Statistics Canada - Statistique Canada

Qualitative testing of Aboriginal identification questions


Beginning in late 2006, the Social and Aboriginal Statistics Division of Statistics Canada embarked on the process of review of questions used in the Census and in surveys to produce data about Aboriginal peoples (North American Indian, Métis and Inuit). This process is essential to ensure that Aboriginal identification questions are valid measures of contemporary Aboriginal identification, in all its complexity. Questions reviewed included the following (from the Census 2B questionnaire):
- the Ethnic origin / Aboriginal ancestry question;
- the Aboriginal identity question;
- the Treaty / Registered Indian question; and
- the Indian band / First Nation Membership question.

Additional testing was conducted on Census questions with potential Aboriginal response options: the population group question (also known as visible minorities), and the Religion question. The review process to date has involved two major steps: regional discussions with data users and stakeholders, and qualitative testing. The regional discussions with over 350 users of Aboriginal data across Canada were held in early 2007 to examine the four questions used on the Census and other surveys of Statistics Canada. Data users included National Aboriginal organizations, Aboriginal Provincial and Territorial Organizations, Federal, Provincial and local governments, researchers and Aboriginal service organizations. User feedback showed that main areas of concern were data quality, undercoverage, the wording of questions, and the importance of comparability over time.

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