by Paula Arriagada and Darcy Hango Statistics Canada

Release date: May 18, 2016

“Overview of the study

This article examines the literacy and numeracy skills of off-reserve First Nations and Métis adults, focusing on the factors and labour market outcomes associated with higher skill levels. In this study, individuals in the higher range for literacy and numeracy are defined as those who scored level 3 or higher (out of 5 levels) in tests administered by the 2012 Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC).

  • Off-reserve First Nations and Métis adults have lower literacy and numeracy scores than non-Aboriginal adults. For example, just over one-third (35%) of off-reserve First Nations people and 50% of Métis aged 25 to 65 had higher literacy scores (level 3 or higher), compared with 57% among non-Aboriginal adults.
  • For off-reserve First Nations, Métis and non-Aboriginal adults, a higher level of education was associated with higher literacy and numeracy skills. Among those with a university degree, however, the proportion of off-reserve First Nations adults with higher skills remained lower than that of non-Aboriginal adults.
  • Among those who had higher literacy skills (level 3 or higher), off-reserve First Nations adults aged 25 to 54 had a 75% probability to be employed, compared with 80% among Métis adults and 91% among non-Aboriginal adults.
  • Non-Aboriginal adults aged 25 to 54 with lower literacy skills (level 2 or lower) were more likely to be employed than off-reserve First Nations adults with higher skills (level 3 or higher), even after accounting for other factors related to the probability of employment.
  • Among those who were employed, off-reserve First Nations and Métis workers who had higher skill levels were as likely as their non-Aboriginal counterparts to work in a managerial or professional occupation.”