2006 Aboriginal Population Profile for Toronto
Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please "contact us" to request a format other than those available.
This report examines the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the Aboriginal population living in the census metropolitan area (CMA) of Toronto1. The 2006 Census and 2006 Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS), which provide an extensive set of data about Aboriginal people, are the data sources.
The report focuses on the Aboriginal identity population, which refers to those people who reported identifying with at least one Aboriginal group, that is, North American Indian, Métis or Inuit, and/or those who reported being a Treaty Indian or a registered Indian as defined by the Indian Act of Canada, and/or those who reported they were members of an Indian band or First Nation.
The term "First Nations" is used throughout the report to refer to people who identified as North American Indian. The term "Aboriginal population" is used to refer to the Aboriginal identity population.
Setting the context
There were 1,172,790 Aboriginal people in Canada in 2006, accounting for 3.8% of Canada's total population.
In 2006, a total of 242,500 Aboriginal people lived in Ontario representing 2.0% of the provincial population.
The census metropolitan area of Toronto, with 26,575 Aboriginal people, had the largest Aboriginal population of any city in Ontario in 2006 – more than twice the Aboriginal population living in Ottawa (12,965), or in Thunder Bay (10,055), these being the Ontario cities with the next largest Aboriginal populations.
In 2006, only 0.5% of the total population of Toronto was Aboriginal. By comparison, Kenora, with 2,365 Aboriginal people, was the city in Ontario with the largest proportion (16%) of Aboriginal people.
Between 2001 and 2006, the Aboriginal population in Toronto grew by 31%, from 20,300 to 26,575 people. The First Nations population grew by 25%, while the Métis grew by 49%.
First Nations – largest Aboriginal group in Toronto
In 2006, 17,270 persons identified as First Nations people accounting for nearly two-thirds (65%) of the city's Aboriginal population. Another 7,580 identified as Métis and 320 as Inuit2. The Métis accounted for nearly a third (29%) of the Aboriginal population while Inuit accounted for 1%. Another 5% reported multiple or other Aboriginal responses3.
Of those who identified as First Nations people in 2006, almost half (45%) reported being a Treaty Indian or a registered Indian as defined by the Indian Act of Canada.
About the data sources
The census provides a statistical portrait of Canada and its people. The most recent census was on May 16, 2006.
The 2006 Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS) was conducted between October 2006 and March 2007. The survey provides extensive data on Inuit, Métis and off-reserve First Nations children aged 6 to 14 and those aged 15 and over living in urban, rural and northern locations across Canada. The Aboriginal Peoples Survey was designed to provide data on the social and economic conditions of Aboriginal people in Canada (excluding reserves).
It was possible to report both single and multiple responses to the Aboriginal identity questions on the census and the Aboriginal Peoples Survey. Census data used in this article for First Nations people, Métis and Inuit are based on the single responses only. Total Aboriginal identity population counts include people who reported identifying with at least one Aboriginal group, and/or those who reported being a Registered or Treaty Indian, and/or those who reported they were members of an Indian band or First Nation. The Aboriginal Peoples Survey data represent a combination of both the single and multiple Aboriginal identity populations.
Data have been provided for the total Aboriginal identity population and in some cases they have been broken down by Aboriginal group, sex and age group. For Aboriginal groups where the census count of the population aged 15 years and over is 200 or less, only the census count has been provided. No further data are shown due to potential data quality issues that can result from small counts that arise when several variables are cross-tabulated.
A young population
The Aboriginal population living in Toronto is slightly younger than the non-Aboriginal population. In 2006, the median age4 of the Aboriginal population in Toronto was 32.3 years, compared to 37.3 years for the non-Aboriginal population.
In 2006, nearly four in ten (38%) Aboriginal people were under the age of 25, compared to 32% of non-Aboriginal people. Further, only 5% of Aboriginal people were 65 years and over, compared to 11% of the non-Aboriginal population. Just over one-fifth (22%) of Aboriginal people in Toronto were under the age of 15, compared to 19% of their non-Aboriginal counterparts (chart 1). For more details on the age distribution, see table 1 in the appendix.
Aboriginal children aged 14 years and under represented 0.6% of the city's children. Nearly one in four (24%) of the First Nations population was 14 years of age and under, compared to 17% of Métis.
