Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS)

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The Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS) is a national survey of First Nations people living off reserve, Métis and Inuit living in Canada. The 2017 APS is a thematic survey with a focus on participation in the Canadian economy. It will continue to collect important information concerning Aboriginal people such as health, language, housing and mobility.

The APS informs policy and programming activities that are aimed at improving the well-being of Aboriginal peoples and is an important source of information for a variety of stakeholders including Aboriginal organizations, communities, service providers, researchers, governments and the general public.

Your information may also be used by Statistics Canada for other statistical and research purposes.

Collection periods:
January 16 to June 30, 2017
Collection methods:
Interviews are conducted in person (computer-assisted personal interview), by phone (computer-assisted telephone interview) or a combination of both methods.
Survey participation:
  • Block Information Confidentiality


    Your answers are collected under the authority of the Statistics Act and will be kept strictly confidential.

  • Block Information on Data sharing agreements and record linkage

    Data sharing agreements and record linkage

    Data sharing agreements

    Statistics Canada has entered into data-sharing agreements with provincial and territorial statistical agencies and other government organizations, which have agreed to keep the data confidential and use them only for statistical purposes. Statistics Canada will only share data from this survey with those organizations that have demonstrated a requirement to use the data.

    Section 12 of the Statistics Act provides for the sharing of information with federal, provincial or territorial government organizations.

    For this survey, there are Section 12 agreements with the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, Nunatsiavut Government, Makivik Corporation, and Nunavut Bureau of Statistics.

    Statistics Canada will only share your survey responses with your consent. Your name or other personal identifiers will not be shared.

    Record linkage

    In order to reduce the number of questions, Statistics Canada plans to combine information collected during the 2016 Census to the information you provide during the interview. We may also add information from other surveys or administrative data sources.

    Also, no information collected during the 2016 Census of Population, other surveys or administrative data sources will be shared.

  • Block Information on Topics covered in the survey

    Topics covered in the survey

    General topics covered in the 2016 Aboriginal Peoples Survey include:

    • economic participation
    • health
    • education
    • Aboriginal identity
    • household composition
    • community involvement
    • mobility
    • housing
    • Aboriginal language
    • income
  • Block Information on Published data

    Published data

    Statistics Canada publishes the results of its surveys in many formats, the following list includes the latest articles and related documents for this survey:

  • Block Information on Survey-specific questions

    Survey-specific questions

    What is the Aboriginal Peoples Survey?

    The Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS) is a national survey of First Nations people living off reserve, Métis and Inuit living in Canada. The 2017 APS is a thematic survey with a focus on participation in the economy. Similar to previous cycles (the last one conducted in 2012), the survey will also collect important information concerning education, health, language, housing and mobility.

    What is the APS – Nunavut supplement?

    The 2017 APS will include a supplementary set of questions for Inuit who are enrolled under the Nunavut Agreement. These questions were developed in partnership with Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI), the Government of Nunavut, and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). The questions were designed to assess the availability, interest and preparedness of Inuit for government employment in Nunavut.

    Why are you not surveying on reserve?

    A survey of First Nations people living on reserve and in northern First Nations communities will be conducted by the First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC). For more information, please see the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (formerly Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada's) website.

    I just did a similar survey. Why are you contacting me again?

    There are a number of surveys being conducted by Statistics Canada at any one time. Every effort has been made to prevent overlap between surveys; however, it is possible that you have been selected for more than one survey. Each of the surveys have their own objectives, and relate to different aspects of Canadian life.

    As an example, the Aboriginal Peoples Survey is different from the Census of Population. While the Census gathers broad demographic information on every person living in Canada, the Aboriginal Peoples Survey looks at information that is specific to the needs of First Nations people living off reserve, Métis and Inuit.

    Why is the Aboriginal Peoples Survey important?

    The Aboriginal Peoples Survey is used to support policy and programming activities for a wide range of stakeholders including Aboriginal organizations, communities and governments. For Inuit enrolled under the Nunavut Agreement, survey results will also be used to help find ways to increase Inuit employment in government, as required by Article 23 of the Nunavut Agreement.

