We call upon the federal government to develop a national plan to collect and publish data on the criminal victimization of Aboriginal people, including data related to homicide and family violence victimization.

Indigenous Watchdog Status Update

Current StatusNov. 9, 2020IN PROGRESS
Previous StatusAug. 17, 2020IN PROGRESS

Why “In Progress”?

On July 15, 2020 the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and Statistics Canada announced a commitment to work with the policing community and key organizations to enable police to report statistics on Indigenous and ethno-cultural groups in police reported crime statistics on victims and accused persons.

The StatsCan 2016 Census states “The data portrait of First Nations people, Métis, Inuit and their communities and businesses is not as comprehensive as it is for the general population.” That being said, the federal government is working with their provincial and territory partners to develop a comprehensive national Indigenous victimization data strategy.  StatsCan is also in the process of updating the Homicide Survey that will now include analysis of homicides of Indigenous women and girls as well as the “Victimization Survey” conducted every 5 years to incorporate Indigenous victimization data. StatsCan is also working with the Status of Women Canada to develop a new gender-based survey covering First Nations people, Métis and Inuit.

Indigenous Homicide Statistics
  • Indigenous men and boys are seven times more likely than non-Indigenous men and boys to be a homicide victim.
  • Indigenous women are almost three times as likely as non-Indigenous women to be a victim of violent crime.
  • In 2015, Indigenous people accounted for 25% of all homicide victims in Canada. Indigenous people represented an estimated 5% of the Canadian population in 2015.

First Nations People, Métis and Inuit in Canada: Diverse and Growing Populations

Data Sources on Indigenous Victimization

There are five national sources of administrative data from within the justice system that report on Indigenous people’s contact with police and the corrections system:

Corrections-level surveys

  • Adult Correctional Services Survey,
  • Youth Custody and Community Services Survey and
  • Integrated Correctional Services Survey

Police-level surveys.

  • Uniform Crime Report and
  • Homicide Survey

Homicide Survey
Since 2014, police-reported homicide data on Indigenous peoples have been available through the Homicide Survey, which collects information on the Indigenous identity of victims and offenders. Going forward, Statistics Canada’s annual homicide report will include analysis of homicides of Indigenous women and girls. This information will enable communities and those working in the criminal justice system to better understand and address the issues related to homicide victimization. In addition, Statistics Canada is expanding its other justice-related work to include information on Indigenous identity.

General Social Survey on Criminal Victimization
Partly as a consequence of the data gaps that exist within the justice system, research into the victimization of Indigenous people in Canada has relied heavily on the General Social Survey (GSS) on Victimization as a source of statistical data. The GSS on Victimization, which is carried out by Statistics Canada every five years, was most recently carried out in 2014. The GSS allows an analysis of self-reported rates of specific forms of victimization, such as robbery or family violence, with other social and demographic factors such as age, gender and the relationship between the victim and the accused.

Between 2003 and 2013, the Indigenous identity of about half of victims and accused persons in a homicide case was reported as unknown. The 2014 Homicide Survey was the first cycle to have more complete information on the Indigenous identity of victims and accused persons in a homicide case and only 3% were reported as unknown.

An examination of the way in which data is collected on Indigenous involvement in the criminal justice system was undertaken by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (CCJS).  The authors of the resulting report note that Canadian commissions and inquiries have repeatedly highlighted the gaps in disaggregated data on Indigenous people and the Canadian justice system.

Though there has been a positive evolution of data collection methods for the GSS, the survey remains limited as a research tool for examining Indigenous victimization. A lack of available statistical information may lead to the underestimation of the full extent of violent victimization of Indigenous people in Canada while also threatening to distort Canada’s understanding of the causes and contexts of this violence. A significant gap is that the GSS does not document victims’ experiences in the justice system itself. It is important to note, however, that Statistics Canada continues to work with partners to improve the quality of its many surveys

Official Federal Government Response: Sept. 5, 2019

Statistics Canada, in collaboration with federal, provincial and territorial partners, has developed a comprehensive data strategy to collect and publish information on victimization of Indigenous peoples. The strategy includes collection of data reported by police forces and of information provided by Indigenous peoples on their victimization experiences.

Since 2014, police-reported homicide data on Indigenous peoples have been available through the Homicide Survey, which collects information on the Indigenous identity of victims and offenders. Going forward, Statistics Canada’s annual homicide report will include analysis of homicides of Indigenous women and girls. This information will enable communities and those working in the criminal justice system to better understand and address the issues related to homicide victimization. In addition, Statistics Canada is expanding its other justice-related work to include information on Indigenous identity.

Understanding the nature and extent of victimization of Indigenous peoples is key to responding to issues related to safety and well-being. Statistics Canada’s victimization survey, conducted every 5 years, responds to data needs by collecting information on victimization, whether it was reported to the police or not. Statistics Canada is currently exploring opportunities to identify options on how to have the voices of Indigenous peoples heard in the next survey collection cycle. In addition, in partnership with Status of Women Canada, Statistics Canada is developing a new gender-based violence survey covering First Nations people living off reserve and Inuit and Métis populations. This new information will provide insight into the impact of lifetime prevalence of physical and sexual violence among the Indigenous population in Canada, among other topics.