• Ontario has the largest Indigenous population in Canada (374,395)*. The second largest Indigenous population is in British Columbia (270,580).
  • The Indigenous population in Ontario increased by 54 per cent from 2006 to 2016. There are two explanations for the large growth in the Indigenous population: natural growth and an increase in people voluntarily self-identifying as First Nations, Inuit, or Métis.
  • Indigenous people represent 2.8 per cent of the total population of Ontario.
  • Thunder Bay is the Census Metropolitan Area with the highest proportion of Indigenous people in Canada (12.7 per cent of the population).
  • The average age of the Indigenous population is 33.6 years compared to 40.7 years for the non-Indigenous population in Ontario.
  • Ontario has the largest First Nations population in Canada (236,685 or 24 per cent of the total First Nations population in Canada).
  • There are 120,585 self-identifying Métis people in Ontario, which is a 40 per cent increase from 2011 and an increase of 64 per cent since 2006.
  • With a population of 3,860, the Inuit represent 1 per cent of the total Indigenous population in Ontario.
  • 133 First Nation communities are located in Ontario, the second-highest number in Canada after British Columbia (source: Chiefs of Ontario).
  • 78 per cent of First Nation communities in Ontario are located in Northern Ontario.
  • 1 in 4 First Nation communities in Ontario is a remote community, accessible only by air year-round or by ice road in the winter. Ontario has the highest number of remote First Nation communities in Canada.
  • 23 per cent of First Nations people in Ontario live on reserve.
  • Of the 58,100 people living on reserve in Ontario, 93 per cent identify as First Nations. Approximately 7 per cent identify as Métis, Inuit, other Indigenous or non-Indigenous.

**The original Census statistics uses “Aboriginal” rather than “Indigenous” to refer to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people.

*** All statistics are based on self-identification as Indigenous.

**** While the Census of Population is the most comprehensive data source available, some Indigenous organizations question the cultural appropriateness of the methodology used by Statistics Canada for the Census, resulting in possible over- and under-counting of certain Indigenous populations.

Source: Statistics Canada, 2016 Census of Population

Socio-economic indicators:


  • The median annual income for Indigenous people in Ontario (aged 25-64) is $33,218 ($30,819 after-tax) compared to $42,564 for the non-Indigenous population ($37,779 after-tax).
  • The prevalence of low incomes for the Indigenous population in Ontario (aged 25-64) is 21 per cent, which is higher than the rate for the non-Indigenous population at 13 per cent.

Source: Statistics Canada, 2016 Census of Population


  • The high school completion rate of Indigenous people (aged 20-24) is 76 per cent, below the rate of the non-Indigenous population at 93 per cent. For First Nations living on reserve, the rate is 45 per cent.
  • 53 per cent of the Indigenous population vs. 65 per cent of the non-Indigenous population in Ontario (aged 25-64) has attained some form of post-secondary education (apprenticeship, trades certificate, diploma, college or university).
  • 13 per cent of Indigenous people in Ontario hold a university degree (aged 25-64), up from 9 per cent in 2006.

Source: Statistics Canada, 2016 Census of Population

Life expectancy:

  • Life expectancy for Indigenous people remained about 10 years lower than for the non-Indigenous population (71 years compared to 81 years).

Source: Statistics Canada, Vital Statistics custom tabulation

Justice system involvement:

  • The 2017 Independent Review of Ontario Corrections found that “Indigenous peoples account for approximately 2 per cent of Ontario’s population and yet in 2016 represented 13 per cent of those in provincial custody. One in three Indigenous people admitted to Ontario’s correctional institutions last year, and over half of the Indigenous people admitted to segregation, were flagged with a suicide risk alert. Both of these rates are higher than in the non-Indigenous population.”
  • Rates of Indigenous incarceration appear to be especially high in northern Ontario. Renu Mandhane, Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, speaking with CBC News in February 2017, claimed that 90 per cent of inmates in the provincial correctional centre in Kenora were Indigenous.

Source: Statistics Canada, Adult correctional services

* The Indigenous population figures do not include the residents of eight Ontario First Nations reserves that were incompletely enumerated in or omitted from the 2016 Census.