Education in Canada is for the most part provided publicly, funded and overseen by federal, provincial, and local governments. Education is within provincial jurisdiction and the curriculum is overseen by the province. Education in Canada is generally divided into primary education, followed by secondary education and post-secondary. Within the provinces under the ministry of education, there are district school boards administering the educational programs.
Education is compulsory up to the age of 16 in every province in Canada, except for Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick, where the compulsory age is 18, or as soon as a high school diploma has been achieved. In some provinces early leaving exemptions can be granted under certain circumstances at 14.
Canada generally has 190 (180 in Quebec) school days in the year, officially starting from September (after Labour Day) to the end of June (usually the last Friday of the month, except in Quebec when it is just before June 24 – the provincial holiday).
Post-secondary education in Canada is also the responsibility of the individual provinces and territories. Those governments provide the majority of funding to their public post-secondary institutions, with the remainder of funding coming from tuition fees, the federal government, and research grants. Compared to other countries in the past, Canada has had the highest tertiary school enrollment as a percentage of their graduating population.
Nearly all post-secondary institutions in Canada have the authority to grant academic credentials (i.e., diplomas or degrees). Generally speaking, universities grant degrees (e.g., bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degrees) while colleges, which typically offer vocationally oriented programs, grant diplomas and certificates. However, some colleges offer applied arts degrees that lead to or are equivalent to degrees from a university. Private career colleges are overseen by legislative acts for each province, For example in British Columbia training providers will be registered and accredited with the (PCTIA) Private Career Training Institutions Agency regulated under the Private Career Training Institutions Act (SBC 2003) Each province with their own correlating agency. Unlike the United States, there is no “accreditation body” that oversees the universities in Canada. Universities in Canada have degree-granting authority via an Act or Ministerial Consent from the Ministry of Education of the particular province.