2016 Census Demonstrates Urgency of First Nations Priorities, says AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde

Published: Oct 26, 2017News

October 25, 2017

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde says today’s release of census information by Statistics Canada demonstrates the urgent need to invest in a young and rapidly growing First Nations population, which increased by 39.3 per cent in the last ten years.

“These statistics are a compelling reminder that our young and booming population must be given hope and opportunity and supported through significant, sustained investments in their future,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “It is clear once again that our future is Canada’s future, and healthy, strong First Nations people are essential to a healthy, strong Canada. The average age of our people is 30 years old and these results show the urgent need for continued investments in education and training. It also shows the need to address the stark social-economic conditions facing our people. That is the way to unlock the untapped potential for the benefit of First Nations and all Canadians.”

The report shows that one quarter of First Nations people live in a house that is in need of major repairs, including 44.2 per cent of them on-reserve. Over-crowding was identified as another major problem with one quarter of First Nations people living in crowded housing with those on-reserves at a rate of 36.8 per cent.

The report also reveals that more than 70 Aboriginal languages are spoken across Canada with a total of 260,550 Aboriginal language speakers, an increase of 3.1 per cent since 2006. 

AFN National Chief Bellegarde said, “Several of the 70 languages still spoken can survive but none are safe and interventions and supports for all languages and all ages are necessary. Now is the time for the Indigenous Languages Act to ensure the ‘preservation, protection, and revitalization’ of First Nations languages.”

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.


For more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
613-241-6789 ext. 116
343-540-6179 (cell)
[email protected]

Alain Garon
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 382
[email protected]

Michael Hutchinson
Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 254
613-299-6330 (cell)
[email protected]