According to 2016 Statistics Canada data, the prevalence of low-income status for First Nations populations is 14.2% (Statistics Canada, 2018). The median after-tax income for Indigenous peoples’ ($20,000) is lower than the Canadian average of $27,600 (Statistics Canada, 2018). Individuals with indigenous status are also more likely to be reliant upon social income assistance, with 33.6% of indigenous peoples receiving assistance compared to 5% of their non-indigenous counterparts (Sawchuk, 2018).
Income is found to be closely related to educational attainment for Indigenous peoples. According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, “In 2011, 28.9% of the indigenous population aged 25 to 64 did not have a high school diploma or equivalent compared to 12.1% for their non-Indigenous counterparts” (Sawchuk, 2018). Indigenous individuals between the age of 35 and 44 are more likely to have completed high school (Sawchuk, 2018). The studied correlation between education and income in the indigenous population emphasizes the need for educational opportunities that are relevant to indigenous culture and values.
The Federal Department of Indigenous Services was created in 2017 to improve indigenous “access to high quality services for First Nations, Inuit and Metis” populations in Canada. It aims to “support and empower Indigenous people to independently deliver services and address the socioeconomic conditions in their communities” (Sawchuk, 2018).