Toronto Campus
21 Eddfield Avenue
Toronto, ON, M2N 2M5
(416) 250-0648

Richmond Hill Campus
11 Headdon Gate
Richmond Hill, ON, L4C 9W9
(905) 780-6565


About Education in Canada

Education in Canada is a very high priority of the government. Canada has a strong and well-funded system of public education, largely managed provincially. Consequently, some aspects of the education system can vary between provinces. However, as education is overseen by the federal government, the standard of education remains consistently high throughout the country.

There is both a public and private education system in Canada. The Canadian government heavily subsidizes education from kindergarten through to the post-secondary level, spending on average almost six percent of its GDP on education. This means Canada spends proportionately more on education than the average among OECD countries.

Education is compulsory up to the age of 16 in every province in Canada, except for Ontario and New Brunswick, where the compulsory age is 18. Canada generally has 190 total school days in the academic year, typically starting in September (after Labor Day) and concluding near the end of June—usually the last Friday of the month, except in some cases in the Province of Quebec, when the last day of school occurs just before June 24, a holiday in the province.

In terms of educational attainment, about 90 percent of all Canadians possess at least a high school diploma, and one in seven individuals hold a university degree of some type. The ratio of high school graduates versus non-diploma holders is changing rapidly in the country, partly due to changes in the labor market that require people to have a high school diploma and, in many cases, a university degree.

In addition to public schools, there are also thousands of private schools (for example Prestige Private School prestigeprivateschool.ca) in Canada, both secular and religious-based institutions. When Canada was first formed, all the provinces originally had education systems divided by religion, but most provinces have now abolished these “public-religious” systems. The provinces of Ontario and Alberta, the Northwest Territories, and certain cities in Saskatchewan are exceptions to this, as they still maintain publicly-funded separate district school boards (usually Catholic but occasionally Protestant). In Quebec, the Catholic/Protestant divide was replaced with a French/English one in 1998. Quebec students must now attend a French school up until the end of high school unless one of their parents previously attended an English-language school somewhere else in Canada. Likewise, access to French school in most of the other provinces is limited to children having at least one French-speaking parent, or a parent who is a Canadian citizen having received French-language primary instruction in Canada.

Most Canadian education systems continue up to grade 12 (age seventeen to eighteen). In Quebec, the typical high school term ends after Secondary V/Grade 11 (age sixteen to seventeen); following this, students who wish to pursue university education must attend college.

For each type of publicly-funded school, the province is divided into school districts or divisions. For each district or division, board members, known as “trustees,” are elected by voters within that specific district only. Normally, all publicly-funded schools are under the authority of their local school district board. In turn, the school boards typically follow a curriculum set up by the province in which the school district is located. Only Alberta allows public charter schools—schools which are independent of any district school board. Instead, these schools have their own board of trustees, which reports directly to the province.

Talented individuals from around the world are drawn to Canada for its diversity, prestigious education system. Offering a wide-range of degree programs in numerous fields and disciplines, Canada is amongst the most popular study abroad destinations. Plus, almost every program is taught in English, which grants a variety of choice for native speakers and the chance to practice for non-native speakers who want to perfect their skills.

The Canadian education system offers three degrees: bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees. As an international student, you are welcome to complete all or part of your education in Canada. Like other countries, there are both public and private schools and universities. Tuition fees for private schools and universities average between 7,500 and 22,500 CAD per year, while tuition for private universities tend to be much higher. With few exceptions, degrees earned in Canada are internationally recognized.

A vast majority of degree programs in Canada are taught in English. Therefore, students from countries where English is not the native language will have to prove their English proficiency through either the IELTS or the TOEFL. That being said, studying abroad in Canada is also a great way to improve your English language skills. Practice speaking with locals to perfect your skills while also making new, international friends. Plus, if you plan on staying in Canada after your studies, proficiency in English will definitely be a requirement.

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