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Education Indicators in Canada: An International Perspective

This report, Education Indicators in Canada: An International Perspective, 2012, is the fourth in a series that reports on certain aspects of the educational systems in Canada's provinces and territories in 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) is presented. This year's set of internationally comparable indicators, which offer the latest available statistical information for several key themes, is 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 level and on relationships between educational attainment and labour market outcomes.

Chapter B, Financial resources invested in education , focuses on expenditure on education. This information is presented both in terms of expenditure per student and expenditure in relation to the overall amount of resources in a country (or province or territory) as measured by GDP. The proportions of current and capital expenditures are also outlined.

Chapter C, Access to education, participation and progression , explores the extent of international student enrolment in college and university programs in Canada and its provinces and territories, and how this has changed over time.  Several aspects of the transition from education to the labour force are examined, including the extent to which young adults are neither employed nor in education.  

Chapter D, The learning environment and organization of schools, reports on the amount of time students must, in principle, spend in class as established by public regulations. It also presents information on key aspects of working environments for elementary and secondary school teachers: teaching time (as determined by policy) in the context of total working time, and salary.

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 Perspective was 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.Note 1

The harmonized indicators presented in this 2012 edition align with a selection of indicators from the OECD's 2012 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. 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. In 2009, the traditional PCEIP publications evolved into a new line of electronic products: regular updates of tables for Canadian education indicators; fact sheets related to these indicators; a handbook that explains the sources of data and methodologies for these indicators; and this international report.

More information about PCEIP, including the full line of products, is available on the Statistics Canada Web site and the Web site of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada.


  1. The 2012 version of Education at a Glance, which presents the latest statistics for the individual OECD member countries,is available free on the OECD Web site.
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