Aboriginal children more likely than non-Aboriginal children to live with a lone parent
In 2006, the majority of Aboriginal children aged 14 and under (58%) lived with both parents. Compared with their non-Aboriginal peers, Aboriginal children were more likely to live with a lone mother (34% versus 14%), a lone father (5% versus 2%), a grandparent (with no parent present) (1.3% versus 0.2%) or with another relative (1.4% versus 0.4%). About 1% of Aboriginal children lived with non-relatives compared with 0.3% of non-Aboriginal children (see table 2 in the appendix).
Aboriginal youth less likely to be attending school
Overall, in 2006, Aboriginal youth aged 15 to 24 living in Toronto had lower school attendance rates than their non-Aboriginal counterparts (64% versus 73%)(see table 3 in the appendix). However, Aboriginal people have a slightly greater tendency to return to school later in life than do non-Aboriginal people. For example, 10% of Aboriginal women 35 years of age or older were attending school in 2006, compared to 7% of non-Aboriginal women in the same age group(data not shown).
The 2006 Aboriginal Peoples Survey found that among the off-reserve Aboriginal population in Ontario, men and women had different reasons for not completing high school. For young Aboriginal men aged 15 to 34, the most commonly reported reason was 'wanted to work', 'pregnancy/taking care of children' topped the reasons provided by Aboriginal women in the same age group.
Majority have completed post-secondary education
Over half of Aboriginal men (53%) and women (55%) aged 25 to 64 had completed postsecondary education compared to about two-thirds (66% and 65%, respectively) of their non-Aboriginal counterparts. Postsecondary education includes a trades certificate, a college diploma or a university certificate, diploma or degree. Aboriginal people were more likely to have completed their post-secondary schooling with a trades credential or with a college diploma whereas the non-Aboriginal population was more likely to have obtained a university certificate, diploma or degree (see text table 1).
In 2006, nearly one-quarter (23%) of Aboriginal men and one in five (19%) Aboriginal women 25 to 64 years of age had less than a high school education, compared to 12% of their non-Aboriginal male and female counterparts.
Young Aboriginal women in Toronto more likely to obtain a university degree than their male counterparts
In Toronto, one in four (26%) Aboriginal women aged 25 to 34 reported having a university degree, in the 2006 Census, compared to 15% of their male counterparts. (This includes all certificates, diplomas or degrees at the bachelor's level or above.) Furthermore, young Aboriginal women (25 to 34 years of age) were also twice as likely to have a university degree as older Aboriginal women 35 to 64 years of age (26% versus 13%) (see chart 2).
Regardless of their age group or sex, Aboriginal people living in Toronto in 2006, were less likely than their non-Aboriginal counterparts to have a university degree.
Higher unemployment rates
In 2006, the unemployment rate5 for the Aboriginal core working age population (aged 25 to 54) in Toronto was higher than that of the non-Aboriginal population (8.0% compared to 5.4%). Unemployment rates were higher for women than they were for men, regardless of the population group.
Unemployment rates were higher for Toronto's young people. In 2006, 16.2% of First Nations youth aged 15 to 24 years were unemployed, as were 18.1% of Métis youth, and 15.2% of non-Aboriginal youth (see table 4 in the appendix).
Métis employment rates resemble those of non-Aboriginal population
Another measure of labour market performance is the employment rate6. In 2006, Métis men and women aged 25 to 54 living in Toronto had employment rates (83.4 % and 72.6%, respectively) that most resembled those of non-Aboriginal men (86.9%) and non-Aboriginal women (74.9 %). First Nations men and women had lower employment rates at 75.2% and 68.3 %, respectively (see table 5 in the appendix).
Aboriginal people as likely as the non-Aboriginal population to be working full-time full-year
Four in ten Aboriginal people living in Toronto were working full-time full-year7 in 2005. This percentage almost mirrors that of the non-Aboriginal population (39%).
Men were more likely than women to be full-time full-year workers. Just under half (45%) of Aboriginal men and 46% of non-Aboriginal men worked full-time full-year compared to 36% of Aboriginal women and 33% of non-Aboriginal women.
Métis men (48%) in the Toronto labour force were more likely than First Nations men (43%) to be working full-time full-year in 2005. The percentages among women were similar for First Nations women (35%) and Métis women (36%) (see text table 2).
