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Reporting Metis in urban centres on the 1996 census.


This paper applies 1996 Census data to look at the reporting patterns of the Metis population in selected Canadian urban centres. On the 20 Percent Sample of the 1996 Census, people could self-identify as Metis and/or report Metis ethnic origins. Quite often, due to time and space constraints, research on the Metis population has applied only one of these census questions. This paper will consider whether combining origin and identity information would result in a broader definition that more accurately reflects the situation of urban Metis in Canada. (1)

Ce document de recherche utilisera les donnees du recensement de 1996 pour examiner les habitudes des personnes qui ont repondu Metis dans certains venues urbains canadiens. Sur le 20% d'echantillon des questionnaires du recensement de 1996, les gens pouvaient s'identifier comme Metis et/ou declarer une origine ethnique metisse. Bien souvent, a cause de contraintes d'espace et de temps, les recherches sur la population metisse n'ont utilise qu'une des donnees des questions de recensement. Ce document cherchera a savoir si la combinaison de l'information sur l'origine et l'identite resulterait en une definition plus large qui refleterait plus adequatement la situation de la population metisse du Canada vivant en milieu urbain.


The number of people reporting Metis origins on the Census has increased dramatically over the last twenty years, as has the number of people who self-identified as Metis over the last decade. A majority of people reporting Metis origins or identity live in Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) (2) or Census Agglomerations (CAs), but the circumstances of their well-being remain relatively unexplored. How are Metis faring relative to non-Aboriginals? Do people reporting Metis reside in particular geographic communities? Are people who have only recently reported either Metis origins or identity socio-economically different from the non-Aboriginal population? Do urban Metis perceive barriers to their participation both in non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal communities? These are examples of some of the questions that need to be answered in order to have a more complete understanding of how this urban population is faring.

As a starting point, the census provides benchmarks through the Aboriginal "Identity" and "Ethnic Origin" questions. As shown on Diagram 1, the identity and origin numbers appear comparable. However, when cross-tabulated, only 43% reported both Metis identity and Metis origin on the 1996 Census. The term Metis implies mixing, and this is reflected in the many different ways that Metis is reported on the census. This paper applies 1996 Census data to consider whether or not combining origin and identity results would help researchers achieve higher counts at the census tract (CT) (3) level and thereby provide a more complete understanding of Canada's urban Metis population. (4) The first section presents a brief historical overview of Metis in Canada. The second presents an overview of the census concepts where Metis is reported and considers reporting patterns and geographic distribution. The third looks at what happens when these two concepts are combined and whether (or not) this can enrich our understanding of urban Metis. This paper illustrates that there are many different ways in which people report Metis on the census and highlights that the concept of Metis remains fluid. For this reason it will be suggested that definitions of Metis should remain broad so that more detailed research of these communities reflects the urban Metis reality.


The concept of Metis comes from the word "mestizo," meaning a person of mixed ancestry, usually referring to people of European and Aboriginal origins (Canadian Oxford Dictionary). Patrick Douaud, from Canadian Ethnology Services at the National Museum of Man (1985), takes us back to the 1600s and 1700s when there was a lot of interaction between Indians and "Whites" in the St. Lawrence and Upper Great Lakes regions. In his historical overview of the Canadian Metis, Douaud states:
 The Metis as a distinctive ethnic group are now largely a western
 phenomenon, but they were born out of a long period of interaction
 between Indians and Whites in the St. Lawrence and Upper Great
 Lakes regions. Trading communities were also found on the periphery
 of the Great Lakes, as far south as Cahokia, and most of their
 inhabitants were of mixed race. However, the aggressive
 colonialization of the American Middle-West in the first half of the
 19th century forced those half-breeds to take refuge among Indian
 tribes or in the Red River area, more rarely to merge with American
 whites. The Metis--mostly Indian and French Canadian, but Highland
 Scot, English and Yankees as well--survived as a separate group
 mainly north of the international border. Douaud, 1985, 7-8

In 1885, under the leadership of Louis Reil and Gabriel Dumond, local Metis inhabitants defended their right to the land and to self-government in what become known as the North West Rebellion. However, the defeat of the Metis rebellion, similar to their defeat at Red River (1869-1870), resulted in several thousand Metis suffering the consequences of displacement and demoralization (Peterson and Brown, 1985, 4). Today the descendants of the Red River Metis have been represented by organizations such as the Metis National Council, which defines Metis as representing a distinct indigenous nation with its heartland in Western Canada.

