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On-Reserve Voter Turnout – 42nd General Election


In the 2015 election, voter turnout for registered electors living on reserves was 61.5%. This number is obtained from votes cast on reserves during advance voting days and election day. It excludes votes cast by special ballot.*

Compared to the 2011 election, turnout on reserves increased by 14 percentage points (from 47.4%) in 2015, while turnout for the general population increased by 6 percentage points (from 60.2%). The gap between turnout on reserves and turnout among the general population is the lowest observed by Elections Canada since it began calculating turnout for Aboriginal populations in 2004.

Elections Canada does not capture demographic information at the polls; therefore, data on participation does not include all Aboriginal voters. The study is limited to a population of 360,620 electors living on reserves, about 10% of whom are not of Aboriginal descent. Statistics Canada estimates that 1.4 million Canadians are of Aboriginal descent.

*This explains the gap between the official voter turnout rate of 68.3% for all of Canada in 2015 and the voter turnout rate of 66.0% presented below.

Trend in voter turnout on reserves, 2004–2015
(Excludes votes cast by special ballot)

Text description of "Trend in voter turnout on reserves"


Voter turnout on reserves, 2011–2015
(Excludes votes cast by special ballot)
Canada, provinces and territories

Text description of "Voter turnout on reserves"


  1. In 2015, Elections Canada adopted Statistics Canada's definition of on-reserve populations and included votes cast at advance polls. Estimates for the 2011 election have been adjusted accordingly, but earlier ones have not.
  2. On-reserve polling divisions are those completely or partially contained within an on-reserve community (one that is legally affiliated with a First Nations or Indian band).
  3. Votes cast by special ballot were excluded in the calculation of turnout (618,802 votes in 2015 and 285,034 votes in 2011).
  4. No on-reserve communities have been identified in Nunavut.