the health care system in the north.

Young, K., Ng, C., & Chatwood, S. (2015). Assessing health care in Canada’s North: what can we learn from national and regional surveys? International Journal of Circumpolar Health 74, 1-14.