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Education Indicators in Canada: An International Perspective

This report, Education Indicators in Canada: An International Perspective, 2010, is the second in a series that places certain aspects of the educational systems in Canada’s provinces and territories into an international context. A series of indicators that have been developed to align with the definitions and methodologies used by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) are presented. This year’s set of internationally comparable indicators, which offers the latest available statistical information for several key themes, are organized by chapter:

Chapter A, The output of educational institutions and the impact of learning, profiles educational attainment among the adult population. It also presents information on graduation rates at the upper secondary and tertiary (college and university) levels. Relationships between educational attainment and labour force status are also explored. The section concludes by looking at the economic benefits of education; specifically, relative earnings of workers by educational attainment.

Chapter B, Financial resources invested in education, focuses on expenditure on education. Information on education expenditure as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) is presented, which reflects spending on education relative to a country’s (or province’s or territory’s) overall amount of resources. Then the proportions of current and capital expenditures are outlined.

Chapter C, Access to education, participation and progression, explores the extent of international student mobility, as well as aspects of transitions from education to the labour force and participation in adult learning.

International indicators

Canada has participated in the OECD’s Indicators of Educational Systems (INES)programme since the project’s inception in 1988. INES includes a set of indicators that allow comparisons of the education systems of its member countries. The OECD publishes the results annually in Education at a Glance.

Education Indicators in Canada: An International Perspectivewas developed to expand upon Canada’s participation in INES and to broaden the Canadian statistical picture by providing comparable statistics for Canada’s provincial/territorial systems of education. It is a product of the Pan-Canadian Education Indicators Program (PCEIP), and is considered a companion report to the OECD’s Education at a Glance, which presents complete data for all OECD member countries, including Canada.1

The harmonized indicators presented in this 2010 edition align with a selection of indicators from the OECD’s 2010 edition of Education at a Glance,and they were selected based on their importance for the jurisdictions and the availability of data for Canada and its provinces and territories. The definitions and methodologies agreed upon in developing the harmonized indicators were used to produce the data for Canada and the provinces/territories, and those definitions and methodologies may differ from those used in a particular province/territory. Consequently, the numbers presented in this report may differ from those published independently by the provinces/territories. Virtually all data for Canada and its provinces and territories are presented along with the most recent OECD averages.

About the Pan-Canadian Education Indicators Program

The Pan-Canadian Education Indicators Program (PCEIP) is an ongoing initiative of the Canadian Education Statistics Council: a partnership between Statistics Canada and the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada.

In the Victoria Declaration of 1993, the provincial and territorial ministers responsible for education and training agreed to create a program of pan-Canadian education indicators. PCEIP’s mission is to publish a set of statistical measures on education systems in Canada for policy makers, practitioners and the general public to monitor the performance of education systems across jurisdictions and over time.

The first indicators published under the PCEIP banner appeared in 1996. In 1999, the first PCEIP report, based on a new set of indicators, was published, followed by reports in 2003, 2005, and 2007. Beginning in 2009, the traditional PCEIP publications evolved into a new line of electronic products. The PCEIP product line includes regular updates of tables for Canadian education indicators, fact sheets related to these indicators, and this relatively new international report.

More information about PCEIP is available on the Statistics Canada Web site at and the Web site of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada at


  1. The 2010 version of Education at a Glance, which presents the latest statistics for the individual OECD member countries,is available free on the OECD’s Web site: