The Aboriginal perspective

The relationship between the census and Canada’s Aboriginal population, especially those living on reserves, is another matter entirely (see here). But here are a few comments, at my request, from the Assembly of First Nations.

The Assembly of First Nations is aware of and agrees with the concerns expressed by many individuals and organizations regarding the potential negative impacts on policy and funding decisions, as well as the ability to track and compare data, as a result of the decision to change the long form census.

Specific to First Nations, however, there are long-standing concerns with the census methodology and its ability to accurately capture and reflect First Nations demographics and the conclusions drawn from the data. Statistics Canada itself admits that it generally under-counts First Nations and has difficulty with accuracy and tracking for our population.

AFN has a long-standing mandate to support First Nations-led data gathering, ownership and governance (a successful example is the First Nations Regional Longitudinal Health Survey).

The decision to change the long form census only highlights the need for First Nations-led approaches to data gathering.

The Longitudinal Health Survey can be reviewed here.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.