    What kinds of questions will the survey ask?

    The 2017 APS will ask questions about participation in the economy of First Nations people living off reserve, Métis and Inuit. With your help, information will be collected about subjects such as

    • Barriers and levers to economic participation
    • Labour mobility
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Post-secondary education
    • Targeted skills training
    • Reliance on government transfers
    • Financial well-being
    • Physical and mental health
    • Sense of belonging

    The APS – Nunavut Supplement will ask questions about:

    • Availability and interest in government employment
    • Previous experience with government employment
    • Interest in training for government employment
    • Plans to apply for government work
    • Plans for further education
    • Skill-relevant experiences
    • Language fluency for work

    How do Aboriginal people benefit from answering the questions?

    The data are used to provide socio-economic information to First Nations people living off reserve, Métis and Inuit across Canada. Among other things, these results will help Aboriginal people, their communities, their organizations and their governments with:

    • the development of Aboriginal language and school programs
    • the development and/or expansion of community health and social services
    • decisions regarding business and economic opportunities
    • the evaluation of existing programs and new service needs such as housing.

    Why should I respond? I'm not interested! This is a waste of time!

    This is an opportunity to provide your input. The information that you provide about your own participation in the economy will be combined with input from other respondents and will help to ensure that we have an accurate picture of the current situation for Aboriginal people in Canada.

    When will the survey take place?

    The survey will take place from January 2017 to June 2017.

    How many people will be contacted to participate in the survey?

    Approximately 48,000 First Nations people living off reserve, Métis and Inuit will be contacted.

    How was I (my child) chosen for this survey? How did you get my (my child's) name and phone number?

    Someone from your household completed the 2016 Census of Population for Statistics Canada. Your name or your child's name was randomly chosen from a list of all individuals aged 15 and over across Canada who identified themselves in the Census as an Aboriginal person or as having Aboriginal ancestry.

    I thought that Census information was confidential?

    The Census of Population information is confidential. Statistics Canada places the highest priority on maintaining the confidentiality of survey respondents. Statistics Canada is bound by law to protect the identity of individuals in any data published.

    In order to facilitate other survey work and research, Statistics Canada uses Census information to contact survey respondents. This is the case for the APS. The confidentiality provisions under the law apply to all surveys undertaken by Statistics Canada. This means that no information published from the Aboriginal Peoples Survey will identify individual respondents.

    Who is sponsoring this survey?

    The survey is being carried out by Statistics Canada with funding provided by three federal departments: Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), (formerly Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada), Health Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

    The APS – Nunavut Supplement is funded by ESDC and INAC.

    Who was involved in designing the questionnaire?

    The 2017 Aboriginal People Survey (APS) was created with input from the Federal Funding partners INAC, ESDC and Health Canada. Some of the content from previous cycles was carried over to maintain some comparability over time.

    The 2017 APS Nunavut Supplement questions were developed by a consultation group which included representatives from Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, the Government of Nunavut, Employment and Social Development Canada, and Statistics Canada.

    During survey development, the questionnaire was also tested with First Nations people, Métis and Inuit across Canada.

    How long does the survey take?

    The time required to complete the survey varies from person to person. The survey may take up to an hour to finish.

    Why do you need this information? Could it not be obtained from other sources?

    The Aboriginal Peoples Survey is a unique survey dedicated to obtaining information about the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of Aboriginal populations in Canada. The survey complements the 2016 Census of Population. The 2017 Aboriginal Peoples Survey will collect information that is not available elsewhere.

    How do you protect my information?

    Statistics Canada takes your confidentiality very seriously. Under the Statistics Act, all information provided to Statistics Canada will be kept confidential and used only for statistical purposes. We do not release any information that could identify individuals, businesses or households.

    Statistics Canada also cares about the privacy of its respondents. If a respondent knows the interviewer and is uneasy about giving personal information to that person, he or she can be interviewed by another Statistics Canada employee.

    Why should I answer questions that I feel are too personal or an invasion of my privacy?

