Ontario's First Nations, Métis and Inuit: A growing, young population facing
unique challenges

Ontario Trillium Foundation report highlights Aboriginal languages at risk

TORONTO, April 29 /CNW/ -


A new report details the demographic trends of Ontario's First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities.

Aboriginal Communities in Profile: Ontario, released by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, highlights that:

    -  The province's Aboriginal communities are younger and growing at a
       much faster rate than the overall population. About half of all First
       Nations and Inuit people are under the age of 25.

    -  Lower educational attainment, employment and income levels pose major
       challenges to the communities' well-being. Aboriginal peoples are,
       however, completing college at rates comparable to the general

    -  Knowledge and use of Aboriginal languages are at risk

Customized to reflect Aboriginal peoples' unique circumstances, provincial and regional characteristics and trends, the report reflects the most robust and accurate census information currently available. Four regional profiles of Aboriginal communities in northern and eastern Ontario are also available.


"Aboriginal Communities in Profile: Ontario is a valuable tool for any organization, municipality or individual looking to learn more about the demographic trends of our province's First Nations, Métis or Inuit communities. It also complements the findings of the recent Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study (http://uaps.ca/), which was supported by an OTF grant."

- L. Robin Cardozo, CEO Ontario Trillium Foundation

"The challenges facing Aboriginal peoples are significant. Yet statistics can never tell the stories of change, renewal, hope and advancement that occur daily in Aboriginal communities small and large, urban, rural and remote. This report is a snapshot that will help the more than 300 OTF volunteers, who review and recommend some 1,500 grants each year, remain knowledgeable about the demographics of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples in their communities."

- Suzanne Shawbonquit, Grant Review Team Chair, Ontario Trillium Foundation

Key Learnings

Ontario's Aboriginal communities are growing much faster than the general population.

    -  Between 2001 and 2006, the number of Aboriginal people in the province
       increased by 28.8% (to 242,490), while the general population
       increased by 6.6%.

Ontario's Aboriginal communities are becoming increasingly urbanized.

    -  As of 2006, 70% of First Nations people in Ontario lived off-reserve
       - and eight in 10 live in urban centres, particularly in Ottawa,
       Greater Toronto, Hamilton, Windsor and London.
    -  1 in 3 Inuit people in Ontario now live in the Ottawa area.

Ontario's Aboriginal communities are younger than the general population.

    -  About half of all First Nations and Inuit people are under the age of
       25 years - proportionally more than in the general population where
       one-third are under 25.

Unemployment in Ontario's Aboriginal communities is nearly double that of the general population.

    -  While unemployment decreased between 2001 and 2006, at 12.3% it
       remained nearly double that of the total population (6.4%).
    -  Inuit (14.9%) and First Nations (13.8%) people face even higher rates
       of unemployment.

Aboriginal people earn much less in annual income than non-Aboriginal people.

    -  Despite slowly rising incomes, in 2005 the gap was on average $12,000:
       The average income for Aboriginal people was $25,963, compared to
       $38,318 for non-Aboriginal people.
    -  One out of three Aboriginal children under six years of age in Ontario
       is living below the low-income cut-off(1) -- compared to one out of
       five for the general population.

Educational attainment levels for Aboriginal people in Ontario are improving.

    -  More Aboriginal people in Ontario are completing school than in the
    -  Aboriginal people are more likely to complete a college,
       apprenticeship or trades program than the general population.

The use and continuation of Aboriginal languages in Ontario could be at risk.

    -  In 2006, 14% of First Nations people (mostly seniors) said that their
       mother tongue was an Aboriginal language. The most common Aboriginal
       mother tongues are Ojibway, followed by Oji-Cree and Cree.
    -  Less than 5% of First Nations people living off reserve claimed an
       Aboriginal mother tongue.
    -  English is the mother tongue for 81.4% of Aboriginal people in


Aboriginal Communities in Profile: Ontario is part of OTF's ongoing efforts to build healthy and vibrant communities, by collecting and disseminating current statistical information about Aboriginal communities in Ontario. The report relies on the analysis and information collected by Statistics Canada in the 2001 and 2006 Census, the most recent available.

A leading grantmaker in Canada, the Ontario Trillium Foundation strengthens the capacity of the voluntary sector through investments in community-based initiatives. An agency of the Government of Ontario, OTF builds healthy and vibrant communities. www.trilliumfoundation.org


Read Aboriginal Communities in Profile - Ontario (http://www.trilliumfoundation.org/aboriginal/highlights/ab_intro.html)

Read more about the Ontario Trillium Foundation - www.trilliumfoundation.org

Follow L. Robin Cardozo on Twitter (http://twitter.com/CEOatOTF)

Read the Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study - http://uaps.ca


(1) As measured using Statistics Canada's Low Income Cut-Offs before-tax. The cut-off measures which families or unattached individuals spend 20% more on average on food, shelter and clothing than comparable families or individuals.

SOURCE Ontario Trillium Foundation

For further information: For further information: Alexis Mantell, 1-800-263-2887 ext. 218, amantell@trilliumfoundation.org

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