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Federal Voter Turnout in First Nations Reserves (20042011) (Research Note)

On-reserve Turnout by Province and Territory

The rates of on-reserve turnout by province and territory are presented in Table 2, with the right-hand column showing the pooled results of the last four elections combined.Footnote 7

Table 2: On-reserve Turnout by Province and Territory (20042011)

Province/Territory 2004
(%)
2006
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Pooled Average
(%)
Canada (national) 60.9 64.7 58.8 61.1 61.4
On-reserve polls 40.3 48.8 42.4 44.8 44.0
Newfoundland & Labrador 29.6 45.6 25.8 31.3 34.3
Prince Edward Island 48.9 73.2 63.5 58.2 60.9
Nova Scotia 29.9 44.4 48.4 49.5 46.6
New Brunswick 36.1 45.6 43.6 44.5 43.0
Quebec 26.2 26.6 27.0 30.2 27.8
Ontario 42.3 52.0 42.0 46.3 45.3
Manitoba 36.9 51.5 37.6 37.6 40.3
Saskatchewan 44.6 58.2 39.7 46.4 45.5
Alberta 32.9 45.6 30.8 32.8 34.3
British Columbia 54.2 52.7 48.0 48.6 49.0
Yukon N/A 50.2 46.8 69.2 57.0
Northwest Territories 47.6 51.6 43.2 46.7 49.3
Nunavut a - - - - -

a There are no First Nations reserves identified in Nunavut.

Across the entire period, the 2004 and 2011 elections are most similar in terms of both national and on-reserve turnout rates. It can be noted that Atlantic Canada had generally lower turnout rates in 2004, while Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario and the Prairies all peaked in 2006. When comparing 2008 and 2011 alone, it is worth noting that turnout went up in all provinces and territories except Manitoba, where it remained unchanged, and Prince Edward Island, where it went down by 5.3 points. The greatest increase observed between 2008 and 2011 was 22.4 percentage points in Yukon.

When looking at the pooled results by province, the turnout rate is much higher for reserves located in Prince Edward Island than for reserves in any other province or territory. At 60.9 percent, it is just one half of a percentage point lower than the national pooled average (61.4 percent). Yukon also comes relatively high at 57.0 percent.

Conversely, reserves located in Quebec obtain the lowest pooled score at 27.8 percent, which is almost 34 points below the national average. Other provinces at the lower end include Newfoundland and Labrador and Alberta (both at 34.3 percent). Together, these three provinces stand out as having the most pronounced deficits in terms of on-reserve turnout for the entire period. New Brunswick (43.0 percent) and Manitoba (40.3 percent) also show pooled turnout rates that are below the average of 44.0 percent.


Footnote 7 The pooled average was measured by dividing the combined number of votes for all four elections by the combined number of registered electors over the same period.