Other studies have illustrated that during the nineteenth century mixed marriages were occurring between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples across Canada. The degree to which this mixing occurred is difficult to discern. In the case of Quebec, for instance, biologist Jacques Rousseau has suggested that 40% of French-Canadians could find at least one Amerindian in their family tree (Dickson, 1985, 19). However an important question remains: Why was Red River so different from other regions in Canada? Dickson identifies how the French government viewed inter-marriage as a means to populate French nationals in Canada. This was indicated in the Charter for the Company of New France, Article 17:
 The Savages who will be led to the faith and to profess it will be
 considered natural Frenchmen, and like them, will be able to come
 and live in France when they wish to, and there acquire property,
 with rights of inheritance and bequest, just as if they had been
 born Frenchmen, without being required to make any declaration or
 to become naturalized. Dickson, 1995, 22

It seems that many regions either assimilated or did not recognize mixed marriages and their off-spring, and it is difficult to know how large the Metis population could possibly be if the definition of Metis remains broad.

The question of terminology and when to apply Metis or metis has also become an issue. Francophones have, up until the 1960s, applied the term metis to refer to the offspring of Indian and white parentage, but more specifically to the French and Creespeaking descendants of the Red River Metis.
 The word metis was rarely applied, on an individual basis, to
 persons of English-Indian or non-French and Indian ancestry,
 nor was it generally extended in its collective usage to
 mixed populations outside western Canada or to those with
 heartlands, the term was rarely used by English speakers
 before the 1960s. Peterson and Brown, 1985, 5

However, by the 1970s the situation had changed and the term Metis had expanded and was regularly applied in English to those who had Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal origins, even when individuals had no lineage to Red River. Peterson and Brown assert that this terminology transition confuses a historically-based political and ethnic identity with the genetic attributes of individuals, regardless of their ethnic or cultural identities. The Metis National Council (MNC) has outlined its position on this issue of semantics and staked out their position:
 Written with a small "m" metis is a racial term for anyone of mixed
 Indian and European ancestry. Written with a capital "M" Metis is a
 socio-cultural or political term for those originally of mixed
 ancestry who evolved into a distinct indigenous people during a
 certain historical period in a certain region in Canada. MNC,
 1984, 6

The MNC have stated that Metis form a "distinct indigenous nation with a history, culture, and homeland in western Canada, who were dispossessed by the Canadian government from 1870 onward" (MNC, 1984, 6).

The definition of who is and who is not Metis is still very much an issue. As the rights of Metis are discussed in the media, amongst parliamentarians, in the courts, and by Canadians in general, as the place of Louis Riel in Canada's history is publicly reconsidered, as more people feel comfortable expressing or recognizing their aboriginality, so the number of people reporting both an Aboriginal identity and/or origin grows. The census does not attempt to clarify whether or not someone is reporting as metis or Metis, however it is clear that more people today are reporting one of these terms on the census. In this essay I refer to "Metis" since that is how Statistics Canada releases the census data. It should, however, be kept in mind that the numbers represent both definitions, and more than likely some people reported Metis as a distinct socio-economic group while others reported Metis as an indication of their mixed ancestry.


Ethnic Origin

There has been an origin question on the Canadian Census since 1887 (with the sole exception of 1881). However, this information has not been collected uniformly over time, making historical comparison difficult and questionable. Prior to the 1981 Census, the ethnic origin question asked people about only their paternal ancestral origins, thereby not always capturing peoples' Metis origins. This changed on the 1981 Census when information was requested on the origins of both paternal and maternal ancestors and when multiple responses were accepted. As outlined by Kralt: "Many Metis or non-status Indians are likely to indicate both Metis and European ancestry. In order to provide an accurate count of Metis and other Native peoples, which is the major purpose of the question, it is necessary to accept multiple entries" (p. 38). These changes to the census questionnaire offered a starting point from which to conduct research on people reporting Metis origins. However, since 1981, the question has been significantly changed with a move from check-off box responses (1981, 1986, and 1991) to a write-in question with space for multiple responses and a list of examples (1996 Census). With these changes in mind, it is clear that reporting Metis on the ethnic origin question does not always indicate lineage back to the original Red River community.

As shown by Graph 1, the number of people reporting Metis origins has increased from 98,300 in 1981 to almost 223,000 in 1996. This increase can be attributed in part to births, but also to ethnic mobility, the fluidity of defining who is Metis, and the many different ways in which Metis origins can be reported.


