1. Terminology

2. Typology of provision

2.1 State education provision 

2.2 Non-state education provision 

2.3 Other types of schools 

3. Governance and regulations

3.1 Regulations by distinct levels of education

3.2 Supplementary private tutoring 


  1. Terminology

In Canada, education is under the exclusive jurisdiction of the 13 provinces and territories. The provinces and territories are responsible for the overall organization, delivery and assessment of all levels of education. As such,ministries and departments of education in each province and territory have established their own definitions of non-state actors and private education and have their own Education Acts. In this regard, the line between state and non-state (or public and private) varies across the jurisdictions. The terms “private” or “independent” schools are generally widely used and the term “non-state” was not found in the main provincial and territorial regulations.


  1. Typology of provision

2.1 State education provision

State schools

State schools comprise compulsory education (6 to 16 years old) and include primary (on average from 6 to 11 years old) and secondary schooling (from 12 to 17 years old), although this varies from one province/territory to another. In some provinces/territories, compulsory schooling starts at 5 years old, and in others, it extends to 18 years old or to graduation from secondary school. The vast majority of students in Canada (95% in 2020) attend state schools; however, the share enrolled in government schools is in decline.

Public schools are tuition-free and may provide school choice options. For instance, some public schools propose heritage language programmes and specialized programmes for students with special needs. There are also Catholic separate state schools (in Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan), minority official language state schools in all provinces/territories, immersion state schools (e.g., language immersion schools, Heritage Language Schools (as is in Alberta) and alternative state schools operated by public boards. Some school districts also give parents the option of choosing a public school other than the one assigned to their child.

Public funding for education comes from the provincial or territorial government or a combination of provincial transfers and local taxes collected by the local government or by the boards with taxing powers. First Nation schools are funded by the federal government.

Non-state managed, state schools

Autonomous public charter schools and charter school campuses are all located in Alberta (1.4% of students in Alberta were enrolled in charter schools in the 2020/21 school year. In 2021, Alberta had 15 charter schools in 26 school buildings, mostly located in Calgary and Edmonton. They are publicly funded and tuition-free and may use non-traditional pedagogy or curriculum. They cannot have a religious affiliation, charge tuition, or operate on a for-profit basis. A charter school may use all or part of an existing school, a private or public facility, or any other suitable location.

Non-state funded, state schools

Education is “free” for all students in the Canadian public school system (preschool to secondary education), but parents might have to pay student fees per term for extra-curricular classes, agendas, or field trips.

In Québec, the government passed Bill 12 in 2019, which aims to clarify the scope of the right to free education and to allow for the regulation of certain financial contributions from parents in the public sector (National Assembly of Québec, 2020). This Bill thus applies in part to the students who attend public schools at the general education level and more specifically to the 20% or more of them who attend selective public schools that offer special projects (Conseil supérieur de l’éducation du Québec, 2007)

2.2 Non-state education provision

Independent, non-state schools

Private/independent schools encompass primary and secondary schools that are “operated, managed and administered by private individuals and/or groups (for example, a church, a trade union or a business enterprise, or a foreign or international agency) or that have a governing board that exercises powers similar to those of a board of education and consists mostly of members not selected by a public agency”. In 2018/19, 7.5% of students attended private/independent schools in Canada. British Columbia (13.1%) and Quebec (11.6%) had the highest proportion of their students attending these schools. In 2019/2020, 7.6% of students in Canada attended private/independent schools.

Of these, a third attended independent schools in Québec (33.4%), almost a third in Ontario (31.4%), a fifth (20.4%) in British Columbia, and 6% in Alberta. In 2019/20, 13.1% of students in British Columbia from Kindergarden to Grade 12 enrolled in Independent schools. In 2019/20, 6.9% of students in Ontario from Kindergarden to Grade 12 enrolled in Independent schools. Approximately two-fifths of all independent schools were elementary-only (44.3%), two-fifths (37.3%) secondary-only, and a fifth (18.4%) combined elementary and secondary grades. In some jurisdictions, independent schools do not have to follow closely the curriculum requirements of the ministries and departments of education. In British Colombia in 2021/22, all but 25 of 371 independent schools are required to follow all curriculum requirements, i.e., 93% of independent schools in the provice are required to follow the curriculum and are inspected on this at least every second year.

Almost half of the independent schools in Canada have a religious orientation (Bahá’í Faith, Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish and Sikh) and offer full academic curricula that adhere to provincial standards, but also religious instruction. Within these faith-based schools, there are single-sex as well as co-ed schools.

A third (30%) of independent schools are classified as speciality schools. These schools adopt distinct approaches to teaching and learning (e.g., Montessori, Waldorf and Reggio Emilia schools), or specialize in meeting unique needs, including programmes for children with special needs and schools for students with remedial or behavioural requirements, which include therapeutic programmes or military boarding schools. In addition, these schools also specialise in specific interests like arts education and sports development, but also offer full academic curricula.

Fewer in number, heritage language schools (in Alberta) offer language and cultural programmes for students in kindergarten to grade 12 and do not receive funding from the state. In Alberta, approved heritage language accredited funded private schools are eligible to receive credit funding for high school language courses that are completed but are not eligible for any other funding provided by Alberta Education to accredited funded private schools. If funding is received from Alberta Education, it is through the Credit Enrolment Unit (CEU) funding system for provincially authorized or Locally Developed/Authorized high school courses, if Credit Enrolment Unit accountability requirements are met.

Independent schools can also be regrouped under « Education Groups », which can operate schools in more than one province. They must comply with provincial education laws. Some groups are also American; for instance, the one owning the Everest Colleges in Ontario.

Established in 1981, the Canadian Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) was a national network for member schools supporting collaborative initiatives in leadership, education, management and governance. It encompasses 91 accredited independent schools (4.7%). The Canadian Association of Independent Schools merged with the Canadian Education Standards Institute in 2010 to form the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools.

