Aboriginal Peoples of Ontario

Aboriginal Groups of Ontario Aboriginal Population Living on Reserves, Ontario Age Distribution of Population, Ontario The Aboriginal Population, by Province 2006-2011 Aboriginal Population Growth, by Province Share of Aboriginal People in Total Population

This factsheet looks at the National Household Survey data on the Aboriginal peoples of Canada released by Statistics Canada.

Ontario’s Aboriginal Population

  • In the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS), 301,430 people self-identified as Aboriginal persons in Ontario. This represented 2.4% of the province’s total population, an increase from 2.0% in 2006.
  • North American Indians accounted for a majority of the aboriginal population, representing 66.7% in 2011 (slightly increased from 65.3% in 2006). The Métis followed at 28.5% (down from 30.4% in 2006), and the Inuit at 1.1% (up from 0.8% in 2006).
  • Between 2006 and 2011, Ontario’s Aboriginal population grew faster than the non-Aboriginal population, increasing 24.3%, five times faster than the 4.8% rate of growth for the non-Aboriginal population. Several factors may account for the faster growth, both demographic and non-demographic (e.g. more individuals choosing to identify themselves as an Aboriginal person).
  • Of the three Aboriginal groups, the fastest gains in population between 2006 and 2011 occurred among the Inuit and the North American Indian people with growth rates of 64.7% and 27%, respectively. The Métis increased by 16.9%.

One in Six Aboriginal people Lived on Reserves

  • 15.9% of all Aboriginal peoples in Ontario lived on reserves in 2011, down from 19.6% in 2006. Of those on reserves, nearly all (99%) were North American Indian, virtually unchanged from 2006. Within the North American Indian population 23.6% lived on reserved in 2011, down from 29.7% in 2006.

The Aboriginal Population is Relatively Younger

  • The Aboriginal population is younger than the non- Aboriginal population. A third of the Aboriginal population consists of children and teenagers aged 19 and under, compared with 23.8% for the non- Aboriginal population. The share of seniors in the Aboriginal people in 2011 increased to 6.7% from 5.2% in 2006, but was less than half the share of seniors in the non-Aboriginal population.

The Aboriginal Population Across Canada

  • In 2011, over half (53.9%) of Canada’s Aboriginal population lived in three provinces: Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta.
  • Ontario, the most populous province, is also the province with the largest Aboriginal population. One in five of the country’s Aboriginal peoples (21.5%) lived in Ontario in 2011.
  • BC had the second-largest Aboriginal population (16.6% of Canada), followed by Alberta (15.8%).

Aboriginal Population Growth Fastest East of Manitoba

  • Most Aboriginal people lived in Ontario and the West, but the fastest increase in the last five years occurred east of Manitoba.
  • Between 2006 and 2011, the number of people identifying themselves as Aboriginal increased 52.7% in Newfoundland and Labrador, 40% in Nova Scotia, 30.9% in Quebec, 28.9% in PEI, 28.1% in New Brunswick, and 24.3% in Ontario.
  • Among regions with a high concentration of Aboriginal people in the population (above 15%, the fastest increases were in Manitoba (11.7%) and the Saskatchewan (11.2%).

The Territories and Prairie Provinces have the Highest Concentration of Aboriginal Population

  • The Territories and in the Prairies remain the regions with highest concentrations of Aboriginal population.
  • Nunavut had the highest proportion of Aboriginal people in its population (86%) in 2011, followed by the Northwest Territories (52%) and the Yukon (23%).
  • Among the provinces, Manitoba and Saskatchewan have the largest proportion of Aboriginal people at 17% and 16%, respectively.
  • All provinces east of Manitoba had less than 4% of Aboriginal people in their populations, with the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador whose Aboriginal people accounted for 7% of the total population.
  • In Ontario, Aboriginal people accounted for 2.4% of the total population in 2011, up from 2.0% in 2006.
  • 52% of Aboriginal people in Ontario lived in the Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs). Brantford, Greater Sudbury, and Thunder Bay CMAs had the highest share of Aboriginal people in the total population, at 8.3%, 8.5% and 10.0% respectively.

June 2013

Contact: Huan Nguyen (416) 325-0816

Office of Economic Policy
Labour and Demographic Analysis Branch