Given that the concept of Metis means mixed, people reporting Metis origins often report multiple origins. On the 1996 Census, 77% of people reporting Metis origins reported it as a multiple response, compared to 55% reporting North American Indian origins, and 33% reporting Inuit origins. Of those who reported multiple Metis origins responses, 26% gave 2 responses, 24% gave 3 responses, and 27% reported 4 or more responses to the ethnic origin question. Sixty-seven percent of people who reported Metis origins reported it in combination with Canadian, British, and/or French. Trying to derive this population using only the ethnic origin data is difficult since people could report in a variety of ways. For example, as the question asks a person to list their different ethnic origins, people could either report Cree, French, and Irish, or they could report a Metis single response to represent their mixed background, or they could report Metis in combination with a number of other origins. Many different scenarios can be used to construct the Metis population using the origin variable. However, it should also be noted that different reporting patterns may reflect socio-economic differences in this population. Those who report Metis as a single response compared to Metis as a multiple response may have different socio-economic circumstances.

The ethnic origin results highlight the fact that although the Prairie provinces hold over 50% of the Metis origin population, people reporting Metis are found in all regions of Canada. In 1996, Manitoba and Alberta both had over 20% of the Metis origin population, while Saskatchewan and Ontario each had 15%. At the census subdivision (CSD) level all regions of the country except the northern territories have a census sub-division that ranks in the top twenty.

The 1996 Census highlighted that approximately 67% of people reporting Metis origins resided in CMAs or CAs. The top five CMAs for the Metis origin population were Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary, and Montreal, again highlighting the fact that this population is spread across the country.


On the 1996 Census, a new question on Aboriginal self-identity was introduced that helped researchers hone in on those people reporting themselves as Aboriginal. The census question was similar to one posed on the 1991 post-censal Aboriginal Peoples' Survey (Graph 2). Although comparison of the results of these two surveys is questionable, especially since the questions were not exactly the same and the census is based on proxy responses, these are the only benchmarks currently available.


The Metis self-identification map at the census sub-division level illustrates that this population is more Prairie-centric. Only 6 of the top 20 CSDs listed are located outside Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. The Prairie provinces were the top 3, containing 63% of the Metis identity population: Alberta had 24%, Manitoba had 22%, and Saskatchewan had 17% of the total Metis identity population.

According to the 1996 Census, approximately 134,000, or 64% of the Metis identity population, resided in CMAs and CAs in Canada. The top five cities in 1996 were Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary, and Saskatoon. All of these cities, except Vancouver, are Prairie cities, indicating again that the urban Metis identity population in the 1996 Census was centred in the Prairie region.


Most researchers would apply either identity or origin data since the two questions are conceptually different. The results of a survey of federal government and national Aboriginal organizations, which was commissioned by the Aboriginal Information Management Committee (AIMC), highlighted that working with Aboriginal clients did not mean that all national and federal organizations applied the same definition for Aboriginal peoples. Organizations with Aboriginal clients usually applied a definition that reflected their mandate and their client base (Siggner et al., 2002). Using census data and the AIMC's survey, Siggner et al. illustrate how the Aboriginal identity population is "needs based," and those with origins, particularly those who have origins and do not self-identity, are "rights based" (2002, 34). However, ethnic mobility may also be a factor. If, with each census, people who reported only Metis origins on one census begin to self-identify on the next, then the concept of "needs based" will be brought into question. By focusing on only one side of this Metis equation, the analysis is not forward looking and overlooks an important segment of this population.

The above raises an interesting socio-economic debate, i.e., how are the Metis doing compared to the Canadian mainstream? When looking at some of the economic indicators provided by the census, these categories seem to naturally divide into two sub-groups--Metis Single Response versus the Multiple Response Metis that will be referred to as "Metis and Other." The Metis Single Response is the core population that seems to be consistently economically disadvantaged compared to those who reported Metis in combination with other non-Aboriginal origins. In the 1996 Census, the Metis Single Response sub-population generally had substantially lower proportions of their population reporting high school and university as their highest level of education and had higher unemployment rates and lower average individual incomes (Graphs 3, 4, and 5).


The sub-population that reported Metis and Other did not seem to be experiencing this same level of economic hardship. Compared to the non-Aboriginal population, however, they were not as well educated and, despite having higher labour force participation, they also had higher unemployment rates and lower average incomes. While the gap is not as wide as the gap between Metis reporting an identity and those not reporting an identity, the existence of any gap is cause for concern.

