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Aboriginal Peoples Survey, 2012

The Education and Employment Experiences of First Nations People Living Off Reserve, Inuit, and Métis: Selected Findings from the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey

Concepts and definitions

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This study focuses on high school completers and leavers. These groups are defined as:

Completers: people who had met the minimum requirements for a secondary (high) school diploma or equivalent at the time of the APS.

Leavers: people who were not attending high school and had not met the minimum requirements for a secondary (high) school diploma or equivalent at the time of the APS, or those who were enrolled in a high school equivalency program but had not completed it.

This differs from the highest level of educational attainment because some high school completers may have obtained further education at a trade school, college or university, and therefore, have a certificate, diploma or degree beyond the high school level. Equally, some leavers may have postsecondary credentials despite not having completed the requirements for a high school diploma.

APS data on high school completers and leavers are not meant to produce a “graduation rate.” For examples of calculating a “graduation rate,” refer to OECD (2013).

In some instances, this report refers to “highest level of educational attainment” - the highest certificate, diploma or degree that an individual completed. For ease of use, certain category names are shortened:  

Trades certificate: apprenticeship or trades certificate or diploma, including “Registered Apprenticeship certificates” and “trades certificates other than Registered Apprenticeship certificates.”

College diploma: college, CEGEP or other non-university certificate or diploma.

University certificate or diploma below bachelor’s level: certificates or diplomas awarded for non-degree programs completed through a university. These are often connected with professional associations in fields such as accounting, banking, insurance or public administration. If the certificate or diploma program does not require a bachelor’s degree to enrol, it is classified as below the bachelor’s level.

University degree: bachelor's degree; university certificate or diploma above the bachelor’s level; degree in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine or optometry; master's degree; and earned doctorate.

Many of the labour force questions in the APS are from the Labour Force Survey (LFS); therefore, concepts are generally defined the same way. The reference date for the APS depends on the subject matter of the question. For example, the labour market activity questions refer to the past week; the income questions refer to the year leading up to December 31, 2011.

Labour force status divides the population into three mutually exclusive categories:

Employed: persons who, during the reference period, did any work for pay or profit. This includes those who had a job but were absent from work for reasons such as own illness or disability, personal or family responsibilities, vacation, or labour dispute. It also includes unpaid family work, defined as unpaid work contributing to the operation of a family business or farm.

Unemployed: persons who were available for work during the reference week and who had looked for a job in the previous four weeks; were on temporary layoff during the reference period; or had a new job to start within four weeks from the reference week.

Not in the labour force: persons unwilling or unable to work; that is, they were neither employed nor unemployed.

This report uses the concepts of percentage of the population aged 18 to 44 employed, unemployed, and not in the labour force:

Percentage employed (employment rate): number of employed persons as a percentage of the population. The rate for a particular group (for example, aged 18 to 24) is the number employed in that group as a percentage of the population of that group.

Percentage unemployed: number unemployed as a percentage of the population in that group. The unemployment rate calculated from the LFS (unemployed divided by labour force) should not be confused with the percentage unemployed in this report.

Percentage not in the labour force: number who were neither employed nor unemployed as a percentage of the population.

The employment section refers to the highest level of education attained. The category, “some postsecondary education,” refers to individuals who started but did not complete the requirements for any diploma, certificate or degree beyond the high school level.

Median income range: Because personal employment income was reported in ranges, a median income range is calculated. The “median range” is the category for which the cumulative percentage of reporting respondents came closest to 50%.

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