Finally, “low-fee private schools” have not been explicitly identified in the country or in official government sources.

State-funded (government-aided), non-state schools

Around 40% of independent schools in Canada receive government funding. Five provinces offer partial government funding for independent schools (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Québec, and Saskatchewan), and no funding is provided in Ontario and the Atlantic provinces (New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island), although these schools still may be regulated. The five provinces that offer funding include, for instance, grants (Alberta), subsidies for education services according to the nature of the educational services or categories of students (Québec) and funding for expenditures related to operations (e.g., salaries, learning resources) (Manitoba). For more information, see the subsections “Taxes and subsidies”.

Faith-based non-state schools are partially funded in some provinces. In this regard, Alberta and Québec provide partial public funding to private religious schools that deliver the provincial curricula. In Alberta, accredited funded independent schools are entitled to partial provincial funding. These schools receive 60% (level 1) or 70% (level 2) of applicable grants. In Manitoba, 50% of funding is provided to faith-based schools for their operating costs if they meet provincial standards. In contrast, Saskatchewan provides full public funding to historical private schools associated with school districts and partial funding to other faith-based schools. Alberta and Ontario are the exceptions and provide full public funding for Roman Catholic public schools, but none for other denominational schools. Finally, other provinces provide no public funding to faith-based schools, including New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories.

Contracted, non-state schools

No information was found.


2.3 Other types of schools


Homeschooling is legal in Canada. With the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been increased focus on home-schooling and distance learning. Very few Canadian students (0.7%) were home-schooled in 2018/19. All provinces showed an increase in the share of students enrolled as homeschooled since the year 2006/07. Overall, six out of ten provinces (British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Prince Edward Island) more than doubled their share of homeschool enrolment from 2006-07 to 2018-19. Only Alberta and Saskatchewan provide some funding to support the educational activities of home-schooling families. In Alberta, supervised by school authority (funded), a home education programme supervised by a willing public, separate or francophone school board or accredited funded private school, is eligible for funding from Alberta Education.

In Alberta, home education is a parent-directed approach to educating a student in Grades 1 to 12 at home or elsewhere, in which they are responsible for making all education decisions. Parents choose curriculum resources and methodology consistent with their family’s beliefs and consistent with the Home Education Regulation. In British Columbia, homeschoolers must be registered with a school, each school year. Schools must offer educational resources and access to assessments, but parents have no obligation to make use of them, and parents remain entirely responsible for the delivery of the homeschooled education program. In Ontario, the state provides no support or supervision of families who choose to home school; parents need only to notify the local school board to home school. Section 21(2)(a) of the Education Act states that a person is excused from school attendance if the person is receiving “satisfactory instruction at home or elsewhere.” Satisfactory instruction is not defined in the law, and the Education Act makes no mention of any board approval process, only of a process to follow when there is a dispute, between parents and the school attendance counsellor, about the applicability of section 21(2). The homeschooling policy, PPM131 (not a law nor a regulation, just a policy) directs school boards to accept a parent’s Letter of Intent to Homeschool as sufficient evidence that they are providing satisfactory instruction at home. PPM 131 Home Schooling does provide procedures for school boards, including how to conduct an investigation into unsatisfactory home schooling and when to refer to the Provincial School Attendance Counsellor.

Parents submit a detailed programme in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Québec and Prince Edward Island. Programme monitoring by the registering school board or school is required in these provinces except in Manitoba and Prince Edward Island and programme inspection or certification are required in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Québec, and Nova Scotia. In addition, parents provide evidence of examination or assessments in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Québec and Nova Scotia.

Market contracted (Voucher schools)

No information was found.

Unregistered/Unrecognised schools

No information was found.

Community schools

Some provinces have community schools, which address the needs of all age groups through multi-ministry funding and non-profit partnerships. In the Burnaby school district in British Columbia, for instance, there are seven elementary community schools and one secondary community school. In New Brunswick, there were 69 community schools in 2010; UNESCO has adopted New Brunswick’s community school model, which improves the quality of education in rural and urban communities by transforming schools into true centres of learning for the entire community, as a model for their network of international schools around the world. In Québec, the Community Learning Centres (CLC) initiative aims to assist traditional English schools to become community schools that combine education with other resources such as health and social services. To date, a total of 36 CLCs have been created. In Manitoba, the Community Schools Act facilitates the implementation of the community school philosophy and model. A CSP program report, as required by legislation, is due every four years. Community Schools Program. In Ontario, the Community Schools Alliance aims to ensure that the input of students, parents and communities is respected and valued.


  1. Governance and regulations

There is no ministry or department of education at the federal level. Ministries or Departments of Education in the 13 provinces and territories are in charge of organisation, delivery, and assessment of education at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels, and often early childhood education. Within these ministries or departments, units generally monitor and support non-state schools; which is the case for instance in Manitoba with the Independent and International Education Unit (IIEU) and in Québec with the Private Education Directorate, both within the Department of Education.

The Government of Canada retains jurisdiction and funds elementary and secondary education for First Nations students ordinarily resident on reserve. The federal government also provides substantial investments in education and training, cost-shared with the provinces and territories, including indirect funding through transfer payments to the provinces and territories (the Canada Social Transfer). Additional federal investments in post-secondary education (PSE) include tax credits for students, as well as research and development expenditures. To improve access to PSE, the Government of Canada also plays a key role in providing student financial assistance, education savings incentives, and supports for youth. Further, it provides support to enable access to publicly funded education, in either minority language, in the official language minority communities. At the level of early learning and child care, the federal government plays an important role by investing to build a Canada-wide early learning and child care system, and establishing national frameworks by collaborating with provincial, territorial, and Indigenous partners.

