Facts and Stats: Indigenous Families in Canada

The Vanier Institute of the Family recognizes and honours Indigenous families in Canada, which have sustained rich and vibrant Nations across this land since time immemorial.((First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), “FNHA and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report,” First Nations Health Authority Support for Truth and Reconciliation Recommendations (2015). Link: https://bit.ly/2JsrmxC.)) As we engage in conversation with Indigenous communities to build a foundation of data to support evidence-based decision making, we recognize that the realities and experiences of Indigenous people – including First Nations, Métis and Inuit families – are highly diverse and, as such, the statistics and information in this resource are presented by specific group wherever possible.

Indigenous families in Canada are highly diverse and, like all families, they adapt and react to evolving social, economic, cultural and environmental contexts. Facts and Stats: Indigenous Families in Canada compiles data from Statistics Canada to explore some of the family realities of Indigenous people in Canada.

Highlights include((Source information can be found in the fact sheet.)):

  • In 2016, there were approximately 977,000 people in Canada reporting First Nations identity, 758,000 reporting Métis identity and 65,000 reporting Inuit identity – fast-growing populations that are projected to total a combined 2.0 to 2.6 million people by 2036.
  • In 2016, the average age of First Nations people (30.6 years), Métis (34.7 years) and Inuit (27.7 years) in Canada were nearly a decade younger than their non-Indigenous counterparts (40.9 years).
  • In 2016, 21% of First Nations, 11% of Métis and 23% of Inuit children aged 4 and under lived with at least one grandparent – higher shares than among their non-Indigenous counterparts (10%).
  • In 2016, 23% of First Nations people, 9% of Métis and 41% of Inuit lived in crowded housing – compared with 9% among their non-Indigenous counterparts.
  • In 2016, more than half (51%) of all foster children in Canada aged 4 and under were Indigenous, despite only accounting for 7.7% of all children in this age group.


Download Facts and Stats: Indigenous Families in Canada (June 2018) from the Vanier Institute of the Family.

The language surrounding identity and Indigenous people is evolving, and we have attempted to identify and use current terminology while also recognizing that there is always diversity regarding people’s preferences. As we continue the conversation, we welcome any feedback you may have, which can be sent to publications@vanierinstitute.ca.

This bilingual resource will be updated periodically as new data emerges. Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter to find out about updates, as well as other news about publications, projects and initiatives from the Vanier Institute.


Published on June 13, 2018


Infographic: Fathers and Work in Canada

Most fathers in Canada are in the paid labour force, and research shows that a growing share are involved in their child’s early years, and are more likely to assume household management responsibilities than in the past. As fathers manage multiple responsibilities at home, at work and in their communities, parental leave and flexible work arrangements can play an important role in facilitating their growing role in family life.

Using current Census and Labour Force Survey data, our new infographic provides a statistical glance at evolving work–family experiences for fathers in Canada.

Highlights include:

  • In 2016, 91% of fathers in couples and 82% of lone fathers were employed.((Statistics Canada, “Father’s Day… By the Numbers,” The Daily (page last updated June 28, 2017). Link: https://bit.ly/2xkDOui.))
  • In 2016, new and expectant fathers inside Quebec were roughly 6 times as likely to report having received (or were intending to claim) parental benefits than fathers in the rest of Canada (80% and 13%, respectively).((Employment and Social Development Canada, Employment Insurance Monitoring and Assessment Report for the Fiscal Year Beginning April 1, 2016 and Ending March 31, 2017 (page last updated June 5, 2018). Link: https://bit.ly/2LA9WgG.))
  • As of June 2019, new and expectant fathers in eligible two-parent families((Including adoptive and same-sex couples.)) will have access to a new “use-it-or-lose-it” employment insurance (EI) parental sharing benefit, which they can take at any point following the arrival of their child.((To learn more about pending changes to parental leave, see Canada’s New Parental Sharing Benefit, a backgrounder from the Department of Finance Canada (n.d.). Link: https://bit.ly/2CMmKuX.))
  • In 2016, when asked whether they had asked for flex work in the past five years, 73% of surveyed Canadians said they had.((Employment and Social Development Canada, “When Work and Caregiving Collide: How Employers Can Support Their Employees Who Are Caregivers,” Report from the Employer Panel for Caregivers (February 16, 2015). Link: https://bit.ly/2sf0QOv.))
  • In 2012, full-time working fathers with a flexible schedule were more likely to report satisfaction with their work–life balance (81%) than those without a flexible schedule (76%).((Statistics Canada, “Satisfaction with Work–Life Balance: Fact Sheet,” Spotlight on Canadians: Results from the General Social Survey, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 89-652-X (April 14, 2016). Link: http://bit.ly/1S7H2nb.))


Download the Fathers and Work in Canada infographic from the Vanier Institute of the Family.


Learn more about modern fathers in Canada:


Published on June 12, 2018

First Nations, Métis and Inuit Statistics: The Way Forward

On Wednesday, June 13, Chair of the Vanier Institute of the Family and President and CEO of Indigenous Works Kelly J. Lendsay will be a panellist at First Nations, Métis and Inuit Statistics: The Way Forward. Hosted in Saskatoon by Statistics Canada as part of the “Talking Stats” events, he will join others in an engaging discussion about research on First Nations people, Métis and Inuit in Canada, as well as some of the unique challenges and opportunities in today’s context.

The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion with experts and audience questions.

When: Wednesday, June 13, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. CST

Where: Gordon Oakes Red Bear Student Centre, University of Saskatchewan (5 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, SK  S7N 5A4)

Cost: Free




  • Anil Arora, Chief Statistician of Canada, Statistics Canada

Master of ceremonies

  • Candace Wasacase-Lafferty, Director First Nation and Metis Engagement, University of Saskatchewan


  • Heather Dryburgh, Acting Director General, Census Subject Matter, Social and Demographic Statistics, Statistics Canada


  • Kelly J. Lendsay, President and CEO, Indigenous Works, and Chair, The Vanier Institute of the Family
  • Candice Pete, Senior Strategic Officer, Indigenous Programs and Partnerships, University of Saskatchewan
  • Rhett Sangster, Director, Reconciliation and Community Partnerships, Office of the Treaty Commissioner


Visit the event page on the Statistics Canada website


Published on June 11, 2018

Flexible, Accessible and Inclusive: Benefit for Parents of Young Victims of Crime

When children become victims of crime, families experience their worst nightmare. They often miss work, leave the paid labour force and/or experience financial strain. In response, the Federal Income Support for Parents of Murdered or Missing Children (PMMC) was introduced in 2013.

On May 25, 2018, Employment and Social Development Canada announced changes aimed at enhancing support for families experiencing the death or disappearance of a child. The existing program (PMMC) will be renamed the Canadian Benefit for Parents of Young Victims of Crime and extended to include more families and provide working parents with greater flexibility in accessing and utilizing this benefit.

Changes to the program include:

  • Increasing the weekly grant/benefit payment from $350 to $450
  • Raising the age limit of the young victim from under 18 to under 25
  • Doubling the period in which recipients can receive the grant from 52 to 104 weeks
  • Allowing grant recipients to continue working up to 50% of their regular weekly hours (up to 20 hours per week)
  • Eliminating the requirement that parents attest that their child was not a willing party to the crime if their child is under age 14


Learn more about the Canadian Benefit for Parents of Young Victims of Crime. 

If you would like to book an interview with Vanier Institute CEO Nora Spinks, please contact lsteele@vanierinstitute.ca.


Published on May 25, 2018

Vanier Institute Update: May 2018

 What’s New

 What We’re Reading

What’s in the Media 

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Published on May 25, 2018