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Employment of First Nations men and women living off reserve

Released: 2019-06-13

The 2017 Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS) marks the fifth cycle of this national survey of First Nations people living off reserve, Métis and Inuit aged 15 or older. In 2017, the survey focused on participation in the economy. Today, Statistics Canada releases new analyses focusing on employment among First Nations living off-reserve and Métis aged 25 to 54, as well as on Inuit participation in the wage and land-based economies in Inuit Nunangat.

Today's publications build on APS products summarizing key findings from the survey, released on November 26, 2018 (see Daily articles on First Nations people living off reserve, Métis and Inuit).

For First Nations people living off reserve, these early overviews were presented in a booklet (see Labour market experiences of First Nations people living off reserve), an infographic (see Off-reserve First Nations people entering the labour force) and an interactive map (see Methods used to look for work, reasons for difficulty finding work, and things that would help find work). Today's analyses place further focus on participation in the economy.

Over the coming months, Statistics Canada will release additional analytical products focusing on key topics of the 2017 APS, including upgrading education and high school equivalency, persons with disabilities and educational attainment in Nunavut.

Employment rates are higher among men than among women, but the gap narrows with higher education

Labour market experiences are important to economic well-being, not only of individuals but also of families and communities. This release looks at employment of First Nations men and women aged 25 to 54 years living off reserve.

First Nations men living off reserve generally have higher employment rates than their female counterparts. However, the employment gap between First Nations women and men living off reserve narrows with higher levels of education.

In 2017, 91% of off-reserve First Nations women with a certificate, diploma or degree at the bachelor level or above were employed compared with 93% of their male counterparts. These results highlight the importance of education, especially for First Nations women.

These findings come from the study "Employment of First Nations men and women living off reserve." The study examines the employment characteristics of First Nations women and men aged 25 to 54 years, living off reserve, as well as other characteristics, such as food security, health and disability status.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Employment rate by highest level of schooling and sex, First Nations people aged 25 to 54 years, Canada, 2017
Employment rate by highest level of schooling and sex, First Nations people aged 25 to 54 years, Canada, 2017

In 2017, First Nations men aged 25 to 54 years living off reserve were more likely to be employed (71%) than their female counterparts (63%), while employed First Nations men aged 25 to 54 living off reserve were less likely to work part time (7%) than their female counterparts (20%).

The gap between the employment rates of First Nations women and men living off reserve was most pronounced among those with lower levels of education. For example, First Nations men with less than a high school education were more than twice as likely to be employed as women who had not completed high school (50% versus 24%). The gap in employment narrowed with higher levels of education.

Looking at what kinds of occupations are held by employed First Nations men and women shows strong representation for both men and women among sales and service occupations. Over half (53%) of employed First Nations men aged 25 to 54 and living off reserve worked in one of two occupational groups: trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations (33%) and sales and service occupations (19%).

Likewise, more than half (53%) of employed First Nations women in the 25 to 54 age group living off reserve worked in two occupational groups: sales and service occupations (31%) and business, finance and administration occupations (22%).

Employed women less likely to live in a food-secure household

One of the benefits generally associated with employment is the ability to meet basic food and housing needs. While employed First Nations people living off reserve had greater food security than those who were unemployed, the benefit was not equally felt for both women and men. Employed First Nations women were less likely to live in a food-secure household (64%) than employed First Nations men (74%). Employed First Nations women were also less likely to report having sufficient income to cover an unexpected expense (62%) compared with employed First Nations men (75%).

Employment rates lower among women and men with a disability

For the first time in 2017, the APS used the Disability Screening Questions (DSQ) to identify persons with disabilities. These questions have been used on a number of surveys to allow comparisons between persons with and without disabilities. The presence of a disability can be an obstacle to labour market participation.

First Nations people aged 25 to 54 with a disability and living off reserve were less likely to be employed (48%) than those without a disability (76%). First Nations women were more likely to report a disability than men (39% versus 25%). However, there were no significant differences in employment rates between First Nations women and men with a disability.

  Note to readers

This article features analysis based on data from the 2017 Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS) found in "Employment of First Nations men and women living off reserve." The APS is a national survey of the Aboriginal identity population aged 15 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 APS response rate was 76%, yielding a sample of approximately 24,000 Aboriginal respondents.

We would like to acknowledge the contribution of those National Indigenous Organizations who contributed to the APS.

Products

The article "Employment of First Nations men and women living off reserve" is now available as part of the publication Aboriginal Peoples Survey (89 653 X). Alongside this article, two others, entitled "Inuit participation in the wage and land-based economies in Inuit Nunangat" and "Employment characteristics of Métis women and men aged 25 to 54 in Canada," are also 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; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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