There is no federal, provincial or territorial agency or department on religious affairs. The Office of Religious Freedom, an agency of Global Affairs Canada established by the Government of Canada in 2013 and closed in 2016, aimed to protect freedom of religion internationally and promote Canadian values of pluralism and tolerance abroad. It was not directly involved in non-state education.

Local governance is generally assigned to school boards, districts, divisions or district education councils that are responsible for the operation and administration (including financial) of groups of schools within their board or division. .

Vision: The main regulations in education, which cover non-state actors, are included in Table 1 at the end of this profile. The legislation regarding private educational institutions varies considerably from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.


3.1 Regulations by distinct levels of education

Provincial and territorial governments have primary responsibility for the design and delivery of early childhood care and education (ECCE) programs and services in Canada. The Government of Canada provides support to Canada’s 13 provinces and territories in the provision of regulated ECCE programs and services for children under age 6. 

Early childhood education takes a variety of forms. Every jurisdiction provides kindergarten programmes (mandatory or voluntary) and early learning and child care programmes for children under age 6. The majority of jurisdictions (8) provide full-day kindergarten for all five-year-olds.

Child care coverage in Canada is also uneven between jurisdictions, with overall coverage ranging from 16.6% in Saskatchewan to 41.9% of 0 to 5 year olds in Quebec in licensed centres (not official government coverage rate calculations, taken from ChildCare Canada). Provision of ECCE differs across jurisdictions, through a mix of public, private for-profit, private not-for-profit, centre-based, home-based, regulated and unregulated programmes and services.


Registration and approval: All the jurisdictions describe the licensing requirements and the documents required for licence application. For instance, in Manitoba, the Early Learning and Child Care Programme, under the 1986 Community Child Care Standards Act (Part A, Article 5), which prescribes the terms and requirements for licensing under the Child Care Regulation 62/86, licences and monitors childcare centres, nursery schools, and group/family childcare homes. In New Brunswick, the 2018 Early Childhood Services Act stipulates that an application for a licence must include an operational plan that describes the services that will be provided and the measures that will be taken to implement those services, weekly menus, a criminal record check, a comprehensive business plan. In Newfoundland and Labrador, applicants must apply in writing to a manager for a licence under the 2014 Child Care Act in the form prescribed by the minister. In the Northwest Territories, different documents must be included such as a written statement of the child daycare programme goals and objectives, a copy of the floor plan of the child daycare facility and a report from a public health officer. In Nunavut, institutions must have a building plan, fill out the application for a Child Care Facility Licence, have the necessary insurance coverage, develop a written policy statement of the programme goals and objectives, have three letters of support, have the necessary equipment, etc. In Ontario, candidates must enrol in the web-based Child Care Licensing System (CCLS).. The CCEYA Licensing Standards Website provides information about the provincial licensing requirements. In Prince Edward Island, the application must include a business plan, a service plan and a letter from the municipality stating the property is correctly zoned for a licenced child care facility. In Québec, providers must be capable of offering a childcare environment that ensures the health, safety and well-being of the children. They must describe their work experience and education, a physician’s certificate attesting to their good physical and mental health (for home-based providers) and a description of the educational programme they propose to apply.

In some jurisdictions such as Alberta, New Brunswick, Ontario and Prince Edward Island, there is a fee to be paid with an application, unlike others such as the Northwest Territories.

Infrastructure standards as criteria for registration vary. In British Columbia, community care facilities must meet minimum physical space requirements under the Community Care and Assisted Living Act and Child Care Licensing Regulation. Applicants must provide a floor plan showing the inside dimensions of each room (must have a minimum of 3.7m2 of usable floor space), the location of toilets, and diaper changing surfaces and the location of the fixed equipment. Similarly, in the Northwest Territories, operators must comply with the 2014 National Building Code. Centre daycare facilities must have a minimum of 2.75 m² of free and usable indoor floor area per child. In Manitoba, every institution must provide a minimum of 3.3 square metres of free and useable indoor floor area per child, which does not include hallways, washrooms, food preparation areas, storage space and space required for equipment. In New Brunswick, the 2018 Early Childhood Services Act describes the conditions for traffic areas, the outdoor walkways, indoor and outdoor play areas, materials and equipment, rest areas, kitchens, washrooms, storage places in registered institutions.

Licence: A licence is required in all jurisdictions to operate a childcare programme, but there are specificities. In Alberta, a licence is required under the 2020 Child Care Licensing Act only if the childcare programme provides care for seven or more children. In Saskatchewan, part-day preschool programmes are exempt from licensing.

Different bodies are responsible for issuing licences. In British Columbia, medical health officers, who are employees of local health authorities, issue licences in compliance with the Community Care and Assisted Living Act and the Child Care Licensing Regulations. In the Northwest Territories, applications for a licence must be submitted to the Director of Child Day Care Services Department of Education, Culture and Employment. In Nova Scotia, Licensing Services performs licensing, inspection and compliance enforcement activities for the Early Learning and Child Care Branch (ELCC), child care facilities and family home child care agencies. In Nunavut, the Department of Education licences community early childhood facilities under the 2011 Child Day Care Act. In Prince Edward Island, the Early Learning and Child Care Board is responsible for licensing of early learning and child care programmes according to the 2019 Early Learning and Child Care Act. In Québec, the Coordinating Office delivers recognitions for three years. In Yukon, applications for licences are made in writing to the Director of Early Learning and Child Care. The director decides on the application within 30 days and issues the licence to the applicant.

Financial operation

Profit-making: In general, profit orientation is not discussed in regulations. In Newfoundland and Labrador, commercial corporations can be licensed. In Nunavut, operators must be not-for-profit corporations to get a licence. About 36% of regulated child care centres are operated on a for-profit basis; the proportion of child care services that are non-profit varies widely by jurisdiction, from 100% in Nunavut, 44% in Nova Scotia and 98% in Saskatchewan to 28.5% in Newfoundland and Labrador. In Ontario, a high proportion of licensed child care centre spaces (63%) are located in publicly funded school buildings; in consequence, the majority of these spaces (79%) are operated by non-profit organizations.

