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Report of the Pan-Canadian Education Indicators Program 2005 Catalogue number About the Pan-Canadian Educational Indicators Program Highlights Figures and tables Full publication in PDF format Previous issues


A Portrait of the School-Age Population
Financing Education Systems
Elementary-Secondary Education
Postsecondary Education
Transitions and Outcomes

Chapter A: Portrait of the School-Age Population

Population size

  • The population aged 5 to 13 is projected to decrease by about half a million between 2001 and 2011 to about 3.2 million.
  • The population aged 14 to 18 is projected to peak in 2008 at 2.2 million.
  • The 19 to 24 population is expected to peak in size in 2014 at about
    2.7 million.
  • The 25 to 29 population will increase slightly over the next few years, to 2.3 million.

Cultural diversity

  • Diversity among the school-age population generally increased between 1991 and 2001.
  • In Toronto and Vancouver, over 25% of the school-age population in 2001 were immigrants and approximately 20% had a home language other than English or French.
  • The proportion of the school-age population with Aboriginal identity is significant and growing in Canada’s Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) and in areas outside the CMA’s in certain provinces and territories.

Low income

  • In 2000, 7% of all children living with two parents were in low-income situations. Among children living in lone-parent families, the proportion was 25%.
  • For those children living with one parent in 1996, over half experienced a spell of low income at some time between 1996 and 2000; for 38%, the spell lasted more than a year.

Chapter B: Financing Education Systems

Total expenditure on education

  • Between 1997-1998 and 2001-2002, total education expenditure in Canada rose by 9% in 2001 constant dollars to $70.8 billion, with most of the increase occurring at the postsecondary level.
  • In 2001-2002, an average of $2,277 per person was spent on education in Canada.
  • Total public and private expenditure on education decreased from 6.4% of GDP in 1999-2000 to an estimated 6.1% in 2001-2002.
  • Compared to the OECD average and G-7 countries in 2001, Canada ranked second in total expenditure in relation to GDP.

Public and private expenditure on education

  • Between 1997-1998 and 2001-2002, combined federal, provincial/territorial and municipal government expenditure on education grew by 10% at the postsecondary level; expenditure at the elementary-secondary level increased by 3%.
  • Between 2000 and 2002, the proportion of government spending on health increased by 2 percentage points, while the proportion spent on education declined by 0.3 percentage points.
  • In 2001-2002, private expenditures had risen to $10.7 billion, a 19% increase since 1997-1998, almost four times the increase in public expenditures. Of this amount, $3.3 billion was spent at the elementary-secondary level and $7.4 billion at the postsecondary level.
  • In 2003, 45% of Canadian households incurred educational expenses for such items as textbooks, school supplies and tuition costs, spending an average of $2,263.
  • Undergraduate university tuition fees increased over the period 1994-1995 to 2004-2005 (in constant 2001 dollars) from an average of $2,535 to $3,863 across Canada. The share of total university revenues accounted for by student tuition and other non-government revenues increased.

Student debt

  • The 2000 university graduates who borrowed from government student loan programs owed an average of $18,900 at graduation, 29% more than 1995 university graduates. College graduates of 2000 owed an average of $12,500, 19% more than 1995 college graduates.
  • College and university students who graduated in 2000 who borrowed from government student loan programs had more debt two years after graduation than their 1995 counterparts.

Chapter C: Elementary-secondary education

Home to school transitions: Early childhood development and learning

  • Canadian parents reported in 2001-2002 that the physical health of 4- and 5-year-old children was generally very good.
  • More 4- and 5-year-old girls than boys looked at books or tried to read on their own daily.
  • Approximately 60% of 4- and 5-year-olds had an adult who read to them every day.
  • In 2000-2001, the vast majority of 4- and 5-year-olds had normal or advanced receptive language skills

Elementary-secondary school participation

  • Between the school years 1997-1998 and 2002-2003, enrolment in public elementary and secondary schools increased in only two provinces, Ontario and Alberta.
  • There were just under 311,000 educators country-wide in 2002-2003, slightly more than five years earlier.
  • Between 1997-1998 and 2002-2003, the number of educators increased more – or decreased less – than enrolments in every jurisdiction, except for Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta, British Columbia and Yukon.

