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The sweet grass braid is a symbol of strength and unity. Alone, a single strand of sweet grass is delicate and can easily be broken but when many strands are braided, its strength is undeniable. There is always power in numbers and now Indigenous people can connect their efforts with others to create a strong and unified voice. The National Association of Indigenous Workers (NAIW) is the collective voice of Indigenous workers in Canada.

Our organization is dedicated to promoting the skills and talents of First Nation, Inuit and Métis employees across the country. By providing employers with the information and resources necessary to engage an Indigenous workforce, our members can reach new markets and better jobs.

Become a member of the NAIW and invest in yourself and your future. It’s free and easy to do. Just fill out the form on the Membership page to sign up.

Importance of Unity

The historic foundation of our nation’s wealth was built upon trade with indigenous people, but over the years their active participation in the economy has often been minimal. In the coming decade, the indigenous population will account for 20 % of the labour force growth in Canada.

The NAIW aims to give that force a strong, unified presence. Skills and education combined with employment opportunities will create powerful changes in the lives of individuals and when the voices of proud indigenous workers join together, whole communities can be transformed.


General Facts

Population Growth

Canada's Indigenous population is growing faster than the general population, increasing by 20.1% from 2006 to 2011.


Entering the Workforce

It is estimated that more than 600,000 Indigenous individuals will be of age to enter the workforce between 2001 and 2026, with those in the 15-29 age bracket projected to increase by 37 per cent over this time period, compared with 6 per cent for the general Canadian population.


Indigenous Population

There are a total of 1,400,685 Indigenous people in Canada, comprising 4.3% of the Canadian population. Of the three Indigenous groups, First Nations (851,560) had the largest population, followed by Métis (451,795), and Inuit (59,445).

301425 ON
157740 SK

Regional Populations

Ontario and the four western provinces had the largest Indigenous populations in 2011, ranging from 301,425 in Ontario to 157,740 in Saskatchewan.

Educated Women

Of the 66,100 Indigenous individuals aged 25-64 with a university degree in 2011, 65% were female. This compares to 54% for the non- Indigenous population.

86.3% NU
51.9% NT
16.7% MB
15.6% SK

Regional Populations

The provinces and territories with the highest proportion of Indigenous populations were Nunavut (86.3%), the Northwest Territories (51.9%), Yukon (23.1%), Manitoba (16.7%) and Saskatchewan (15.6%).

65 or older

An Aging Workforce

Seniors make up the fastest-growing age group. In 2011, an estimated 5.0 million Canadians were 65 years of age or older, a number that is expected to double in the next 25 years to reach 10.4 million seniors by 2036. By 2051, about one in four Canadians is expected to be 65 or over.


Almost half (48%) of the Indigenous population of working age has some form of post-secondary qualification. The working-age Indigenous population with a university degree has increased since 2006 (from 8% to 10%).

Young Population

The Indigenous population is younger than the non-Aboriginal population. Children aged 14 and under accounted for more than one-quarter (28.0%) of the Indigenous population, compared with 16.5% among the non- Indigenous population.

Young Population

Indigenous youth aged 15 to 24 comprised 18.2% of the Indigenous population, compared with 12.9% of the non- Indigenous population. The median age of the Indigenous population was 28 years in 2011, compared with 41 for the non-Indigenous - population.