Taxes and subsidies: Governments in most jurisdictions provide operating grants to eligible, licenced, non-profit child care facilities. For instance, in Prince Edward Island, funding is provided to assist family home operators to ensure they have the necessary first aid and food safety courses required to care for children. In Saskatchewan, for-profit services do not receive operating grant funding or fee subsidies, but the Child Care Inclusion Program provides various grants to childcare facilities to include children with “diverse or exceptionally high needs”. British Columbia offers a Child Care Operating Funding program to eligible licensed providers. This funding assists providers with the day-to-day costs of running a licensed child care facility, reduce parent fees, and enhance Early Childhood Educator Wages. In addition, in Nunavut, the Department of Education provides start-up and annual operations funding to non-profit licenced child care facilities and family day homes.

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and learning standards: In 2017, the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Most Responsible for Early Learning and Child Care agreed on a new Multilateral Framework on Early Learning and Child Care. This framework supports a commitment by governments to work towards investments to increase quality, accessibility, affordability, flexibility, and inclusivity in early learning and child care. In September 2018, the Government of Canada, the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Métis National Council jointly released the co-developed Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework. The framework reflects the unique cultures, aspirations and priorities of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children across Canada. It is a guide for all actors in the Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) sphere, complements the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework and includes distinctions-based Frameworks to address unique priorities of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children and families.

The majority of Canadian provinces and territories have their own curriculum frameworks with several years of implementation experience, while a few have either recently piloted draft frameworks, or are in early days of developing them. These early learning curriculum frameworks typically describe broad learning goals or pathways that generally fall into categories of well-being and belonging; play, discovery, and experimentation; language, literacies, communication, and expression; and personal and social responsibilities. Pedagogical practice is also guided by the frameworks, with a focus on play, intentional teaching, reflective practice, creation of indoor and outdoor learning environments, and observation and documentation.

Implementation of provincial and territorial curriculum frameworks is mandatory in several provinces, and linked to provision of public funding or criteria for designation in others. In British Columbia, since 2007, the Child care Licensing Regulation states that institutions must comply with the programme standards to ensure the physical, intellectual, linguistic, emotional and social development of children. British Columbia has also developed the provincial Early Learning Framework, which applies to all learning environments, from StrongStart BC programs and primary classrooms to child care settings, preschools and other early childhood development or child health programs (currently on a voluntary basis). New Brunswick has developed two distinct curriculum frameworks for each linguistic sector: the Early Learning and Child Care Curriculum – English, and the Curriculum éducatif des services de garde francophones du Nouveau-Brunswick. The frameworks support parents and caregivers in creating stimulating learning environments for young children. In Québec, the Ministry of the Family has introduced the Meeting Early Childhood Needs educational program, which covers emotional; physical and motor; social and moral; cognitive and language dimensions. In Saskatchewan, kindergarten must follow the 2010 Ministerial Curriculum Guide. Nova Scotia has developed an Early Learning Curriculum Framework to guide the practice of early childhood educators and pedagogical leaders. It is mandatory in provinically funded licensed child care facilities and Pre-primary Programs.

In contrast, in other jurisdictions, such as Prince Edward Island, institutions can use an alternative programme if the Early Learning and Child Care Board is satisfied that the alternative programme meets the requirements set out by regulation. In Manitoba, a curriculum statement for infants as well as children aged 2 to 6 must be provided in the application process. Similarly, in the Northwest Territories, child daycare facilities must establish a daily programme that includes activities to encourage language and literary development, and to the extent possible, reflects the cultural and ethnic backgrounds of the children.

Teaching profession: The qualification criteria are well defined in regulations. Some provinces are more demanding. In British Columbia, depending on the type of licenced childcare, teachers need one of the following provincial certificates: Infant Toddler Educator, Early Childhood Educator or Early Childhood Educator Assistant. To qualify for and maintain provincial certification, individuals must demonstrate that they have successfully completed provincially recognized post-secondary early childhood education courses/programs (or equivalents) and meet the character, experience and skill requirements outlined in the legislation. In Manitoba, early childhood educators must hold a certificate in early childhood education. In the Northwest Territories, staff must have completed a post-secondary programme in child development.

Other provinces are more flexible in their qualification criteria. In New Brunswick, in early learning and childcare centres, at least 50% of educators must hold a one-year Early Childhood Education Certificate or training that is equivalent. In Québec, in educational childcare facilities, two out of three educators must be qualified. If educators do not hold a college or university diploma in early childhood education, they need to have completed 45 hours of training within the three years preceding the application for recognition. At least 30 of the 45 hours of training must focus on child development and the educational program. In addition, home-based providers must hold a certificate not older than three years attesting the successful completion of a minimum eight-hour general first aid course adapted to early childhood.

In Saskatchewan, there are no ECE requirements for the ongoing education of kindergarten educators. Specific qualifications can also apply. In New Brunswick, educators must hold a valid first-aid certificate. In Nova Scotia, staff that hold a classification are required to complete at least 30 hours of professional development, in every three-year period.
No regulations were found on hiring and firing procedures and few provinces address the issue of teachers' salaries in education laws. New Brunswick implemented recommendations of the Pay Equity Programme - Child Care Sector (2012), which aimed to determine if child care staff in registered daycares were undervalued and to determine if any pay inequity existed, but this has not been reviewed or adjusted in ensuing years.

