Elementary and secondary schools in Canada

Education systems

In Canada, provinces and territories are responsible for their elementary and secondary schools, both within and without their geographical borders. Use the information on the Web site of the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC) as a starting point to learn about the elementary and secondary education systems in the provinces and territories of Canada.

There are numerous private, independent and publicly-funded elementary and secondary schools available in Canada.

International students can choose to study intensive English or French. Alternatively, they can enrol in an integrated academic and English or French program. For those with strong language skills in either official language, there are various academic programs, which can lead to a secondary school diploma.

Private elementary and secondary schools

The legal status of private schools varies across Canada as each province or territory is responsible for the regulatory environment of schools in its jurisdiction.

Most provinces and territories require private schools to be registered with their ministries of education, and must meet the curriculum and other standards set by their respective ministries; however, they may operate differently.

In Ontario, for example, private schools operate independently without any oversight by the Ministry of Education. However, if a private school wishes to offer credits toward a secondary school graduation diploma they are inspected to determine whether the standard of instruction in credit courses meets ministry requirements.


Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS)

Public elementary and secondary schools

Many Canadian public schools are now accepting international students into their programs. Publicly-funded schools are managed at the local level by elected school boards.

Almost all public schools are co-educational and offer day programs only. Many school boards offer secular or non-religious education while others have religious affiliations. However, this varies from province to province.

Policies on accepting international students and the fees charged vary from district to district.


Canadian Association of Public Schools - International (CAPS-I)

Education au/in Canada