Income Assistance Receipt among Off-reserve Indigenous Peoples in Canada

  • Jungwee Park Statistics Canada


This study demonstrated income assistance (IA) receipt among Aboriginal people living off-reserve using data from the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS), a national survey of First Nations people living off reserve, Métis, and Inuit. In 2011, 12% of Aboriginal people living off-reserve received IA. It focused on socio-demographic, labour market and health characteristics found in different types of IA receipt. For almost half of the Aboriginal IA receivers, IA was their only source of income; it was the main (but not sole) source of income for 27%; and for the remaining 28%, IA was a secondary source of income.  The receipt of IA was associated with socio-demographic characteristics such as never having been married; female; younger; less than high school levels of education; and living in lone-parent households.  About 20% of IA recipients were employed in 2011. Compared with other Aboriginal workers not receiving IA, they were more likely to have a job with short tenure; to be part-time workers or temporary workers; and to work in the sector of sales and services. Compared to non-recipients, recipients of IA also reported significantly poorer mental and physical health conditions. The associations between health status and IA remained significant after controlling for other demographic factors. These results have important implications for policy makers and other stakeholders interested in IA for Aboriginal people. The complexity of employment, health, and other risk factors of IA need to be considered in further understanding these issues.

Author Biography

Jungwee Park, Statistics Canada

Health Analysis Division

Senior Research Analyst