In Canada, there is no federal department of education and no integrated national system of education. Exclusive legislative responsibility for education is granted to the provinces in Canada’s Constitution Act, 1867. As stipulated in the federal laws that created the three territories — Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and Yukon — each territory has comparable responsibility for education.

In the 13 jurisdictions, departments or ministries of education are responsible for the organization, delivery, and assessment of education at the elementary and secondary levels. Each province and territory has established legislation, policies, programs, curricula, and practices for an elementary and secondary education system that best reflects the history, culture, and learning needs of its population. The comprehensive, diversified, and widely accessible nature of the education systems in Canada reflects the societal belief in the importance of education.

In Canada, there were 4,706,025 enrolments in public elementary and secondary schools in 2013-14. And while the ages for compulsory schooling may vary from one jurisdiction to another, in most jurisdictions, children enter elementary school at age 5 and graduate secondary education at age 18.

The ministers responsible for education in the provinces and territories come together as CMEC to discuss or take action on matters of mutual interest. Ministers also define Canada’s priorities for elementary and secondary education with a view to ensuring that all children in our elementary- to high-school systems can access learning opportunities that are inclusive and that provide them with world-class skills in literacy, numeracy, and science (Learn Canada 2020).