Canada's education systems

Did you know?

  • More than 400,000 international students chose Canada in 2016!
  • Canada has 4 universities in the top 100 of the 2016 Academic Ranking of World Universities (the Shanghai Ranking).
  • 5 MBA schools in Canada placed in the top 100 of the 2016 Financial Times rankings.
  • Canadian students perform well in reading, literacy, maths and sciences, top among English and French speaking countries according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).
  • The university sector is the 2nd largest performer of research in Canada after the private sector. With only 0.5% of the global population, Canada produces 2.8% of global scientific research (Thomson Reuters list of Highly Cited Researchers).

Canada is one of the world's top education performers and spends more per tertiary student than almost all OECD countries. Students score high on international tests reflecting the dedication each jurisdiction has on the quality of our education system.

In Canada, post-secondary education is the responsibility of provincial and territorial governments, and in each province and territory there are laws, policies and procedures that govern the operation of education institutions. The basic structures of provincial and territorial education systems across Canada are similar. Each has 3 tiers — elementary, secondary, and postsecondary; all provide universal, free elementary and secondary schooling for Canadian students.

Each jurisdiction has their own quality assurance mechanisms that are used in combination to ensure quality in the country's wide range of post-secondary institutions. This ensures Canada's academic credentials continue to be valued worldwide.

Step 1-2-3

Want to study in a particular province or find out what schools are available in which province? Try our handy Step 1-2-3 tool to find out what programs are available, how much it costs and what documents are required as a citizen of your country.


For more information about schools by province, please visit our Provinces, Territories and Cities section.

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