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Aug. 17, 2022
OTTAWA – New data from Statistics Canada suggests the number of people who can speak an Indigenous language has dropped slightly in the country.
However, the agency said comparing census years should be done with caution as the COVID-19 pandemic hampered its ability to fully enumerate First Nations and other Indigenous communities.
Statistics Canada released data from the 2021 census that shows about 243,000 people reported being able to speak an Indigenous language, which is a drop from the 2016 census when that figure was around 251,000.
For the 2021 census, it reported being unable to collect information from 63 First Nations reserves and other communities. Many did not provide permission for the agency to enter.
Officials have said efforts to collect census data from Indigenous communities was challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as heat waves and wildfires that swept British Columbia and northern Ontario.
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