Dictionary, Census of Population, 2016
Aboriginal ancestry

Release date: May 3, 2017 Updated on: October 25, 2017

Definition

'Aboriginal ancestry' refers to whether a person has ancestry associated with the Aboriginal peoples of Canada, that is, First Nations (North American Indian), Métis, and Inuit. Aboriginal peoples of Canada are defined in the Constitution Act, 1982, Section 35 (2) as including the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada. Ancestry refers to the ethnic or cultural origins of the person's ancestors, an ancestor being usually more distant than a grandparent. A person can have more than one ethnic or cultural origin.

Users should be aware that the estimates associated with this variable are more affected than most by the incomplete enumeration of certain Indian reserves and Indian settlements in the Census of Population.

Statistical unit(s)

Person

Classification(s)

Aboriginal ancestry

Reported in

2016 (25% sample); 2011Note 1 (30% sample); 2006, 2001, 1996, 1991, 1986 and 1981 (20% sample). For availability prior to 1981, please refer to Appendix 2.0.

Reported for

Population in private households

Question number(s)

Direct variable: Question 17

Responses

Information on Aboriginal ancestry is collected in Question 17: Ethnic origin. In Question 17, respondents were asked to specify as many origins (ancestries) as applicable. Four lines were provided for write-in responses and up to six ethnic origins (ancestries) were retained. Aboriginal ancestry responses can be presented in different ways.

Remarks

Aboriginal respondents to the Census of Population received one of two different questionnaires: the 2A-L or the 2A-R. Persons living on Indian reserves and Indian settlements were enumerated with the 2016 2A-R questionnaire. On both the 2A-L and 2A-R questionnaires, the Ethnic origin question asked: "What were the ethnic or cultural origins of this person's ancestors?" and the following notes were provided:

On the 2A-L questionnaire, the following ethnic origins were provided:

Canadian, English, Chinese, French, East Indian, Italian, German, Scottish, Cree, Mi'kmaq, Salish, Métis, Inuit, Filipino, Irish, Dutch, Ukrainian, Polish, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Korean, Jamaican, Greek, Iranian, Lebanese, Mexican, Somali, Colombian, etc.

On the 2A-R questionnaire, the list of examples was different:

Cree, Ojibway, Mi'kmaq, Salish, Dene, Blackfoot, Inuit, Métis, Canadian, French, English, German, etc.

Additional instructions were provided to respondents in the 2016 Census of Population long-form Guide:

For additional information on the collection and dissemination of ethnic origin data, refer to the Ethnic Origin Reference Guide, Census of Population, 2016.

There are different ways to define the Aboriginal population in Canada. The 2016 Census of Population provides information on Aboriginal ancestry, Aboriginal group, Aboriginal identity, Registered or Treaty Indian status and Membership in a First Nation or Indian band.

Users should be aware that the estimates associated with this variable are more affected than most by the incomplete enumeration of certain Indian reserves and Indian settlements in the Census of Population.

For additional information on the collection and dissemination of Aboriginal data, including incompletely enumerated reserves and settlements, refer to the Aboriginal Peoples Reference Guide, Census of Population, 2016 and the Aboriginal Peoples Technical Report, Census of Population, 2016.

Note

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