FAQ: Aboriginal Applicants

Any individual can self-identify as an Aboriginal person if they believe they are related to, or descended from, the Original peoples of Canada.

ontariocolleges.ca uses the term Aboriginal in reference to both the legal definition provided in Section 35(2) of the Canadian Constitution, which defines Aboriginal peoples as Indian (First Nation), Métis or Inuit, and in the spirit of this definition, to include any individual who has ancestry to, or is descended from, the Original peoples of Canada.

Any applicant, who believes that he or she meets either the legal definition or the spirit and intent of the definition is encouraged to self-identify.

ontariocolleges.ca acknowledges that applicants may prefer to identify using different terms that more accurately reflect their own definition or perception of identity.

When you self-identify as an Aboriginal person, it helps build a sense of community and pride among Aboriginal learners at Ontario colleges.

If the colleges know you are of Aboriginal identity or ancestry, they can provide you with additional information about specific Aboriginal bursaries or other financial assistance, referrals to support services including elder programs, orientation or child care, access to cultural and lounge space for Aboriginal students and invitations to participate in a variety of activities you may be interested in.

The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) and Ontario’s public colleges recognize the importance of education in improving the lifelong opportunities for Aboriginal people. By self-identifying on your ontariocolleges.ca application, you’re helping us to help the colleges better support you as you make the transition to college life.

Knowing how many Aboriginal students are applying to and / or enrolled at each college helps the colleges help you. These statistics allow them to plan for and deliver programs, services, supports and opportunities that are relevant to Aboriginal students.

All applicant information collected is legally protected under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Information about your Aboriginal identity or ancestry is stored in the secure applicant information system.

As part of the application process, your personal information will be disclosed to the colleges, the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD), the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, as well as other educational research agencies approved by OCAS for statistical, marketing and research purposes.

For specific details, please review our Privacy Statement.

This process is voluntary in nature and you are not required to prove your Aboriginal identity.

The process of self-identifying on your college application is easy. In the Citizenship and Residency section, you’ll be asked if you consider yourself to be an Aboriginal person, that is, a person related to or descended from the original peoples of Canada.

If you select yes, you can then choose which definition you feel appropriately represents your Aboriginal ancestry and / or identity – First Nation, Inuit, Metis or another definition. Select all definitions that apply to you or use the freeform field to enter a definition that isn’t listed.

If you decide not to self-identify on your college application, once you’ve confirmed an offer of admission, you may contact or visit the Aboriginal Student Services office at the college you’re attending and let them know that you’re interested in accessing the many resources and supports they have to offer.