Finally, when comparing Metis identity and origin populations it should be noted that there are geographic differences. The origin population is more widespread; the identity population is centred in the Prairies. Even though their distribution is different, the top four CMAs remain the same, providing us with four cases in which to examine what happens when a total Metis number is applied. If the resulting residential patterns show some overlap between ethnic origin and Aboriginal identity, an investigation of whether or not these two sub-populations could be combined becomes possible.


The case of Metis reporting on the Canadian census is unique, and it is only because of this uniqueness that data from these two different concepts, ethnic origin and Metis identity, can be melded into a total Metis count. A total Metis count will allow researchers to account for all people who report Metis on the census and can provide a concept with which to work toward a more complete understanding of Metis in urban centres.

According to the 1996 Census, approximately 303,000 (Diagram 1) people reported Metis on the census, and 64% of this population resided in CMAs and CAs. The remainder of this paper will apply the "Total Metis" concept to the top four Metis CMAs (Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Calgary) to see if it can provide further insights into the geographic and socio-economic situation of Metis in cities and provide a base for future research on Metis in urban centres.

A geographic overview of people reporting Metis on the census will help us to understand whether these people are divided by their socio-economic status or whether they reside in the same geographic area. A 250-person cut-off at the CT level will be applied, a cut-off that Statistics Canada often applies when deciding whether a geographic unit has a sufficient population to apply socio-economic indicators. Below this point, Statistic Canada has suggested that the numbers become too small, this offering questionable results. (5) If people are living in similar regions within a particular CMA, this may indicate numerous different scenarios, two of which are that people are moving to this region of the city due to discrimination in the form of housing and employment opportunities (Olson and Kobayashi, 1993), or that people move to these areas because of the perceived benefits of close proximity, for example, similar values, norms, and ethnic identity (Balakrishnan and Hou, 1999). This section will focus on whether Metis in each city have different socio-economic outcomes and whether, even when there are socio-economic differences within the Metis sub-populations, they are residing in the same CTs. Issues related to why specific residential patterns exist will not be addressed here.


Of all Canadian cities, Winnipeg has the largest Metis population with 26,330 people reporting Metis origins, 24,660 people reporting Metis identity, and 33,175 reporting Metis as their ethnic origin and/or their identity. Winnipeg also has the largest proportion of the Metis population reporting Metis origins and identity; conversely Winnipeg has a relatively low proportion of people reporting Metis identity with either no Aboriginal origins or no Metis origins (Diagram 2).

With respect to the highest level of schooling completed, the proportion of people reporting Metis and Other was higher for "high school graduation" and lower for "university degree" (Chart 6) when compared to the non-Aboriginal population. For labour force characteristics, the Metis and Other sub-population had a higher participation rate and lower unemployment rates, while their average income levels were lower than the non-Aboriginal population. This lower average income may be due to lower education levels, but this statement requires further investigation into why education levels are lower and whether this is a factor pushing average income below the non-Aboriginal population's level.

For the sub-population reporting a Metis Single Response, the economic situation was worse than that of the Metis and Other sub-population and the non-Aboriginal population. The proportion of people reporting high school or university as their highest level of education was lower for the Aboriginal identity portion of the Metis Single Response sub-population, while average individual income was lower whether they reported an Aboriginal identity or not. The unemployment rate for the Metis Single Response--Aboriginal Identity portions was higher than the non-Aboriginal population and Metis and Other sub-population, while for the Metis Single Response with no Metis origins, it was above the non-Aboriginal population and relatively similar to the Metis and Other category. The population reporting a Metis Single Response (EO) had the lowest labour force participation rate. In sum, of the reporting categories compared here, reporting a Metis Single Response in combination with an Aboriginal identity is equated with the lowest socio-economic rank (Graphs 6, 7, and 8).


In Winnipeg, people reporting either Metis origins or identity are lagging socio-economically behind the non-Aboriginal population. We should question why, when looking at these basic economic indicators, people with Metis origins have not integrated into Canada's largest Metis urban centres.

When the total Metis calculation is applied to Winnipeg CTs, there are 50 CTs with over 250 persons reporting Metis, indicating that in these small geographic units there are Metis from both the identity and origin side of the equation living in the same area. The 50 CTs is higher than the 28 CTs for Metis identity, and higher than the 29 for the Metis origin population.

There were also 9 CTs with over 500 people reporting Metis, with identity there were 6, and with origin there were 3. Finally, Winnipeg is the only city where Metis make up over 20% of the population; on the outskirts of Winnipeg one CT has 22.1% (915 people) of its population reporting Metis on either the origin and/or identity questions on the census. The increased number of CTs available when the total Metis count is applied seems to indicate that people reporting Metis origin with no Metis identity, and Metis identity with no Metis origin, often reside in similar geographic areas in the Winnipeg CMA.

