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The Conceptual Well-being Framework Tool is one of a suite of applied Community Well-being tools developed by SGIGs to form part of the online Data Governance and Management toolkit. It provides a starting point for the development of well-being frameworks for SGIGs. The Tool includes a range of options for customization of the proposed starting point framework, including a companion Facilitation Tool that supports an in-depth customization process for those SGIGs interested in engaging in a facilitated customization process.

What is a well-being framework?

A well-being framework describes a conceptualization of well-being held by a particular People, grounded in their worldview. A well-being framework can create a shared understanding by expressing a broad view of well-being through interconnected domains (high-level dimensions of well-being) and showing the more detail-oriented subdomains that make up each domain. Using a structure that reaches from granular to wholistic allows governments to plan based on the measurement of specific subdomains without losing the broader vision. This in turn allows decision-makers to reflect on implications and interconnections across subdomains and to consider how short-term efforts may have long-term and transformational impacts.

SGIGs each have distinct conceptualizations of well-being that are shaped by their values and reflective of their unique worldview. Yet, many well-being-related commonalities exist among SGIGs, particularly at a higher conceptual level. For example, many Indigenous Peoples share aspects of worldview that emphasize interconnection, relationality, and balance, consider the health and wellness of people as inextricably tied to the environment, and value a multi-generational time horizon. We’ve designed the framework to reflect common themes across existing Indigenous well-being frameworks while designing a process that enables the unique expression of well-being inherent to each SGIG.

Below is a summary of the key highlights of the Conceptual Well-being Framework Tool. The full Tool is downloadable as a PDF. A webinar is also available for further guidance.

Well Being Domains

In this framework, specific sub-domains of well-being form the foundation of seven overarching domains, which collectively comprise the starting point conceptualization of well-being. The use of high-level domains manages complexity by enabling easy comprehension and intuitiveness, while the nested sub-domains capture the nuance and enable tangible measurement.

The Well-being framework consists of seven domains found in the graphic below. Definitions for each domain and associated sub-domains are available in the full Conceptual Well-being Framework Tool.

Diagram explaining the pieces of the Community Well Being tool.

Domain Definitions

Icon depicting the interconnectedness of us all.

Community Well Being

The many determinants and outcomes of well-being are interconnected. This domain, which sits at the center of the framework, can contain a number of subdomains that intersect with all domains of well-being. The way in which this domain is represented, and the subdomains it contains, will differ significantly across SGIGs as in some ways this domain is representative of the core of a People’s unique worldview.

It may therefore contain the concept of values or teachings that guide a People. Some subdomains which are frequently identified as being in this central domain of well-being are community, sustainability, identity, and equity. By identifying these central elements of community well-being, each SGIG can represent the ways in which well-being comes from the balance and interdependence of many factors and/or the core values, teachings, and components of worldview that guide and interface with all other domains.

Icon depicting an adult and child.

Culture, Language, Heritage, and Identity

This subdomain refers to the maintenance and cultivation of a People’s culture including the traditions, language, spiritual practices, and connection with the environment that has been passed down through generations. Culture plays a central role in identity and contributes to improved health, a sense of belonging, and the resilience of individuals and the community.

Icon depicting Leadership

Leadership and Governance

This domain focuses on an SGIG’s internal governance and leadership practices. Self-determination and rights are central to this domain because they empower Indigenous leaders to make governance decisions for their people and territory. This domain also emphasizes good governance, including the transparency and accountability of those in leadership positions. Good governance supports the cultivation of equity within the community and the promotion of a healthy local economy.

Icon displaying a pair of helping hands.

Infrastructure, Programs, and Services

This domain refers to the quality and availability of public services and infrastructure which support well-being. This domain includes adequate affordable housing, clean water and sanitation, transportation, emergency preparedness, food security, and community services which support community members with different needs.

Icon depicting a tree to represent Nature.

Land, Stewardship, and Environment

This domain refers to the role of the environment in promoting well-being. It encompasses access, connection, sustainability, and stewardship of the land. It also includes the state of natural resources such as air, water, and land, and their impact on traditional food availability and overall food security.

Icon depicting a person having a great idea or learning.

Education, Capacity and Employment

This domain encompasses individuals’ ability to meet their material needs, overcome challenges, and achieve financial stability. Education, personal capacity, and employment are interrelated. Education enhances individuals’ capacity, essential skills, and employment opportunities, resulting in higher income and more fulfilling work. Ultimately, improvements in education, personal capacity, and employment positively impact individuals, families, and communities by increasing personal freedom and financial stability, and reducing stress.

Icon depicting a symbol for Health.


This domain refers to health outcomes and factors that promote health and well-being. Health encompasses mental, emotional and physical health. The determinants of health include health services, food security, housing, and belonging.

Icon depicting three external dots...

External Elements

There are some subdomains which contribute to well-being but are external to the government and community. These external elements impact the other domains of well-being but fall outside of the direct control of SGIGs.

Subdomains and their definitions can be found in the full Conceptual Well-being Framework Tool.

Adapting the Framework

Some SGIGs may choose to significantly adapt the well-being framework by articulating different domains entirely. The Facilitation Tool included in the toolkit guides SGIGs through a process of constructing subdomains of well-being into domains which collectively comprise a customized framework. Recognizing the diversity among the SGIGs, this Framework is not intended to be a one-size-fits-all approach. As such, guidance on adapting and costuming the framework to reflect an SGIGs unique worldview, understanding of well-being, context, and measurement needs is described in the full Conceptual Well-being Framework Tool. 

Downloadable documents

Conceptual Well-Being Framework Tool