Why register

Both the provincial and federal governments provide a range of benefits, programs and services to First Nations peoples.

To access these programs and services, you need to register for certain identity documents.

Indian status cards

An Indian status card (formally known as a Certificate of Indian Status) is an identity document that confirms you are registered as a Status Indian under the Indian Act.

You need to apply for the card through the Canadian government.

As of 2011, eligible grandchildren of women who lost status as a result of marrying non-Indian men are able to register and get a status card.

Apply for a status card


Though the word Métis has several different meanings and definitions, one common theme is that Métis are people with mixed First Nation and European ancestry, distinct from First Nations, Inuit or non-Indigenous people.

Métis identify themselves as Métis.

To get a Métis card, you need to:

  • apply through a local or provincial Métis organization
  • provide documentation and proof of your ancestry

Family history/heritage

If you are researching your family’s Indigenous heritage, Library and Archives Canada can help.

Visit Library and Archives Canada

Adopted individuals

If you were adopted in Ontario, you can search adoption records and information through ServiceOntario.


To get non-insured health benefits from the federal government, Inuit may require a Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) N-Number, which pharmacies and other providers use when they submit a claim. First Nations people use the registration number on their Indian status card for this purpose.

These benefits include:

  • prescription drugs
  • over-the-counter medications
  • medical supplies and equipment
  • mental health counselling
  • dental care
  • vision care
  • medical transportation

The Canadian government has more information about the NIHB Program, including how to get an N-Number.