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2006 Census: Aboriginal Peoples in Canada in 2006: Inuit, Métis and First Nations, 2006 Census: Métis

High rates of growth over the past decade

New data from the 2006 Census show that the Métis1 population is on the rise, outpacing the growth of the other Aboriginal groups, as well as that of the non-Aboriginal population, over the past decade.

Of the 1,172,790 people who identified themselves as an Aboriginal person in the 2006 Census, 389,785 reported that they were Métis. This population has almost doubled (increasing by 91%) since 1996.

This rate of growth was more than 11 times that of the 8% in the non-Aboriginal population during the same period. In comparison, the First Nations population increased by 29% and the Inuit population, by 26%, since 1996.

Although the Métis represented just 1% of the total population of Canada, they accounted for larger shares of the population in the West. In 2006, 9% of all people in the Northwest Territories reported they were Métis, followed by 6% in Manitoba, 5% in Saskatchewan and 3% in both Alberta and the Yukon Territory.

The Métis accounted for 34% of the overall Aboriginal population in 2006, up from 26% in 1996. The growth of the Métis population is due to both demographic factors, such as high fertility rates relative to the non-Aboriginal population, and non-demographic factors, such as an increasing tendency for people to identify themselves as Métis.2

Between 1996 and 2006, there were important political and legal milestones that may have encouraged individuals to identify themselves as Métis. The Métis received significant recognition in the final report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996)3 and in recent years, the Métis have won important court cases having an impact on their hunting rights.4

Table 13 Size and growth of the Métis population, Canada, provinces and territories, 1996 and 2006

Nearly nine out of 10 Métis lived in the western provinces and Ontario

Nine out of 10 people, about 87%, who identified themselves as Métis lived in either the western provinces or Ontario. The census enumerated 85,500, or 22%, in Alberta; 73,605, or 19%, in Ontario; 71,805, or 18%, in Manitoba; 59,445, or 15%, in British Columbia; and 48,115, or 12%, in Saskatchewan.

It also counted 27,980 Métis in Quebec, representing 7% of the total Métis population. In the remaining provinces and territories, the number of Métis was small. An estimated 18,805, or 5% of the Métis, lived in the Atlantic provinces. This 5% consists of 7,680 Métis in Nova Scotia, 6,470 in Newfoundland and Labrador; 4,270 in New Brunswick, and 385 Métis in Prince Edward Island.

Only 1% of the Métis lived in the territories (4,515). This includes the Northwest Territories (3,580), the Yukon Territory (805) and Nunavut (130).

About four-fifths (80%) of the increase in the number of Métis over the last decade were accounted for by the four provinces with large Métis populations: Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia.


  1. Although single and multiple responses to the Aboriginal identity question are possible, only the population reporting a single response of 'Métis' is included.
  2. Statistics Canada. 2005. Aboriginal Conditions in Census Metropolitan Areas, 1981-2001. Statistics Canada, Catalogue no. 89-613-MIE.
  3. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP). 1996. Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, 5 vols. Ottawa, Government of Canada.
  4. R. vs. Powley (2003), S.C.J. No. 43 (Supreme Court of Canada).

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