Urban Aboriginal Population in BC
In British Columbia, an increasing number of Aboriginal people (First Nation, Métis and Inuit) are living, studying, and working in urban areas. More specifically, just over 128,000 Aboriginal people (representing 60 per cent of British Columbia’s Aboriginal population) currently live in urban communities.
In April 2010, Environics Institute released the Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study (UAPS), which provides an understanding of the experiences of Canadian Aboriginal Peoples in 11 cities: Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax and Ottawa (Inuit only).
While the UAPS report was not intended to cite specific economic or social statistics of urban Aboriginal people, it does tell a comprehensive story about the values, identities and aspirations of urban Aboriginal people, as well as the challenges, and opportunities they face living in cities.
View the UAPS report for useful information about the urban Aboriginal population in Canada:
Urban Aboriginal Strategy
Engaging with the urban Aboriginal population requires special effort particularly because there is no formal system or entity in place to enable dialogue between urban Aboriginal interests and government.
One key forum that works towards addressing these interests is the Urban Aboriginal Strategy(UAS), a community-based initiative developed by the Government of Canada. UAS partnerships support projects that respond to local priorities and advance the UAS national priority areas of: improve life skills, promote job training, skills and entrepreneurship, and support Aboriginal women, children and families.
In BC, there are UAS initiatives in Metro Vancouver and Prince George where 40,310 and 8,850 Aboriginal people reside respectively. Through these two UAS initiatives, MARR supports coordinated and collaborative projects and approaches that address the distinct needs of urban Aboriginal people within these two sites.
More specifically, MARR:
- Works to ensure that provincial initiatives to close social and economic gaps address the distinct needs of urban Aboriginal peoples, including First Nations, Métis and non-status Indians.
- Supports coordinated and collaborative approaches involving the federal government and Aboriginal organizations to address urban Aboriginal social and economic issues.
- Works with other ministries to support urban and off-reserve Aboriginal peoples’ access to education, training, skills development and employment initiatives as well as support systems associated with economic development.