Having a broader range of CTs with a high proportion of Metis provides a basis to conduct future research, whether using census or non-census data. Winnipeg not only has the largest Metis population, but it also has the highest proportion of people reporting both identity and origin. Even so, applying a total Metis number provides more CTs with adequate numbers to complete future socio-economic analyses of this population.


In 1996 Edmonton had the second largest Metis population with 16,600 people reporting Metis identity and 14,845 reporting Metis origins, and with 21,825 reporting Metis to at least one of these questions. Edmonton was the only city where more people reported Metis identity than reported Metis origins. This is illustrated by the fact that this CMA had the largest proportion of people reporting a Metis identity with Aboriginal origins but no Metis origins (25%), while conversely it also had the lowest proportion of people reporting a Metis identity with no Aboriginal origins (20%).

In Edmonton, census data illustrates the same pattern as is found in Winnipeg. When applying basic economic indicators, the situation of people reporting Metis and Other is different from those reporting Metis Single Response origins. Compared to the non-Aboriginal population, people who reported Metis and Other had the same and, in the case of those without an Aboriginal identity, a higher percentage of people reporting high school as their highest level of education. However the same does not apply to university degrees, since the non-Aboriginal population clearly had a higher percentage than people reporting Metis and Other. The Metis and Other sub-population had higher participation rates in the work force, and their unemployment rate was almost the same as the non-Aboriginal population, while their average income was lower than the non-Aboriginal population. For the population reporting Metis Single Response, the economic situation appears more dire than for those reporting multiple origins. They came out lower for the selected census economic indicators listed in the graphs below. The economic situation of these sub-populations is different, but both are encountering difficulties in the realm of education and income.

The total Metis count could be applied to see if these sub-populations live in similar regions of a city. When applying the total Metis calculation, there is an increase in the number of CTs with over 250 people reporting Metis. There were 8 and 4 CTs respectively for Metis identity and Metis ethnic origin, with over 250 people reporting Metis. By combining these populations, the number increases to 14 CTs, once again indicating that the varied reporting patterns help to increase the size of the population in key CTs. Future studies could probe the situation of Metis in these CTs.


In Vancouver 8,580 people reported a Metis identity and 9,550 people reported Metis origins. When these two populations are combined, 12,855 people reported Metis on either of these questions. The Vancouver CMA had a relatively high proportion of people reporting Metis origins with no Aboriginal identity (29%) and an 8% gap between the proportions of its population reporting origins (74%) compared to identity (67%).

As in the CMAs above, the Metis and Other category is not faring as well as the non-Aboriginal population, but they do have a higher socio-economic standing than the Metis Single Response sub-population. Compared to the non-Aboriginal population, the Metis and Other sub-population had a higher proportion reporting high school as their highest level of schooling and a lower percentage reporting a university degree as their highest level of schooling. The Metis and Other subpopulation had a higher labour force participation rate than the non-Aboriginal population, but this was countered by a higher unemployment rate and lower average income, especially for those reporting an Aboriginal identity. The Single Response Metis were ranked lower than both the non-Aboriginal population and the Metis and Other sub-population for all of the selected economic indicators.

No CT in Vancouver had a Metis population over 250 people. This new variable would not bring any new insights into counting Metis in Vancouver, and this may reflect the fact that this larger origin population with no identity are not living in the same neighbourhood as people reporting Metis identity. However, the situation of Metis in Vancouver needs to be addressed since across the board their unemployment rates and average individual income are higher than the non-Aboriginal population. As in the other CMAs, having a single Metis origin seems to result in a worse socio-economic situation than those who reported Metis and Other, while the situation was improved for those who did not report an Aboriginal origin.


In Calgary 7,135 people reported Metis identity while 7,850 reported Metis origins which, when combined, results in a count of 10,600 people reporting Metis on the census. The distribution of identity and origin populations in Calgary are similar to that of Vancouver, with a larger Metis origin population; 29% of the total Metis population reported Metis origins with no Aboriginal identity.

Calgary and Vancouver are also similar with respect to how the different subpopulations are faring socio-economically. The people who reported Metis and Other are doing well compared to the Metis Single Response sub-population. However, there are differences between those who identify and those who do not and, although the Metis and Other sub-population has higher participation rates and lower unemployment rates, they also have lower income rates. Calgary has the highest proportion of Metis and Other reporting a university education; this is still, however, lower than the non-Aboriginal population. Based on these basic economic indicators and in keeping with the patterns seen in other cities, the Metis Single Response subpopulation is encountering the toughest economic situation compared to the other selected categories.

