What is CMEC?

The Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) is an intergovernmental body founded in 1967 by ministers of education to serve as:

  • a forum to discuss policy issues;
  • a mechanism through which to undertake activities, projects, and initiatives in areas of mutual interest;
  • a means by which to consult and cooperate with national education organizations and the federal government; and
  • an instrument to represent the education interests of the provinces and territories internationally.

CMEC provides leadership in education at the pan-Canadian and international levels and contributes to the exercise of the exclusive jurisdiction of provinces and territories over education.

CMEC is governed by an Agreed Memorandum approved by all members. A Chair is elected every two years based on rotation among the provinces. The current Chair is the Honourable Todd Smith, Minister of Education, Ontario. All 13 provinces and territories are members.

CMEC celebrated its 50th year in 2017. Our timeline provides an overview of CMEC’s milestones since 1967.

What does CMEC do?

Ministers of education work through CMEC on a wide variety of activities, projects, and initiatives. For example, CMEC

  • represents provinces and territories on education-related international bodies and participates in their activities;
  • contributes to the fulfilment of Canada's international treaty obligations;
  • provides a national clearing house and referral service to support the recognition and portability of educational and occupational qualifications;
  • assesses the skills and competencies of Canadian students;
  • develops and reports on education indicators;
  • sponsors research in education-related statistics;
  • administers Canada's national official-languages programs; and
  • consults and acts on a variety of issues in early childhood learning and development; elementary-secondary education; postsecondary education; and adult learning and skills development.

The CMEC Strategic Plan, 2023-27, outlines priorities which include Indigenous education, global competencies, and postsecondary education sustainability.

What is the CMEC Secretariat?

The CMEC Secretariat was created the same year as CMEC itself to support the work of the intergovernmental body. Located in Toronto, the Secretariat is headed by an Executive Director, who is appointed by members of CMEC. Chantale LeClerc is the current Executive Director.

Services provided to ministers by the Secretariat include

  • coordination of meetings of ministers, deputy ministers, and provincial/territorial officials;
  • coordination and administration of all aspects of CMEC activities, projects, and initiatives;
  • policy research and support, as directed by ministers;
  • hosting of provincial/territorial electronic discussion forums;
  • hosting and maintenance of CMEC Web sites;
  • translation and revision of over a million words of text each year;
  • English and French simultaneous interpretation at meetings and events;
  • liaison with various stakeholders including education-related NGOs and the general public; and
  • media and public relations.

We're located in mid-town Toronto:

95 St. Clair Ave. West, Suite 1106
Toronto, Ontario M4V 1N6
Telephone: 416.962.8100
Fax: 416.962.2800