This study breaks new ground by examining data from Canada's last three censuses — 1996, 2001 and 2006 — to measure the income gap between Aboriginal peoples and the rest of Canadians.
Not only has the legacy of colonialism left Aboriginal peoples disproportionately ranked among the poorest of Canadians, this study reveals disturbing levels of in- come inequality persist as well.
In 2006, the median income for Aboriginal peoples was $18,962 — 30% lower than the $27,097 median income for the rest of Canadians. The difference of $8,135 that existed in 2006, however, was marginally smaller than the difference of $9,045 in 2001 or $9,428 in 1996.
While income disparity between Aboriginal peoples and the rest of Canadians narrowed slightly between 1996 and 2006, at this rate it would take 63 years for the gap to be erased.
Ironically, if and when parity with other Canadians is reached, Aboriginal peoples will achieve the same level of income inequality as the rest of the country, which is getting worse, not better.
The study reveals income inequality persists no matter where Aboriginal peoples live in Canada. The income gap in urban settings is $7,083 higher in urban settings and $4,492 higher in rural settings. Non-Aboriginal people working on urban re- serves earn 34% more than First Nation workers. On rural reserves, non-Aboriginal Canadians make 88% more than their First Nation
The study also reveals income inequality persists despite rapid increases in educational
attainment for Aboriginal people over the past 10 years, with one exception.