Occupations in 'sales and services' and 'business, finance and administrative' most prevalent
In studying the labour market of a given area, it is helpful to examine its occupational8 make-up. In 2006, the two most common occupational categories9 for both the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal experienced labour forces in Toronto were 'sales and service' and 'business, finance and administrative'. However, the kinds of jobs people hold differ for men and women. Men were much more likely than women to work in 'trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations'. Women were more likely than men to work in 'business, finance and administrative occupations'. This holds true for both the Aboriginal and the non-Aboriginal populations in Toronto.
In 2006, Aboriginal men were somewhat more likely than their non-Aboriginal counterparts to work in 'trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations' (29% versus 21%). Aboriginal women were somewhat more likely than non-Aboriginal women to have 'sales and service' jobs (29% versus 25%) (see table 6 in the appendix).
Earnings gap closing
In 2000, the median earnings10 of full-time full-year Aboriginal earners in Toronto (measured in 2005 dollars) were $40,412. By 2005, this had increased to $42,798. Even though Aboriginal people who worked full-time full-year in 2005 continued to earn less than their non-Aboriginal counterparts, the gap is closing. In 2000, Aboriginal people in Toronto working full-time full-year earned 90% of what their non-Aboriginal counterparts were earning. By 2005, this percentage had increased to 94% (see table 7 in the appendix).
Total income lower for Aboriginal people
The census collects a number of measures of income that help in understanding the economic situation of a population. Earnings data have been provided for the population working full-time full-year in 2005. It is also useful to look at total income11 as sources of income go beyond that of employment. In 2005, three in ten (30%) Aboriginal people with income in Toronto had a total income of $40,000 or over compared to about one-third (34%) of their non-Aboriginal counterparts. In 2005, Aboriginal women had the lowest median income ($21,317), whether compared to Aboriginal men ($28,994) or to non-Aboriginal men ($32,385) or non-Aboriginal women ($22,284) (see table 8 in the appendix).
In understanding these data, it is important to note that, in Toronto, 7% of the Aboriginal population aged 15 years and over and 6% of the their non-Aboriginal counterparts reported having no income in 2005 (data not shown).
Over one in four Aboriginal people in Toronto living below the low-income cut-off
Statistics Canada uses the concept of low-income cut-off (LICO)12 to indicate an income threshold below which a family will likely devote a larger share of its income on the necessities of food, shelter and clothing than the average family. In 2005, in Toronto over one in four (27%) Aboriginal people were living under the LICO, compared to 18% of non-Aboriginal people. In addition, about one-third (32%) of Aboriginal children (aged 14 years and under) in Toronto were living under the LICO, compared to 23% of non-Aboriginal children (data not shown). These data are based on the before taxLICO.
More than half of Toronto's Aboriginal population moved at least once between 2001 and 2006
The Census counts people where they are living on one particular day. On May 16, 2006 (the date of the 2006 Census) there were 26,575 Aboriginal people living in the census metropolitan area of Toronto. This count does not include all of the Aboriginal people who may have lived in Toronto at some point during the year, but only those who were living in Toronto on that particular day13.
When looking at the Census population counts, it is important to remember that many people move between communities – for example, someone might move from a reserve community to a large city and back again within the same year. In Toronto, in 2006, about half (48%) of the Aboriginal population had lived at the same address five years ago, compared to 55% of the non-Aboriginal population. From 2001 to 2006, about three in ten (31%) Aboriginal people had moved at least once within Toronto, and the rest (21%) had moved to Toronto from another community. A community may refer to another municipality, or a reserve, or a rural area (see table 9 in the appendix).
When asked on the 2006 Aboriginal Peoples Survey why they moved to their current city, town or community, most off-reserve Aboriginal people in Ontario reported family-related reasons, followed by work-related reasons.
One in eight live in homes needing major repairs
In Toronto, about one in eight (12.4%) Aboriginal people lived in homes requiring major repairs14 in 2006, compared to 14.3% in 2001. In comparison, the share of Toronto's non-Aboriginal population living in dwellings in need of major repairs was 5.7% in 2006 and 6.9% in 2001 (see table 10 in the appendix).
The share of Aboriginal people living in crowded15 homes was 2.7% in 2006 compared to 3.5% in 2001. The comparable rates for the non-Aboriginal population were 7.0% in 2006 and 7.1% in 2001.
Majority report being healthy
The majority of First Nations and Métis adults (the population aged 15 and over) living in Toronto rated their health as excellent or very good in 2006. When asked as part of the 2006 Aboriginal Peoples Survey whether their health was excellent, very good, good, fair or poor, 55% of the adult First Nations population and 68% of Métis adults gave themselves a rating of excellent or very good. A further 27% of First Nations people and 17% of the Métis population reported that their health was good.
Over half live with one or more chronic conditions
The 2006 Aboriginal Peoples Survey also inquired about chronic conditions16 that had been diagnosed by a health professional. Over half of First Nations (58%) and Métis (55%) adults living in Toronto reported that they had been diagnosed with at least one chronic condition. Among the First Nations adult population, the most frequently reported conditions were: respiratory problems17 (22%), high blood pressure, heart problems or effects of a stroke (22%) and arthritis or rheumatism (19%). Among the Métis, arthritis or rheumatism was the most commonly reported condition affecting 27% of adults followed by respiratory problems (26%) and high blood pressure, heart problems or effects of a stroke (22%).
- The geographic area covered in this report is the census metropolitan area of Toronto. A census metropolitan area (CMA) is a large urban centre. Census metropolitan areas are formed by one or more adjacent municipalities centered on a large urban area (known as the urban core). A census metropolitan area must have a total population of at least 100,000 of which 50,000 or more must live in the urban core. Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation is included within the census metropolitan area boundaries of Toronto. For maps, see: CMA of Toronto.
- Of the 320 people who identified as Inuit, 200 were in the 15 and over age group.
- Includes people who reported more than one Aboriginal identity group and those who reported being Registered or Treaty Indian and/or member of an Indian band or First Nation without reporting an Aboriginal identity.
- The median age is the point where exactly one-half of the population is older and the other half is younger.
- The unemployment rate for a particular group is the unemployed in that group, expressed as a percentage of the labour force in that group, in the week (Sunday to Saturday) prior to Census day (May 16, 2006).
- The employment rate refers to the number of employed people, in a given group, as a percentage of the total population in that group.
- The term 'full-time full-year workers' refers to persons 15 years of age and over who worked 49 to 52 weeks (mostly full time) in 2005 for pay or in self-employment.
- Occupation refers to the kind of work persons were doing during the reference week, as determined by their kind of work and the description of the main activities in their job. If the person did not have a job during the week (Sunday to Saturday) prior to enumeration, the data relate to the job of longest duration since January 1, 2005. Persons with two or more jobs were to report the information for the job at which they worked the most hours.
- Occupations contained within the categories can cover a broad range of skill levels. For example, the business and finance occupation category includes professional occupations requiring a university degree, as well as clerical occupations that require a high school diploma or equivalent.
- Median earnings are earnings levels that divide the population into two halves, i.e., half of the population receiving less than this amount, and half, more. Earnings or employment income refers to the income received by persons 15 years of age and over during calendar year 2005 as wages and salaries, net income from a non-farm unincorporated business and/or professional practice, and/or net farm self-employment income.
- Total income refers to the total money income received from the following sources during calendar year 2005 by persons 15 years of age and over: wages and salaries (total), net farm income, net non-farm income from unincorporated business and/or professional practice, child benefits, Old Age Security Pension and Guaranteed Income Supplement, benefits from Canada or Quebec Pension Plan, benefits from Employment Insurance, other income from government sources, dividends, interest on bonds, deposits and savings certificates, and other investment income, retirement pensions, superannuation and annuities, including those from RRSPs and RRIFs, other money income.
- The low-income cut-off is a statistical measure of the income threshold level below which Canadians are estimated to devote at least one-fifth more of their income than the average family to the necessities of food, shelter and clothing. For the 2005 matrix of low income before-tax cut-offs and additional information, please refer to the 2006 Census Dictionary, Catalogue no. 92-566-X.
- For example, students who return to live with their parents during the year are included at their parents' address, even if they lived elsewhere while attending school or working at a summer job.
- Dwellings in need of major repairs are those that, in the judgment of the respondent, require major repairs to such things as defective plumbing or electrical wiring, and/or structural repairs to walls, floors or ceilings, etc.
- Crowding is defined as more than one person per room. Not counted as rooms are bathrooms, halls, vestibules and rooms used solely for business purposes.
- Chronic conditions were those that had lasted or were expected to last six months or more and had been diagnosed by a health professional.
- Respiratory problems include asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
- Date modified: