Cannabis in Our Communities: A Focus on Inuit Youth and Maternal Health and Well-being


Incorporated in 1984, Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada (PIWC) is the national representative organization of Inuit women in Canada. Its mandate is to foster a greater awareness of the needs of Inuit women, and to encourage their participation in community, regional and national concerns in relation to social, cultural, and economic development.

PIWC is active in a wide range of areas including health, gender equality, abuse prevention, protection of cultural and traditional knowledge and economic development. PIWC’s input is regularly solicited on issues including the environment and climate change, children and youth, and a range of international processes and forums. We are very happy to be entering the third and final phase of the Cannabis in Our Communities: A Focus on Inuit Youth and Maternal Health and Well-being project that began in 2019. The overall objective of this project is to assess knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours (KAB) in Inuit communities regarding cannabis, raise awareness of the effects, and potential impacts of cannabis using a trauma-informed, culturally relevant, and gender-informed harm reduction approach through 3 project phases.

Phase 1 involved collecting information through engagements (focus groups, interview, online survey) with our target audiences (Inuit youth and new or expecting parents) across Inuit Nunangat and in urban centers to determine the KAB they have toward cannabis and its use.

Phase 2 was dedicated to sharing information with target audiences on the possible risks of cannabis and how to reduce these risks.

Phase 3 which we are entering now will involve re-assessing KAB of target audiences and evaluating the impact of the Phase 2 information and knowledge sharing.

The Cannabis in our Communities project is innovative and has targeted a largely under served population: Inuit. PIWC has responded to the need for public education, awareness, harm reduction and prevention initiatives that align with the social context of Inuit knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours around cannabis consumption, and in the context of a shifting Northern health, social and economic environment. Relatable data on knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours around cannabis use among Inuit youth have not been available until this project, and there has been a lack of data on cannabis use during pregnancy. The proposed project has responded to this lack of information on Inuit-specific data on cannabis use by facilitating focus groups, an online survey, and interviews to collect the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours towards cannabis of Inuit youth, girls and women of child-bearing age, and their partners. This phase ended in 2020.

Since then, PIWC has developed a public education campaign entitled Let’s Talk About Ujarak to raise awareness and education around cannabis use using a harm reduction approach and tools (Phase 2). The campaign was developed in collaboration with Inuit youth leaders and service providers working with Inuit in cannabis or substance use. The campaign has significant potential to impact decision making and choices around safe cannabis use and to increase knowledge and capacity of professionals working in youth drug prevention initiatives, policy makers, program developers, researchers, educators, and parents.

Project goals and target audience:

Target Audience: Inuit youth and young adults, new or expecting parents.

Target Population Groups: Nunavik Inuit (Northern Quebec), Nunatsiavut Inuit (Newfoundland and Labrador), Inuvialuit Inuit (Northwest Territories), and Nunavut Inuit (Nunavut Regions-North and South Baffin, Kivalliq, and the Kitikmeot Regions), and urban Inuit in Canadian urban centres.

Cannabis in Our Communities Project Goals

Immediate Goals:

1. To gain knowledge on Inuit communities, specifically youth, pregnant women, and their partners, who have access to evidence-informed information on cannabis use.

2. To equip Inuit youth, pregnant women, and their partners with the capacity (knowledge, skills, and supports) to inform their decisions and actions related to cannabis use.

Intermediate Goals:

1. To ensure Inuit youth, pregnant women and their partners use evidence-informed information on cannabis use and in turn, have the information to change policies, programs, and practices in their communities, both urban and regional.

2. To ensure that Inuit youth, pregnant women and their partners take harm reduction focused actions with respect to cannabis use.

Long-term Goals:

1. To ensure Inuit have access to quality, evidence informed and culturally specific health promotion, prevention, treatment and harm reduction programs and services.

2. To ensure Inuit have better health outcomes.

Project Objectives

• Objective 1: To enhance Inuit-specific data regarding cannabis to inform project resources development, by conducting 16 focus groups (8 groups with youth and 8 groups with pregnant women and their partners) and a national survey to inform future programming and policies to reduce harms associated with cannabis use among non-pregnant women of child-bearing age; pregnant women and their partners, youth and young adults, and related service providers and policy makers.

• Objective 2: To disseminate and share information about where services and resources are available for Inuit to access evidence-informed information around cannabis and its use, by conducting a literature review and environmental scan of current policies, programs, practises, and resources available to Inuit communities.

• Objective 3: To increase capacity (culturally specific knowledge, information) to raise awareness of the potential risks of cannabis use during pregnancy and during youth development for Inuit communities.

Scope of Work:

This is an open call to individuals, firms, or organizations to provide a comprehensive proposal to conduct KAB research in collaboration with PIWC.

Applicants must demonstrate an understanding of Inuit culture, experience in research, means and methods, and the ability to produce culturally appropriate work. Applicants must also demonstrate the ability to adapt research strategies and methods to changing circumstances in regions including travel, public health, and/ or gathering restrictions.

We encourage the submission of proposals from Inuit or Indigenous researchers and organizations.

Given the current gap in longitudinal research in KAB around cannabis use in Inuit populations, the data and information that will be collected is important to understand and assess the changes in KAB about cannabis among Inuit, and subsequently share this information with communities and stakeholders. The data and information will help inform future policy and programming initiatives around cannabis use, as well as support the work of our partners and networks. Dependant on the outcomes of the research, knowledge products will be continually adapted to address the changing needs of Inuit regarding cannabis information and services.

Goals for this phase include:

1. Re-assess KAB toward cannabis among Inuit youth and new or expecting parents.

2. Assess if target audiences have access to and have accessed and/or used knowledge products and resources about safe cannabis use or cannabis harm reduction, including the Let’s Talk About Ujarak: Cannabis Harm Reduction Toolkit.

3. Determine if and/ or what impact knowledge products have had on target audience KAB towards cannabis in their communities.

Key Activities and deliverables:

Working directly with PIWC Staff and Advisory Committee members:

1. Review all project materials created thus far, including the Literature Review, Environmental Scan, What we Heard Report from Phase 1 and the Summary Report as well as the entirety of the Let’s Talk About Ujarak: Cannabis Harm Reduction Toolkit to ensure thorough understanding of priorities and activities of the project to date.

2. Design, launch and manage a nation-wide, online, cross-sectional survey available to Inuit youth and new or expecting parents in English and South Qikiqtaaluk Inuktut dialect to accurately assess KAB relating to cannabis use, and changes there-in.

a. Survey should be appropriately adapted from Phase 1 survey to assess changes in KAB, in addition to assessing impacts of the Let’s Talk About Ujarak: Cannabis Harm Reduction Toolkit.

b. The survey should aim to reach a minimum of 100 participants who identify as Inuit youth aged 18-29 or new or expecting parents.

c. Proposal budget should include honorarium for survey participants.

3. Design targeted promotional ads for Pauktuutit social media provided in English and South Qikiqtaaluk Inuktut dialect to encourage Inuit participation in the survey.

4. Collaborate with PIWC team and evaluator to compile report of findings and analysis of data to illustrate the observed changes in KAB relating to cannabis use and detail the impacts of the Let’s Talk About Ujarak: Cannabis Harm Reduction Toolkit on Inuit, especially youth and new and expecting parents.

Additionally, the successful candidate will be required to:

  • Design, launch and oversee the online survey from beginning to completion
  • Participate in project meetings and teleconferences as appropriate
  • Budget time for PIWC internal review, feedback, and approval processes for submitted deliverables
  • Allocate billable hours appropriately to ensure completion of all project deliverables within the allocated budget
  • Support project related work and research/ethics applications where necessary and ensure ethical conduct and handling of data by all consultant team members involved
  • Provide progress updates as requested
  • Submit all research data and work created during the completion of deliverables to PIWC upon completion of the contract


The duration of the contract will be March 16th, 2022 – March 31st, 2022

  • Begins March 18th, 2022.
  • Delivery of adapted online summary questionnaire, plan for implementation and targeted promotional material
  • Contract ends – March 31st, 2022.

PIWC’s Roles and Responsibilities:

The primary contact for this project is Chelsea Giesel, Senior Projects Coordinator ( Pauktuutit commits to provide the information and materials necessary to complete the work and will respond to requests for information in a timely fashion.

PIWC will provide a decision on the awarded proposal within seven business days following the close of this Request for Proposal.

Confidentiality, Privacy and Copyright:

The successful applicant shall not disclose to any party any confidential information gained or resulting from activities undertaken under this project, nor shall the applicant disclose any information concerning Pauktuutit or their affairs where such information is obtained through this contract.

It is understood that Pauktuutit retains ownership of any and all materials and intellectual property created, designed, or produced as a result of activities undertaken by the successful applicant when awarded this project.

It is understood that the successful applicant will generate original work for this project.

Proposal Instructions

  • Applicants must submit their company name, and confirm their incorporation, references, and/or portfolio
  • Submit by email to
  • Word format or PDF
  • No payment will be made for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of a proposal in response to this RFP
  • No costs incurred before receipt of a signed contract can be charged to the proposed contract
  • Travel (expenses AND transport) that may be required will be separate from this scope of work budget and will be paid for by Pauktuutit; and
  • Pauktuutit reserves the right not to award a contract as a result of this RFP


The proposal must:

  • Include a detailed budget not to exceed $22,000 including HST and demonstrates the objectives and deliverables for the project can be met
  • Indicate the billing rate
  • Include cost of translation of survey and promotional materials to South Qikiqtaaluk
  • Coordination and mailout of honorarium for survey participants (Pauktuutit will cover the cost of honorarium gift cards)
  • List any other expenses that might be applicable; and
  • Total bid MUST include 13% HST tax

Rights of the Organization

Pauktuutit reserves the right to:

  • Enter into negotiations with one or more bidders on any or all aspects of this proposal
  • Accept any proposal in whole or in part
  • Cancel and/or re-issue this requirement at any time
  • Award one or more contracts
  • Verify any or all information provided by the bidder with respect to this requirement

Contact Information

Please direct the application to:

Chelsea Giesel, Project Coordinator
Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada
520-1 Nicholas St. Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7

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