NOTE: Education levels are defined according to the 1997 International Standard
Classification of Education (ISCED97). Ages represent the typical age at the beginning
of the school year.
Numbers in bold print indicate ages of universal enrollment (i.e., an enrollment rate of over 90 percent). Numbers highlighted represent the age at which compulsory enrollment begins through the age at which compulsory enrollment ends. No meaning should be inferred from width of subdivisions. Duration of first university degree program is generally 4 years in Canada.
SOURCE: Miller, D.C. and Warren L.K. (2011). Comparative Indicators of Education in the United States and Other G-8 Countries: 2011 (NCES 2012-007). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
NOTE: There is no federal educational system across Canada; rather, education falls under the jurisdiction of Canada's 10 provinces and three territories. While these 13 education systems share similarities, there are differences across the education systems in Canada because responsibilities and oversight for education take place at the regional or local level. However, the purpose of this document is to present a brief, general summary of education in Canada. The sources cited at the end of this section provide more specific details.
NOTE: All provinces and territories have some form of pre-elementary (kindergarten) education, operated by the local education authorities and offering one year of pre-grade 1, noncompulsory education for 5-year-olds. In Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, kindergarten is compulsory for 5-year-olds. In some jurisdictions, an additional 1 year of pre-elementary programs is offered.
NOTE: Elementary school can begin at age 6 or 7 in Canada, depending on the jurisdiction. Based on the ISCED97, the firs 6 years of formal schooling are considered primary school, although in some jurisdictions primary school can last for up to 8 years.
NOTE: Based on the ISCED97, the 2 to 3 years of schooling following primary school are classified as lower secondary school in Canada. Students may attend 2- or 3-year junior high schools or middle schools, or they may go directly to a secondary school that includes both lower and upper secondary school.
NOTE: Based on the ISCED97, the last 3 years of schooling prior to receiving a high school diploma are classified as upper secondary school in Canada. Senior high schools may be up to 4 years in length, and many students attend secondary schools that include both lower and upper secondary school programs.
Canadian Education Statistics Council. (2007). Report of the Pan-Canadian Education Indicators Program, appendix 1. Ontario, Canada: Statistics Canada. Retrieved March 22, 2013, from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/81-582-x/81-582-x2007001-eng.pdf.
Marlow-Ferguson, R. (Ed.) (2002). World Education Encyclopedia: A Survey of Educational Systems Worldwide, Vol. 1 (2nd ed.). Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group.
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. (1996). Education at a Glance 1996: OECD Indicators. Paris: Author.
Robitaille, D.F. (1997). National Contexts for Mathematics and Science Education: An Encyclopedia of the Education Systems Participating in TIMSS. Vancouver, Canada: Pacific Educational Press.