October 26, 2017 (Ottawa, ON) – National Chief Robert Bertrand of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) states that the release of the 2016 Census data by Statistics Canada points to a clear population growth for CAP’s constituency; off-reserve Indigenous Peoples living in urban, rural, and remote areas.
According to the data release, in 2016, 867,415 Indigenous people lived in a metropolitan area of at least 30,000 people, accounting for over half (51.8%) of the total Indigenous population. From 2006 to 2016, the number of Indigenous people living in a metropolitan area of this size increased by 59.7%.
From 2006 to 2016, the number of non-status First Nations people rose 75.1% in comparison to a growth rate of 30.8% for status First Nations. Non-status account for nearly a quarter (232,375) of the First Nations population in Canada. Significantly, the Métis population also saw the fastest growth in Quebec (+149.2%) and the Atlantic provinces (+124.3%).
“This new data will be an important marker for the federal government in achieving true reconciliation”, says National Chief Bertrand. “Reconciliation, through open and transparent engagement, and free, prior and informed consent, must extend to all Indigenous Peoples, both on and off-reserve, status and non-status.”
“This in turn means that it is imperative for the federal government to take tangible action on the Supreme Court of Canada’s landmark decision on Daniels v. Canada and work directly with CAP”, states Chief Bertrand.
On April 14th, 2016, the Supreme Court declared that Métis and non-status Indians are “Indians” under s. 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867. This unanimous decision affirmed Canada’s constitutional responsibility and fiduciary duty for Métis and non-status Indians. CAP spearheaded and actively fought the Daniels case over seventeen years through to its victory.
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The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples is the national voice representing the interests of Métis, status and non-status Indians, and Southern Inuit Indigenous People living off-reserve.