Information and communications technologies (ICT) in schools

  • Less than 1% of the elementary and secondary schools in Canada were without computers in the 2003-2004 school year.
  • Nine out of ten computers were connected to the Internet and available to students.
  • Although most principals reported that most teachers in their schools possessed the technical skills required to use computers for administrative purpose, less than half of principals reported that more than 75% of teachers had the technical skills necessary for engaging students in using ICT effectively.
  • Financing the purchase of computers and related electronic equipment was a major concern for most principals.

Student achievement

  • In terms of mathematics literacy, Canada’s performance on OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) was strong, with only two countries, Hong Kong and Finland, performing significantly better than Canada.
  • Across Canada, 71% of 13-year-olds and 64% of 16-year-olds reached the expected levels on the 2004 science assessment of the School Achievement Indicators Program (SAIP).
  •   In the SAIP writing assessment, in 2002, 84% of 13-year-olds and 61% of 16-year-olds reached the expected levels.
  • With a few exceptions, the performance of boys on the SAIP writing assessment was below that of girls at both ages and in all jurisdictions. In science, there were few significant differences between boys and girls at all achievement levels.

Secondary school graduation

  • The pan-Canadian high school graduation rate in 2001 was 75%.
  • In 2002-2003, as in 1997-1998, graduation rates were higher for females (78%) than for males (70%).

Chapter D: Postsecondary education

Enrolment in postsecondary education

  • In 2002, there were 234,500 registered apprentices in Canada, 30% more than in 1992.
  • Between 1992 and 2002, the proportion of women among registered apprentices in all trades increased from 5% to 9%.
  • Between 1992-1993 and 2001-2002, full-time enrolment at Canadian universities increased by 12%, while part-time enrolment was down 21%.
  • Women are now in the majority in full-time undergraduate studies and their enrolment at the graduate level is almost equal to that of men. Men’s share of undergraduate enrolment decreased from 47% to 42% over the 1990s.

Adult education and training

  • In 2002, 4.8 million adult workers participated in formal, job-related training.
  • In 2002, the rate of participation in formal, job-related training was highest among young workers and decreased with age.
  • The lowest rate of participation (18%) occurred among workers with the least education (secondary school graduation or less).
  • About one-quarter of working adults reported that there was job-related training that they wanted or needed to take in 2002 but did not.

Human resources

  • The number of full-time university educators in 2002-2003 was down by about 3% from ten years earlier, while full-time enrolment increased 12%.
  • In Canada, the median age of full-time university educators in 2002-2003 was 49.
  • In 2002-2003, 35% of university faculty were aged 50 to 59, compared to 23% of the overall labour force.
  • Women accounted for 30% of full-time university educators by 2002-2003, up from 21% ten years earlier.
  • Between 1992-1993 and 2002-2003, average salaries of university faculty increased 20% (measured in constant 2001 dollars).

Research and development

  • In 2002, Canada conducted $21.9 billion worth of research and development (R&D) (in constant 2001 dollars).
  • In 2002, universities accounted for one-third of all R&D in Canada, second to the business sector, which accounted for more than half of all R&D.
  • By 2002, R&D in the university sector had risen to $7.3 billion annually.

Postsecondary completions and graduation rates

  • The apprenticeship branches of provincial and territorial governments reported 16,500 individuals completing registered apprenticeship programs in 2002, down 12% from 1992.
  • The graduation rate for bachelor‘s and first professional degree programs was 31% in 2001.
  • Graduation rates were higher for females than males in all of the broad disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Graduation rates for males remained higher in the physical, natural and applied sciences, though the gap narrowed between 1992 and 2001.
  • Between 1992 and 2001, the number of male university graduates decreased slightly by 1%, whereas the number of women graduates increased by 10%. In 2001, women accounted for almost 60% of graduates.
  • In 2001, social and behavioural sciences and law was the field of study with the most graduates in Canada, followed closely by business, management and public administration, then education.

Educational attainment of the population
aged 25 to 64

  • In 2001, no other OECD nation had a higher proportion of its population aged 25 to 64 with either a college or university credential than Canada. However, in terms of the population with a university degree, Canada ranked fifth overall.

Chapter E: Transitions and outcomes

Transitions to postsecondary education and the labour market

  • In 2003-2004, just over half of all students aged 17 and older were working while they attended school.

Labour market outcomes

  • In 2004, the unemployment rate for 25- to 29-year-olds with less than high school stood at 15% compared to 7% for university graduates.
  • In 2000, mean earnings (before taxes) were 77% higher for university graduates and 15% higher for college or trade graduates than for individuals with high school diplomas.


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Date modified: 2006-12-01 Important Notices