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The holiday Monday of February: Louis Riel Day edition

February 21, 2022, 2:00 p.m. (EST)
The Métis flag fluttering in a blue sky.

Today, the third Monday of February, has been declared a holiday by eight provinces. How the day is celebrated is as diverse as Canada itself.

It’s Family Day in Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Ontario and Saskatchewan. It’s also Nova Scotia Heritage Day and “Islander” Day in Prince Edward Island.

In Manitoba, it is Louis Riel Day, to honour the late 19th century political leader of the Métis people on the Prairies.

The 587,545 Métis Statistics Canada counted in the 2016 Census hold a unique cultural and historic place among the Indigenous peoples of Canada, with distinct traditions, culture and language (Michif). Métis accounted for over one-third of the Indigenous people living in Canada in 2016 and 1.7% of the total population.

The vast majority of Métis (93%) reported that they felt good about their Indigenous identity in 2016 and almost two-thirds reported making an effort to learn more about their history, traditions and culture (65%).

Nearly two-thirds of the Métis Statistics Canada counted in 2016 lived in an urban setting, with Winnipeg having the largest Métis urban community at 52,130.

Provincially, Ontario (120,585) and Alberta (114,370) were home to the largest Métis communities in Canada in 2016, followed by British Columbia (89,405), Manitoba (89,355), Quebec (69,360) and Saskatchewan (57,875).

In 2021, four in five Métis aged 25 to 54 were employed (79.6%), up from 75.5% in 2017.

Our data show that employment rates vary greatly by level of education, including for the Métis people. For example, 86.1% of Metis with a post graduate degree and 74.0% with a high school or some post-secondary schooling were employed in 2016, rates comparable to the non-Indigenous population. Just over half of Métis with less than a high school degree (53.3%) were employed in 2016, compared with three in five non-Indigenous Canadians (60.6%).

In 2016, over half of Métis women (58.5%) and men (52.2%) aged 25 to 64 had a postsecondary degree, while over four-fifths of Métis had a high school diploma (82.7%).

We counted all Canadians again in May 2021. Results on Canada’s Indigenous population, including the Métis, will be released on September 21, 2022.


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