Unlike Vancouver, Calgary has two central CTs with a total Metis population of over 250 people, something the identity CTs and origins CTs did not provide. In this city, combining the Metis identity and origin populations provides an improved opportunity to understand this population. Further analysis within these CTs is needed in order to provide a more complete understanding of the situation in this rapidly growing centre.


The case of the Metis in urban centres across Canada needs to be more closely examined from a different perspective. A total Metis count which includes all people reporting Metis ethnic origin and/or identity provides researchers with a more holistic understanding of how this population is integrating into the urban landscape. As was emphasized previously, the case of the Metis is different from any other reported origin on the census because the definition of Metis is still being discussed in numerous circles, because there is a high degree of ethnic mobility, and because Metis can be reported in a variety of ways. The melding of these two concepts would avoid any ambiguity and ensure that the perspectives of all those who do not identify as descendents of Red River would still receive an examination.

The importance of studying this population in cities has been further supported by the socio-economic data provided thus far, since it is clear that the Metis are not faring as well as the non-Aboriginal population, especially those reporting a single Metis origin and an Aboriginal identity. The proposition that the Aboriginal identity population is more "needs based" than the origin population seems to hold up in every CMA, with the exception of those people reporting Metis Single Response with no Aboriginal identity. This population is relatively small, however, when compared to the other categories.

Reporting a multiple response to the ethnic origin question also seems to result in a higher socio-economic standing than a single response. More analysis is required regarding the differences between the single response category and the multiple response category to get a better understanding of what these reporting patterns imply. It could be that the Red River descendants are reporting the single response, and the more broad definition of Metis are those people reporting the multiple responses on the ethnic origin question. This requires more probing and is something that the Metis component of the 2001 Aboriginal Peoples' Survey could possibly shed some light on. One thing is clear. People are reporting Metis in a number of different ways. These different reporting patterns can have socio-economic implications, and if ethnic mobility continues, it will be important to monitor whether this same socio-economic scenario is reinforced or whether ethnic mobility results in these two sub-populations melding into one. It should also be emphasized that although these socio-economic patterns seem to exist, in the four cities examined here, people reporting Metis seem to be encountering socio-economic barriers. An examination of these barriers needs to be more fully examined for us to understand Metis in urban centres.

Finally, it is apparent that in three of the four cities examined here, Metis who self-identify and have Metis origins often reside in the same residential areas, thereby helping researchers to understand where residential overlap occurs. When using the combined Metis variable, more socio-economic and residential segregation analysis could be completed to attain a better understanding of what is happening in these areas and why these people have chosen to reside in the same region of the city. When this new concept does not produce census tracts, this in itself provides useful information. When the total Metis population do reside in the same residential area, the origin and identity sub-populations may not be reporting the same way on the census, and they may not have exactly the same socio-economic standing, but understanding their rationale for residing in the same neighbourhoods requires further exploration so as to help researchers, community service organizations, and governments better understand the circumstances of urban Metis in Canada.


(1.) Any of the opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not represent the position of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

(2.) A Census Metropolitan Area or a Census Agglomeration is formed by one or more adjacent municipalities centred on a large urban area. The census population count of the urban core is at least 10,000 to form a census agglomeration, and at least 100,000 to form a census metropolitan area (1996 Census Dictionary).

(3.) Census Tracts are small, relatively stable geographic areas that usually have a population of 2,500 to 8,000. They are located in census metropolitan areas and in census agglomerations with an urban core population of 50,000 or more in the previous census (1996 Census Dictionary).

(4.) The idea of totalling the Aboriginal origin and identity populations emerged from a lively debate at the Aboriginal Peoples' Survey's Implementation Committee where I was a federal representative. Several of the Aboriginal organizations represented at the Committee suggested that a total combining origin and identity was a more inclusive and realistic count than one that focused purely on Aboriginal identity.

Lorna Jantzen is a Senior Research Officer in the Citizenship and Heritage Sector at the Department of Canadian Heritage. She works with census data and other large Statistics Canada surveys. Her work focuses on ethnocultural minorities; Aboriginal peoples,. particularly those residing off reserve; and official language minorities. She is a member of the Ethnic Diversity Survey Working Group and the Aboriginal Peoples' Survey Implementation Committee, both of which are Statistics Canada post-censal surveys that will be released in September 2003.

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Author:Jantzen, Lorna
Publication:Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Mar 22, 2003
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