    We realize that some questions are personal, but keep in mind that we get many answers from many people. These answers are grouped together and used to produce overall statistics. It will not be possible to identify any of your responses from the materials released to the public.

    When will the results for this survey be available?

    It is anticipated that the results of the survey will be available in the Fall of 2018.

    Are children asked any questions?

    The survey population is 15 and older.

    Will you use my name? Or will my name be put on a mailing list?

    No. All personal information such as names and addresses will be separated from survey answers. Names and addresses are only used to contact people for follow-up, and no information will be published that could allow an individual to be identified. Statistics Canada will keep personal identifiers for internal linkage purposes. For example, we may link your data from this survey with that from the 2016 Census. Personal identifiers will be removed once data linkage is done. Please note that only aggregated statistical data will be released and no information will be published that could identify an individual.

    How do I know this call is really from Statistics Canada? Where do I call for more information about the survey?

    You can call ___ to confirm that I am a Statistics Canada interviewer. My name is ___. You can also visit the Statistics Canada website at www.statcan.gc.ca/aps to confirm that this is a legitimate survey and to get more information about the survey.

    Am I obligated to take part in the survey?

    While your participation is voluntary, you have been selected to represent a number of other individuals with similar characteristics. To ensure that all individuals are represented, it is necessary that we interview all people selected. Therefore, your participation is very important.

    It would be very expensive to survey every Aboriginal person in Canada, so we only collect information from a sample of people. This means that the information you provide will represent not only you but hundreds of other people similar to you.

    I don't like to give information over the telephone. Can you mail me a paper questionnaire?

    The survey is not designed to be a mail survey. Although most people are doing it over the phone, for convenience, we could have someone go out to do a face-to-face interview if you prefer. Please note that the collection of information is quicker by telephone.

    Why are you using the term Aboriginal? I prefer use of the term Indigenous.

    Many government departments are switching to use of the term Indigenous. The term Aboriginal is used in the APS to maintain consistency with the wording and definitions used in the 2016 Census of Population.

    Why do the long-form census questionnaire and the APS use the terminology "First Nations (North American Indian)"?

    Statistics Canada has engaged in regional discussions and extensive questionnaire testing with respondents, data users and members of Aboriginal communities and organizations across Canada concerning the appropriate terminology to use when identifying and publishing data for First Nations people in Canada. Although a number of participants have indicated a preference for “First Nations” over “North American Indian”, this opinion is not unanimous and many have suggested using both terms. “Indian” is considered to be a legal term in the Indian Act of Canada and in the Constitution Act, 1982.

    We are not First Nations. We are Mohawk (or Cree or Dene).

    Statistics Canada recognizes the importance of identifying with your specific Nation (Mohawk, Cree or Dene etc.). However, for statistical analysis we group First Nations people together.

    Do I require an official certificate to declare myself as a member of a First Nation?

    For the purposes of this survey, you do not require an official certificate to declare yourself as a member of a First Nation.

    Do I require an official certificate to declare myself as a Status Indian?

    For the purposes of this survey, you do not require an official certificate to declare yourself as a Status Indian.

    Can I include more than one Aboriginal identity on my questionnaire?

    Yes, you can include multiple Aboriginal identities (First Nations, Métis, Inuit) on the questionnaire, if applicable.

    I have Aboriginal ancestry, but I don't consider myself Aboriginal. I don't think I should be included in this survey.

    The survey is only to be completed by individuals who identify themselves as an Aboriginal person.

    How and where will the survey be conducted?

    The majority of people selected for the survey will be asked to respond to the survey by telephone, with a smaller sample of interviews chosen to be conducted in person. In the majority of Canada's northern regions, all respondents will be interviewed in person.

    The target population of the 2017 Aboriginal Peoples Survey is composed of the Aboriginal identity population of Canada, living in private dwellings excluding people living on Indian reserves and settlements and in certain First Nations communities in Yukon and the Northwest Territories. These exclusions were made to avoid overlap with the survey being conducted by the First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC).

  • Questionnaires, definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 3250
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