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More information on Aboriginal ancestry


2006 (1/5 sample), 2001 (1/5 sample), 1996 (1/5 sample), 1991 (1/5 sample), 1986 (1/5 sample), 1981 (1/5 sample), 1971 (1/3 sample)

Reported for:

Total population, excluding institutional residents

Question number:

Direct variable: Question 17


Respondents were asked to specify as many ancestries as applicable. Four write-in spaces were provided.


The following instructions were provided to respondents in the 2006 Census Guide:

  • For persons with Aboriginal ancestors, report a specific origin or origins. For example, report 'Cree', 'Mi'kmaq', 'Ojibway', 'North American Indian' or 'Métis'. Do not report 'Indian'.

Comparability of the ethnic origin data from the 2006 Census with previous censuses has been affected by several factors, including changes in the question format, wording, examples, instructions and data processing, as well as by the social environment at the time of the census. Changes in Aboriginal participation in the census over time also result in comparability issues.

There are different ways to define the Aboriginal population in Canada. The 2006 Census also provides information on persons who self-identified with an Aboriginal group. Depending on the application, data on either identity or ethnic origin/ancestry may be appropriate for defining the Aboriginal population. (See 'Aboriginal identity'.)