Aboriginal Communities: Ontario

A growing, young population faces unique challenges

Aboriginal Communities Ontario jpgAcross Ontario and Canada, the Aboriginal community is growing at a much faster rate when compared to the overall population. Between 2001 and 2006, this community grew by 28.8%, while Ontario's total population increased by 6.6%. In 2006, there were 242,490 Aboriginal people in Ontario. About 41% live in the north
of the province, with the largest share of people in the Northwest area. Across southern Ontario, the Aboriginal community is highly urban, with considerable numbers of people in the cities of Ottawa, Greater Toronto, Hamilton, Windsor and London. About two-thirds of Aboriginal people in Ontario are First Nations.

The Métis are the second largest group (30.4%). Ontario has a small Inuit population—just over 2,000 people—and less than 1% of the total Aboriginal population. Most First Nations people live off-reserve (70%) and in urban areas. The complete Ontario Aboriginal Community Profile includes population, labour force, education, income and Aboriginal languages information. As well, the profile highlights findings specific to Canada's three distinct Aboriginal groups - First Nations, Métis and Inuit.

Download the full report (pdf)

Community Highlights

  • The Aboriginal community is younger than the total population overall—there are proportionately more young people and fewer seniors. About half of all First Nations and Inuit people are under the age of 25 years.
  • In Ontario in 2006, the unemployment rate in the Aboriginal community (12.3%) was nearly double that of the total population (6.4%).
  • Aboriginal people in Ontario have lower educational attainment levels and lower incomes compared to the non-Aboriginal population.
  • There is a substantial income gap for Aboriginal peoples—in 2005 the average income for individuals was $12,000 lower than for non-Aboriginal people.
  • One in three Aboriginal children in Ontario is living below the low-income cut-off.
  • The knowledge and use of Aboriginal languages is declining across generations. About one in twenty people use an Aboriginal language at home. Older Aboriginal people are more likely to speak an Aboriginal language at home.