Just the Facts
A portrait of the school-age population and measures of student achievement

Release date: September 18, 2019

The most recent Census data show that 11% of the school age population (5- to 24-year-olds) are immigrants; ranging from 1% in Nunavut to 14% in Manitoba. Western and central Canada posted the highest concentration of immigrants, with the top percentages in Manitoba (14%), Ontario (13%), Alberta (13%) and British Columbia (13%).

The percentage of the school age population belonging to a visible minority group was 27% in 2016, with this proportion being higher in Ontario (35%) and British Columbia (37%).

Across Canada, 4.5% of the school age population identified as First Nations, 2.2% identified as Métis and 0.3% identified as Inuk. The highest percentage of the school age population who identified as First Nations, Métis or Inuk was in Nunavut (95%), with the vast majority identifying as Inuk (94%).

Chart 1 School-age population with Aboriginal Identity, Canada, provinces and territories, 2016

Data table for Chart 1 
Data table for chart 1
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for chart 1 First Nations (North American Indian) , Métis and Inuk(Inuit), calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
First Nations (North American Indian) Métis Inuk(Inuit)
percent
Canada 4 2 0
Newfoundland and Labrador 8 2 2
Prince Edward Island 2 1 0
Nova Scotia 5 3 0
New Brunswick 4 1 0
Quebec 2 1 0
Ontario 3 1 0
Manitoba 17 9 0
Saskatchewan 18 7 0
Alberta 5 4 0
British Columbia 6 3 0
Yukon 26 4 2
Northwest Territories 40 9 13
Nunavut 0 0 94

Across all age groups, most of the school age population lived with their parents (87%) in 2016. Whether in a two-parent family or a lone-parent family, most parents were working full time. This was also true for the First Nations, Métis and Inuk school age population. Most children in this population were living with their parents (82%) and most parents were working full time.

Performance of the school age population

The most recent Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) data (2015) showed that for 15-year-old students in Canada, science scores were most comparable between females and males (527 and 528). However, females outperformed males in reading (540 compared to 514) and males outperformed females in math (520 compared to 511).

Across all three assessments, the lowest score was in Saskatchewan in mathematics (484). The highest score was also observed for mathematics in Quebec with a score of 544.  While the range of scores was wider in mathematics, in most of the provinces the mathematics scores observed were below the Canadian average. Only in Quebec (544) and British Columbia (522) the scores observed were higher than the Canadian average (516).

Chart 2 PISA mathematics assessment scores, Canada and provinces, 2015

Data table for Chart 2 
Data table for chart 2
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for chart 2 average score (appearing as column headers).
Average score
Canada 516
Newfoundland and Labrador 486
Prince Edward Island 499
Nova Scotia 497
New Brunswick 493
Quebec 544
Ontario 509
Manitoba 489
Saskatchewan 484
Alberta 511
British Columbia 522

The most recent Pan-Canadian Assessment Program (PCAP) data showed scores in math, science and reading differed between the Anglophone and Francophone school systems. Math assessment scores were higher in Francophone school systems than was the case in Anglophone systems while the opposite was true for reading assessment scores.

Chart 3 PCAP math, science and reading assessment scores for Anglophone, Francophone and Total school systems, Canada, 2016

Data table for Chart 3 
Data table for chart 3
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for chart 3 Total, Anglophone school system and Francophone school system, calculated using average score units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Total Anglophone school system Francophone school system
average score
Math 511 502 540
Science 508 508 506
Reading 507 509 500
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