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Labour market experiences of Métis: Key findings from the 2017 Aboriginal Peoples Survey

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Released: 2018-11-26

About one in seven Métis with jobs were self-employed, according to the 2017 Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS). Among self-employed Métis, 43% had an incorporated business, and 32% had employees. More than one in three (37%) reported choosing self-employment for reasons of freedom or independence.

Labour market experiences are important to economic well-being, not only of individuals but also of families and communities. The APS provides comprehensive information about the labour market experiences of Métis. In addition to labour market information (the number employed, unemployed and not in the labour force), the APS digs deeper, asking questions such as: What would help them most to find a job? Why do some people choose self-employment? How many of those working part time would prefer to be working full time?

Data from the 2017 APS are now available, marking the fifth cycle of this comprehensive national survey of self-identified Métis, Inuit, and First Nations people living off reserve, aged 15 and older. The APS provides data on a wide range of topics including labour, education, language, housing and health to inform policy and programming activities aimed at improving the well-being of Métis, Inuit and First Nations people living off reserve.

A number of Indigenous organizations and people played a key role in either the development or testing of the survey over the five cycles of the APS. New content for the 2017 APS questionnaire was extensively tested with First Nations, Métis and Inuit respondents before it was finalized. Indigenous people were hired as interviewers and guides during data collection. As well, various National Indigenous Organizations worked with Statistics Canada to promote participation in the APS, and to review analytical findings.

One-half of all self-identifying Métis are of core working age

One-half of those who identified as Métis in the 2016 Census were of core working age. An additional 21% of Métis were aged 15 to 24. Employment rates of Métis varied by age group, with 75% of core working age adults (25 to 54 years of age), 52% of youth (15 to 24) and almost 40% of older adults (55 years and older) being employed.

A majority (85%) of employed Métis 15 years and older had a permanent job. Of the 15% that did not work a permanent job, 4% worked a seasonal job, 6% worked a temporary, term or contract job, 4% worked a casual job, and 1% worked a job that was in some other way non-permanent.

Four in ten self-employed Métis own an incorporated business

In 2017, one in seven (14%) employed Métis were self-employed. Men (50%) were more likely to own an incorporated business than women (32%). Ownership of an incorporated business varied by province and territory, ranging from 71% in Alberta, to 33% in Ontario and 25% in Manitoba.

Six in ten participate in other labour activities such as harvesting activities and making artwork or handicrafts

In 2017, 35% of Métis aged 15 and older reported that they had hunted, fished or trapped in the past year, 27% had gathered wild plants, 24% had made carvings, drawings, jewelry or other kinds of artwork, and 8% had made clothing or footwear. Together, most Métis aged 15 and older (59%) reported participating in at least one of these activities in the past year. A larger share of Métis in rural areas compared with large urban population centres had participated in these activities (72% versus 50%). About 4% of Métis aged 15 and older reported doing these activities for money or to supplement their income.

One-quarter work part time because full-time work is not available

Some people choose to work part time by personal preference, or because they are caring for children or attending school. Others work part time because they cannot find full-time work, often due to economic or business conditions.

According to the 2017 APS, one in five employed Métis worked part time (less than 30 hours per week at their main job). Youth aged 15 to 24 were most likely to work part time (40%), followed by those 55 and older (22%). People in the core working age group were the least likely to work part time (12%). Women (27%) were more likely to work part time than men (12%).

Two-thirds of youth working part time reported doing so because they were going to school. Over one-fifth of core working age Métis women were working part time to care for their children. About one in four (26%) Métis worked part time because full-time work was not available. Working part time due to economic or business conditions varied by province and territory, ranging from 19% in Quebec to 51% in the Atlantic provinces.

A shortage of jobs most commonly cited barrier to finding employment

When asked about various barriers to employment, 60% of unemployed Métis reported that a shortage of jobs had caused them difficulty in finding work. Higher percentages in Atlantic Canada (85%) and Alberta (74%) reported this difficulty than in Quebec (33%E) and Manitoba (40%E).

When asked what would help most to find a job, 21% reported that an increase in the number of available jobs would help most. Education and training were also identified as key aids to finding work, with 15% reporting that they would benefit from skills training and 16% reporting the need for more education.

Among Métis youth, 53% reported that not having the work experience required for available jobs had caused them difficulty in finding work, and 35% reported not having the means of transportation to get to available jobs.

To look for work, many Métis (47%) used a combination of methods; 6 in 10 (58%) unemployed Métis used the Internet to look for work and 1 in 2 (49%) contacted potential employers directly to seek work. Other methods included approaching friends or relatives, contacting public employment agencies, and placing or answering newspaper ads.

Older adults more likely to view their computer skills as limiting their job opportunities, while youth and young adults are more likely to perceive their ability to work with numbers as limiting

Almost half (45%) of Métis adults aged 55 and older reported that their computer skills limited their job opportunities, for example, to get a promotion or another job. This was higher than among their younger counterparts: 36% of 25 to 54-year-olds and 24% of 15 to 24-year-olds found their computer skills to be limiting. In contrast, a larger share of youth and young adults (28%) reported that their ability to work with numbers limited their job prospects, compared with those of core working age (22%) and older adults (17%).

One in three of those currently not in the labour force expects to look for work within the next 12 months

People who are not employed and not actively looking for work are considered out of the labour force. People may be out of the labour force because they are retired, are going to school, are caring for children or other family members, or have a chronic illness or disability. Others may not be in the labour force because, while they want to work, they are not actively looking for work as they believe no work is available. The main reasons given by Métis for not being in the labour force despite wanting to work included having an illness or disability (37%), going to school (16%), believing no work was available (8%) and caring for their children (7%E).

Among Métis out of the labour force, 79% of youth, 41% of core working age adults, and 10% of older adults expected to enter or re-enter the labour force in the next year. When asked what would help them most to find work, education (20%) and skills training (21%) were among the top responses. Childcare assistance was reported by 23% of core working age women. Young Métis cited work experience (26%) and resumé writing skills (22%).

Most Métis help out in their community at least once per month

Nearly three in four (73%) Métis helped out in their community at least once a month. Around one-third (29%) of Métis aged 15 and older had volunteered for a group or organization at least once per month. Furthermore, over two in three (68%) reported helping people out on their own, not on behalf of an organization, for example, by caring for someone's home, driving someone to an appointment, visiting the elderly, shoveling snow, or doing unpaid babysitting.

  Note to readers

This article features analysis based on data from the 2017 Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS) found in the booklet "Labour market experiences of Métis: Key findings from the 2017 Aboriginal Peoples Survey." The APS is a national survey of the Aboriginal identity population aged 15 years and older living in private dwellings, excluding people living on Indian reserves and settlements and in certain First Nations communities in Yukon and the Northwest Territories. The response rate was 76%, yielding a sample of approximately 24,000 Aboriginal respondents.

Estimates with coefficients of variation greater than 16.6% but less than or equal to 33.3% should be interpreted with caution. These estimates are presented with an "E" throughout the text.


The booklet "Labour market experiences of Métis: Key findings from the 2017 Aboriginal Peoples Survey" is now available as part of the publication Aboriginal Peoples Survey (Catalogue number89-653-X). The infographic "Self-employment among Métis: Findings from the 2017 Aboriginal Peoples Survey" and the data visualization product "Labour market experiences of First Nations people living off reserve, Métis and Inuit, Canada, 2017: Methods used to look for work, reasons for difficulty finding work, and things that would help find work" are also now available.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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