Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS)

Detailed information for 2006




Every 5 years

Record number:


The purpose of the Aboriginal Peoples Survey is to provide data on the social and economic conditions of Aboriginal people in Canada. More specifically, its purpose is to identify the needs of Aboriginal people and focus on issues such as health, language, employment, income, schooling, housing, and mobility.

Data release - December 3, 2008


The Aboriginal Peoples Survey is a national survey of Aboriginal peoples (First Nations peoples living off-reserve, Métis and Inuit) living in urban, rural and northern locations throughout Canada. The survey provides valuable data on the social and economic conditions of Aboriginal children and youth (6-14 years) and Aboriginal people (15 years and over).

The Aboriginal Peoples Survey was developed and implemented in partnership with the following National Aboriginal Organizations:
- Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP)
- Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK)
- Métis National Council (MNC)
- National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC)
- Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC)

The survey was funded by a Consortium of federal departments including Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC), Health Canada (HC), Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Canadian Heritage (CH).

The survey includes a broad range of topics such as Aboriginal identity and ancestry, education, language, labour activity, income, health, communication technology, mobility, housing and family background.

Aboriginal organizations, governments at all levels, service providers and researchers will be able to use information from the APS to:
- Inform decision-making (Program/Policy planning and development);
- Support academic research (Educators and researchers).

Collection period: The APS is collected every 5 years, following the Census.


  • Aboriginal peoples
  • Population characteristics

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population includes all people living in Canada who have North American Indian, Métis or Inuit identity or ancestry, aged 6-14 years and 15 years and over, excluding people living in Indian settlements or on-reserves. People living in institutions are not included. Although people living on-reserve are not included in the provinces, all Aboriginal people living in the territories are included.

Instrument design

All questionnaires were developed in collaboration with National Aboriginal Organizations.


This is a sample survey with a cross-sectional design.

The Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS) is a post-censal survey, that is, the sample was selected from people living in households whose response on their 2006 Census questionnaire indicated that they:
- had Aboriginal ancestors and / or
- identified as North American Indian and/or Métis and / or Inuit, and / or
- had treaty or registered Indian status and / or
- had Indian Band membership.

The initial sample size of 62,579 was reduced to 61,041 individuals after reducing the overlap between the Aboriginal Children's Survey (ACS) and other post-censal surveys.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2006-10-01 to 2007-03-31

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Data for people aged 15 years and over are collected directly from survey respondents. Information for children 6 to 14 years of age was provided by a parent or guardian. October 31, 2006 was the reference date for the APS. The age of the respondent is determined as of this reference date and is used to determine which type of questionnaire (children and youth or one of the adult questionnaires) is to be completed. Interviews were conducted in person in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories (except for Yellowknife) and in Inuit regions. Elsewhere across Canada interviews were conducted over the telephone. A paper questionnaire was used to record the responses for both the telephone and the in-person interviews.

View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s).


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.


In a sample survey, each responding unit represents not only himself/herself, but also other persons who were not sampled. Consequently, a weight is associated with each responding unit to indicate the number of persons that this person represents. This weight must be used for all estimations. For example, in a simple random sample of 2% of the population, each person represents 50 persons in the population. The initial weight is then adjusted for such things as non-response and discrepancies between the characteristics of the sample and known totals for the target population (post-stratification adjustment). The number of persons represented by a given responding unit is what is known as the unit's weight or weighting factor.

Detailed information about the survey is available in the APS 2006 Concepts and Methods Guide (catalogue number 89-636).

Quality evaluation

Where possible, results from the APS were compared with data from other sources (eg., Census, General Social Survey, Canadian Community Health Survey) in an attempt to identify large inconsistencies.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

Data based on a count of fewer than 10 respondents are suppressed to ensure confidentiality of respondents. To further reduce risk of disclosures, all estimates are rounded to the nearest 10 units.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Data accuracy

Two types of errors occur in surveys, namely non-sampling and sampling errors.

Errors that occur during the survey process which are not related to sampling are referred to as non-sampling errors. Examples of such errors include: interviewers misunderstanding instructions, respondents making errors in answering questions, answers being incorrectly entered on the questionnaire, errors during processing and so on. Actions were taken to reduce these errors to a minimum. Following is a description of measures that were taken for that purpose.

Several rounds of testing were carried out before the survey to evaluate the entire survey process from questionnaire content to data capture and processing.

High response rates are essential for data quality. To reduce the number of non-respondents, Aboriginal interviewers were hired as much as possible. Further, interviewers were all trained by Statistics Canada staff and provided with detailed Interviewer Manuals and were under the direction of interviewer supervisors. A number of attempts were made to contact persons not at home and refusals were followed up to encourage respondents to participate in the survey.

In addition, some measures were taken to identify and correct errors that could result from misinterpretation of a question by the respondent or from a wrong flow followed in the questionnaire. Following the interviews, interviewers reviewed the questionnaires and called respondents back if need be. Supervisors also reviewed the completed questionnaires. A detailed set of edit rules were then used during data processing to identify errors in the responses provided.

The difference between the estimates obtained from the sample and those that would result from a complete census taken under similar conditions is called the sampling error of estimates.

The measure of sampling error used for the APS is the coefficient of variation (CV) of the estimate, which is the standard error of the estimate divided by the estimate itself. For this survey, when the CV of an estimate is equal to or higher than 16.6% but smaller than 33.3%, the estimate will be accompanied by the letter "E" to indicate that the data should be used with caution. When the CV of an estimate is equal to or higher than 33.3%, the cell estimate will be replaced by the letter "F" to indicate that the data is suppressed for reasons of reliability. An "X" is used to indicate that an estimate is suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act.

Detailed information about the survey is available in the APS 2006 Concepts and Methods Guide (catalogue number 89-636).

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