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Nearly 314,000 people graduated from public secondary schools in the academic year 2005/2006. The number of graduates is up 3% from 1999/2000. However, variations in the number of graduates were observed over this period in several provinces and territories.

The increase in the number of graduates due to the elimination of Grade 13 (OAC) in 2002/2003 in Ontario appears to have dropped back down to normal levels in 2005/2006. Compared to 2000/2001, the number of graduates shot up 7.9% in Ontario in 2001/2002, one year before the double cohort occurred. This early increase could be a result of students that were on the verge of graduating deciding to take extra credits to graduate early, in order to start their post-secondary education before the anticipated rush brought on by the elimination of Grade 13 the following year. In 2002/2003, the year the double cohort occurred, the number of graduates spiked 23.9% compared to 2000/2001. In 2004/2005, two years after the occurrence of the double cohort, the number of graduates was still above the norm, with the number of graduates up 8.0% over 2000/2001. This may be due to some students deciding to stay longer in school to avoid the rush and to increase their marks to better compete when entering at the post secondary level. In 2005/2006, the number of graduates decreased back down to 2.2% over 2000/2001 levels, two years before the double cohort occurred.

A total of 32,400 people graduated in Alberta in 2005/2006, up 14.2% from 1999/2000. Notable increases in the number of graduates also occurred in the Northwest Territories (43.7%), Nunavut (36.6%) and the Yukon (24.4%).

Chart 2
Percentage change in the number of graduates between 1999/2000 and 2005/2006, Canada, provinces and territories

In contrast, the largest declines in the number of graduates over the 1999/2000 to 2005/2006 period occurred in Newfoundland and Labrador (19.4%) and New Brunswick (6.9%) (Chart 2 and Table A.7). The decline in Newfoundland and Labrador was due in large part to a drop in school enrolment, the result of out-migration to other provinces or territories (Chart 1 and Table A.1). A portion of this decline is likely due to the introduction of provincial examinations in 2000/2001.