Equitable access

Fee-setting: Several provinces have set fees for attendance, including Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Québec, and Manitoba. In Manitoba, the government sets maximum fee limits for childcare facilities, but unfunded facilities can set their own fees. The maximum daily fee is set out in Manitoba Regulation 62/86. In New Brunswick, designated facilities must adhere to a Market Fee Threshold policy, which provides a predictable fee grid for families and greater consistency across the province in the management of child care fees. In January 2021, Newfoundland and Labrador introduced a set fee of $25/day for all children regardless of age. As of January 2022, this fee has been reduced to $15/day, for full-day child care. The province continues to provide subsidy for those who need additional support. In British Columbia, maximum fee thresholds are in place for any new program applying for provincial funding under the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative (CCFRI), while established facilities enrolled in the CCFRI must request Ministry approval for any fee increases for children birth to Kindergarten.

In Budget 2021, the Government of Canada proposed new investments totalling close to $30 billion over the next five years to build a Canada-wide early learning and child care system, and combined with previous investments announced since 2015, $9.2 billion every year, permanently for Early Learning and Child Care and Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care. This investment will allow governments to work together towards achieving an average parent fee of $10-a-day by 2025–2026 for all regulated child care spaces, starting with a 50% reduction in average fees for regulated early learning and child care spaces by the end of 2022.

Admission selection and processes: Admission criteria are not well articulated in laws and policies. In Manitoba, admission and discharge policies must be consistent with any provincial regulations and be included in the application for a licence. In Québec, the Government may provide for the admission of students under five years of age specify the conditions for admission.

Policies for vulnerable groups: All jurisdictions offer family supports through full or partial subsidies to assist with the cost of licenced child care for parents who meet financial eligibility criteria based on family income. In British Columbia, the Affordable Child Care Benefit is a monthly payment to help eligible families with the cost of childcare. In Manitoba, the government also provides subsidies for qualifying families to help pay for childcare fees. In New Brunswick, the Designated Centre - Parent Subsidy Program is designed to help families access financially affordable, quality child care at a designated facility by providing free childcare for families with a total annual gross income less than $37,500 and a sliding scale between $37,501 and $80,000 for children 0-5 year, not attending school. The Day Care Assistance Program provides financial support for children 0-5 years in a non-designated facility and school-age children up to age 12. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the Child Care Subsidy Program is designed to assist families with the cost of childcare fees at regulated childcare services. In Nova Scotia, the Child Care Subsidy Program helps eligible families, with children 12 years and under, pay for a portion of child care fees at licenced child care facilities and regulated family home child care agencies. In addition, the Ontario Child Benefit (OCB) helps low-to-moderate income families to provide for the education of their children. Likewise, in Prince Edward Island, the Child Care Subsidy Program assists parents with the cost of child care and daycare services for children up to and including 12 year-olds. Furthermore, in Québec, parents who send their child to a subsidized childcare establishment only pay the basic contribution (indexed annually, $8.70 as of January 2022; US$6.36). In addition, the Government of Québec’s Reduced Contribution Regulation grants underprivileged parents the right to free childcare when their child attends a subsidized childcare services provider. Finally, in Saskatchewan, child care subsidies are available to all families that meet the income requirements. Subsidy rates vary by age of the child, the type of care and by region.

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

Reporting requirements: In the Northwest Territories, an operator must maintain complete and accurate financial records of the child daycare facility in accordance with generally accepted accounting practices. In Yukon, the Director shall establish and maintain a registry of child daycare facilities following the regulations. In Prince Edward Island, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations respecting periodic programme assessment audits to ensure that centres have met the requirements for an Early Years designation and continue to meet those requirements. In Nova Scotia, all provincially funded child care centres are to develop a Quality Improvement Plan (QIP), on an annual basis, as part of the province-wide Quality Matters program.

Inspection: Inspection seems to be widely adopted in all jurisdictions. In Alberta, licensed child care facilities are inspected and monitored (. Similarly, in Manitoba, an inspection report on safety must be provided by family child care homes applying for a license (Community child care standards reg s. 22(1).) This inspection report only applies to Family Child Care Homes. In New Brunswick, all licenced facilities are inspected annually; depending on the facility’s compliance history, monitoring frequency may range from a minimum of one to three additional visits per year. In Nova Scotia, all licensed child care facilities are inspected annually, with additional monitoring inspections, when required. There is no limit placed on the monitoring inspections. In Newfoundland and Labrador, inspections also aim to examine the facilities, premises, processes, books and records of a child care service provider. In Yukon, inspectors can conduct investigations and may with the consent of the occupant in charge of the place, enter any place. Therefore, an inspector who has been refused entry to a place may apply to a justice for a warrant authorizing entry of the place. In British Columbia, a licensee who is being investigated must provide during the investigation a plan to ensure the health and safety of children. In addition, British Columbia can undertake investigations and take action against Provincially Certified educators, in the event a complaint is filed and substantiated. In Nunavut, the State can, at all reasonable times, inspect a child daycare facility including the equipment, the services provided and books or records relating to the operation of the child daycare facility.

Child assessment: Institutions must follow the curriculum (see the section Curriculum and learning standards) and evaluate children against it. In Manitoba, a child with exceptional or additional support needs must be assessed by a qualified professional. In New Brunswick, educators must document, plan, and assess children’s learning through different techniques (p. 64 of the New Brunswick Curriculum Framework for Early Learning and Child Care - English). Laevers’ Ten Action Points for Teachers and the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale, Revised (ECERS- R) are among the tools that can facilitate reflective planning and assessment.

Sanctions: In Yukon, the territory, by written order, can suspend or revoke the licence issued for the programme. In British Columbia, the province can take action to suspend or cancel a licence, or add terms and conditions on the licence, if the holder does not meet the requirements or has engaged or is engaging in conduct that detrimentally affected, or may affect, the health, safety or well being of a child. In Nunavut, every operator who contravenes the Child Day Care Act is guilty of an offence and the territory will suspend or revoke his or her licence.



Registration and approval: The jurisdictions specify the ways of proceeding, which are all different, for the establishment of institutions at this level of education.

All the jurisdictions describe the licensing requirements and the documents required for licence application. In Yukon, the application for registration sent to the Minister must include procedures for achievement testing for the students. In British Columbia, applicants to establish a new independent school must complete an expression of interest, an application for Interim Certification that includes the prospective school’s plans for the educational program as well as plans for maintaining operational sustainability (e.g., financial planning information as well as student and teacher recruitment information), and an external evaluation (i.e., inspection). An interview is also conducted. In Manitoba, applicants must submit a financial plan that considers teacher salaries, expenditures for learning resources, technology, capital costs and administrative costs. Similarly, in the Northwest Territories, a person wishing to operate a private school may demonstrate that the private school will provide a programme of education approved by the Minister and will meet the standards of student achievement.

Infrastructure standards as criteria for registration vary. In Alberta, private providers must prove that the buildings to be used comply with municipal zoning bylaws and provincial public health, safety, fire and building standards. In Manitoba, the space chosen for independent schools must be suitable for teaching and learning and safe; a fire inspection and occupancy permit are also required. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the buildings must also be appropriate for use as a school.

Licence: A licence is required in all jurisdictions to operate a school; for instance, in British Columbia, independent schools must be established and certified under the Independent School Act (PDF). Different bodies are responsible for issuing licences. For instance, in Manitoba, stakeholders interested in starting a funded independent school must submit their application to the Independent Education Unit. In the Northwest Territories, stakeholders apply directly to the Minister in charge of education.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH): Canada adopted the 1986 Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, which include sanitation. In Prince Edward Island, school inspections include public health hazards, sanitation, potable water and food handling.

Financial operation

Profit-making: Regulations vary widely regarding profit-making. In British Columbia, all funded independent schools must be operated only by a non-profit authority, but unfunded independent schools that mostly educate international students may be operated by a for-profit authority. Similarly, in Nova Scotia, the Education Act requires non-profit status for funding, but profit-making is allowed for non-funded schools. However, in Ontario, any person, business or non-profit entity can operate a private school. Similarly, in Québec, for-profit institutions are not excluded from being eligible for accreditation for subsidies.

Taxes and subsidies: In Alberta, the operator of an accredited private school is eligible to receive a grant under the Education Grants Regulation. To be eligible for funding, these schools must be incorporated as a society under the Societies Act or registered as a non-profit company. In Québec, subsidies for education services are provided, under conditions in articles 83-90 of the 2020 Act respecting private education. The budgetary rules vary according to the nature of the educational services or categories of students. In Manitoba, there is a two-year waiting period for obtaining funding from the Department. The Department provides funding for expenditures related to operations (e.g., salaries, learning resources), but not for capital expenditures (e.g., building new facilities, upkeep of existing facilities). The amount that each funded independent school receives is based on the number of eligible pupils enrolled at the school. Funded independent schools also receive curricular materials support, which is set at $60 per eligible pupil. In Ontario, private schools operate as businesses or non-profit organizations independently of the Ministry of Education and in accordance with the legal requirements established by the Education Act. Unlike private schools in other provinces, they do not receive any funding or other financial support from the government. Finally, in other jurisdictions like Yukon, no grants or contributions can be made to a private school by the Minister, the Commissioner in Executive Council, a School Board or a Council.

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and learning standards: There are significant differences in curriculum among the jurisdictions, which express the geography, history, language, culture, and specialized needs of each province or territory. In general, private or independent schools must meet the general standards prescribed by the ministry/department of education. In most cases, they follow closely the curriculum and diploma requirements of the ministry/department of education, except that they function independently of the public system.  In Ontario and Québec, private institutions that offer credits toward the secondary school diploma must follow the curriculum and diploma requirements of the Ministry of Education. Moreover, in Newfoundland and Labrador, the courses in the private schools should be “as prescribed or approved by the minister”. Furthermore, in Nunavut, the operator of a private school must ensure that the school follows a curriculum approved by the Minister and ensure that standards of student achievement acceptable to the Minister are met.

Some jurisdictions are more flexible. In Québec, despite the aforementioned legislation, the programme may be replaced by a programme of studies developed by the institution “for any student or category of students unable to profit from the programme of studies established by the Minister”. In Manitoba, the 2020 Public Schools Act requires that funded independent schools teach a “sufficient number of courses” approved under The Education Administration Act and have their core curriculum approved by the Department. In parallel, in Alberta, private schools must include a description of the proposed programmes of study, which must be consistent with the government ones, in the registration process, but only accredited-funded private schools are required to follow the requirements for teaching the Alberta Programs of Study. However, a non-funded independent school is not required to meet these conditions.

Regarding languages, the 1982 Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Section 23) protects minority French and English language education. Provincial governments are obligated to provide minority official language schools and governing boards. That said, in the Northwest Territories, the Minister may allow private schools to determine, subject to the approval of the Minister, a language of instruction.

Textbooks and learning materials: Two provinces are more directive in their choice of manuals and materials. In Prince Edward Island, the Minister may provide authorized textbooks to the operator of a private school. In addition, in Québec, every institution must use only textbooks and instructional material approved by the Minister. In Alberta, the minister may authorize or approve learning and teaching reources for use in schools. A board may also develop or acquire instructional materials for use in courses, programs, or schools. (p. 29 of Education Act) In Newfoundland and Labrador, if a private school is following the provincial curriculum, it is required to use the corresponding authorized curriculum resources. Private schools would be responsible for the cost of those resources as well.

Teaching profession: All jurisdiction has specific standards regarding teacher certification. For instance, in Manitoba, the 2020 Public Schools Act requires that funded independent schools employ teachers who hold valid and subsisting teaching certificates issued under The Education Administration Act, to teach the approved courses. Likewise, in British Columbia, teachers of independent schools are certified. They hold a certificate of qualification, an independent school teaching certificate or have a letter of permission issued under the Teachers Act. In Newfoundland and Labrador, teachers in the private school must hold a valid certificate or licence issued under the 2007 Teacher Training Act. Prince Edward Island also adopted the 2020 Education Act Teacher Certification and Standards Regulations which describe initial training that must include at least 60 days of supervised practice teaching in a public or licenced private elementary or secondary school. In Yukon, private schools must provide written notification to the parents of the teaching qualifications of the instructional staff.

In Ontario, private schools are not required to hire certificated teachers or follow the provincial programme of studies, but receive no provincial funds even if they do. In Alberta, all private schools established under the Education Act require an Alberta-certificated teacher and principal to be employed in the roles, this requirement is set out in regulation; the only exception is where a competent individual may be employed to teach a language, culture or religion course under the supervision of a certificated teacher. Teachers, school and system leaders must also meet the standards of professional practice set by the Minister of Education to ensure currency of practice and professional competence while employed in their roles. Teachers, principals and superintendents of schools employed in school authorities established under the Education Act must also hold valid certification in order to be employed in their roles. Certification is issued by the Department of Education in accordance with regulation.

In Alberta, matters of professional discipline fall in two categories, unprofessional conduct and professional competence. Currently, two separate pieces of legislation govern matters of conduct and competency – The Education Act, which sets out complaint process in the Practice Review of Teachers and Teacher Leaders Regulation, and the Teaching Profession Act ( Matters of conduct and competency for most teachers and teacher leaders employed in public, separate and francophone school authorities and regional authorities are overseen by the Alberta Teachers’ Assocation (ATA) in accordance with the Teaching Profession Act; while the Registrar at Alberta Education oversees complaints or matters in accordance with the Practice Review of Teachers and Teacher Leaders Regulation, for all other Alberta certificated teachers and teacher leaders who are not active members of the ATA. This includes teachers and teacher leaders employed in private/independent schools, charter schools, teachers employed on First Nation schools, system leaders such as superintendents, and all other certificated teachers and leaders who are no longer employed in the profession. Standards of practice set by the Minister of Education provide the benchmarks to determine professional competence; while codes of conduct and conduct requirements set out the benchmarks for conduct matters.

Few provinces address the issue of teachers' salaries in education laws. In Quebec, private employers tend to participate more in the insurance plan for their salaried employees.

In terms of supervision and professional development, in some provinces such as Alberta, the operator of an accredited private school must develop and maintain policies that align with the provincial policy on teacher growth, supervision, and evaluation.

Canada adopted the 1985 Labour Code and the provinces and territories have also employment standards acts. In addition, the provinces and territories have adopted collective agreements for teachers. In the case of Québec, the Act respecting the process of negotiation of collective agreements covers the public and "para-public" sectors and provides for two levels of negotiation for teachers in school service centres and school boards: the national level and the local level.

Corporal punishment: In 2004, the Supreme Court of Canada outlawed corporal punishment in all schools, public or private. 

Other safety measures and COVID-19: All provinces and territories have issued guidelines and safety plans for educational institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, including Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Québec, Saskatchewan and Yukon. The plans generally include all sectors.


Equitable access

Fee-setting: In general, such as in Manitoba, tuition and fees vary by school. The Departments or Ministries do not stipulate school tuition or fees. For instance, in the Northwest Territories, a private school may charge a tuition fee, but the limit is not regulated. However, in Nunavut, the Commissioner in Executive Council may make regulations governing the registration of private schools and applications for registration, including fees to be charged. In British Columbia, a school's fees are required to be “consistent with any promotional or other informational material published or supplied by the authority”.

Admission and selection process: Independent schools generally allow for selective admission of students. However, in Nova Scotia, the Governor in Council may make regulations on eligibility requirements of students. Likewise, in Québec, the Government may establish rules on the school on admission and enrolment of students.

Policies for vulnerable groups: Subsidies seem to be less for primary and secondary education; they are mainly for early childhood education and higher education.

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

School board: In Alberta, the private school operator establishes a parent advisory council if the parents of students enrolled in the school do not constitute a majority of the members of the board operating the school. In Manitoba, funded independent schools have a legally incorporated Board of Directors and an elected advisory board which includes parents or guardians and reports on the private school regularly during the school year.

Reporting requirements: In Yukon and Nova Scotia, inspectors examine the achievement of students and assess teachers, programmes, operations and administration of the school. In Ontario, failing to submit statistical information within 60 days of the request of the Minister is an offence, with a fine of up to $200 for the person in charge. In Prince Edward Island, the operator of a private school must provide to the Minister an annual report on student enrolment at the private school on or before September 30 of each year. In Newfoundland and Labrador, private schools must submit an annual report to the minister that includes information regarding enrolment, staff, courses of study and other information that the minister may require.

School inspection: Inspection is a mandatory practice in all jurisdictions. In Alberta, in the first year, private schools are inspected and monitored for compliance with Alberta Education requirements. In Manitoba, a school operating within the two-year waiting period will be inspected by Department staff at least once per school year. Similarly, in Newfoundland and Labrador, inspectors may enter a private school “at all reasonable hours and conduct an inspection of the school and all records or documents relating to it”.

In Ontario, the Education Act authorizes the inspection of private secondary schools and to charge an inspection fee. However, there are two types of private schools operating in Ontario: Non-inspected private schools include all private elementary schools as well as any private secondary schools that do not offer Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) credit courses. In addition to not being inspected by ministry staff, these schools are not required to follow the official Ontario curriculum, although they must still offer instruction in any of the subjects in the elementary or secondary courses of study. Inspected private schools are seeking or have been given authority by the ministry to provide courses offering credits toward the OSSD. This includes private schools offering a combined elementary-secondary curriculum (in which case only the secondary school will be inspected) and private schools offering credits in an online environment.The inspections are conducted by ministry staff and may be scheduled or unscheduled. The ministry inspects all private secondary schools seeking the authority to grant credits in courses leading to the OSSD. The purpose of the inspection is to determine whether the standard of instruction in courses leading to the OSSD is being delivered in compliance with ministry requirements. The ministry does not inspect or approve items such as the condition of premises, health and safety practices or matters related to staffing.

In Prince Edward Island, school inspection focuses on the operation of the private school, the records and other documents relating to student enrolment and employment of instructors. Likewise, in Saskatchewan, independent schools must provide information to the ministry concerning the pupils, teachers, curriculum, facilities and equipment.

Student assessment: Institutions must follow the curriculum (see the section Curriculum and learning standards) and evaluate students against it. In Ontario, inspectors request samples of assessment and evaluation tools. In Alberta, to be registered, schools must describe their assessments used, which must be consistent with the standards contained in provincial assessments. Also, private schools must ensure that students can write the provincial assessments. Regarding homeschooling, in British Columbia, students are not required to participate in large-scale assessments, as they are in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Québec, and Nova Scotia. In these provinces, parents shall provide evidence of examination or assessments.

Diplomas: In most cases, non-state schools follow closely the diploma requirements of the ministry or department of education. The minister generally delivers the diplomas, certificates and other official attestations, as well as the conditions governing their issue (Ontario, Québec, Prince Edward Island and in British Columbia). Therefore, students attending a private school shall be subject to provincial or territorial testing programmes (as mentioned in the regulations in Newfoundland and Labrador and in Nunavut). In this regard, non-accredited schools cannot grant credit for courses, like in Yukon.

Sanctions: In Newfoundland and Labrador, the minister may revoke or suspend the permission to establish or operate a private school if the private school does not comply with the requirements of the Education Act. In Ontario, private schools failing to comply with their legislative requirements may also face the removal of their Board School Identification Number (BSID). In this regard, operating a private school without submitting a Notice of Intention to Operate a Private School (NOI) may result in a fine of $50/day for every person involved in the management of the school.


Tertiary education is available in both state-supported and private institutions. Private institutions come in many forms, including: private non-profit universities; private non-profit organizations; private publicly-traded for-profit universities; proprietary for-profit organizations and private non-profit religious institutions. Canada has 213 recognized public colleges and institutes and 223 recognized public and private universities (including theological institutions). Provinces and territories have non-state diploma/certificate-level (i.e., non-degree) occupational training offered by private for-profit and not-for-profit institutions. These are typically identified in legislation as private career colleges or private vocational training institutions.

Colleges in Quebec play a particular role in tertiary education. Elementary and secondary education in Quebec requires 11 years of schooling (rather than 12 in other provinces) and a Diploma of College Studies is required for admission into university. All programs leading to the Diploma of College Studies are overseen by the government, which coordinates admissions criteria, provincial exams and diploma delivery.


Registration and approval: Public or private acts of the provincial or territorial legislature regulate the registration, recognition and licencing of postsecondary institutions. Although their mandates differ across the country, quality assessment agencies publish their criteria and procedures, require self-analysis, use teams of external peer reviewers and publish the results of their reviews. 

Infrastructure standards as criteria for registration vary. Some provinces have adopted infrastructure plans. In Québec, the University Investment Act requires universities to submit quinquennial investment plans which indicate in detail the purpose and amount of the investments planned. The Ministry must also be informed before the start of any construction or repair project estimated to cost $1 million or more. Infrastructure Ontario has also partnered since 2005 with Ontario’s universities to provide access to affordable financing for capital investments.

Licence: Different bodies are responsible for issuing licences. In British Columbia, the Degree Authorization Act provides a mechanism for private institutions to apply to the Minister for authorization to operate and confer degrees or to use the name "university". In the province, the Degree Quality Assessment Board assesses the quality of applications for registration and recognition of private institutions at this level of education. Similarly, in Ontario, private organizations seeking consent to use the word “university” apply to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities for consent. In Quebec, the Act respecting educational institutions at the university level determines which establishments are considered universities and are authorised to grant university degrees.

Designation Policy Framework: The Designation Policy Framework is a pan-Canadian approach intended to guide jurisdictions in the development of their designation policies. The framework supports provincial and territorial governments as well as the Government of Canada in working with educational institutions to improve the performance of the student loans portfolio and to improve accountability to students and taxpayers through stewardship of the portfolio.

Financial operation

Profit-making: No specific provisions limiting profits were found in the regulations. However, in Yukon, if a university makes a profit from any of its activities, it must use the profit for the accomplishment of its purposes. In Quebec, universities are considered public institutions and are financed according to the Public Administration Act. Tuition is strictly regulated and all education activities must be declared. Although universities may offer self-financing programs outside their subsidised activities, they must still obtain government approval before offering such programs.

Taxes and subsidies: In New Brunswick, private degree-granting institutions, like any other business, may be eligible for funding through business development assistance programmes. In Québec, subsidies for education services are provided, under conditions in articles 83-90 of the 2020 Act respecting private education for private subsidised colleges, as well as articles 25 and 26 of the General and Vocational Colleges Act for public colleges. All universities are considered public institutions and are financed according to the Public Administration Act. The budgetary rules vary according to the nature of the educational services or categories of students.

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and learning standards: The Canadian Degree Qualification Framework establishes expectations for all public and private provision. Some provinces also have jurisdictional qualifications frameworks, such as Ontario, which establishes competency expectations and delivery standards, and indicates which type of institution (public, private, college, university) is authorised to provide the programming. Provincially established quality assurance bodies ensure both private and public degree-level programming meets the standards, though how they operate differ. For example, publicly funded universities have flexibility in the programme offerings. Academic senates are generally responsible for programmes, courses, and academic planning. In Alberta, new degree programmes at public and private institutions must be approved by the Minister of Advanced Education, upon recommendation from the Campus Alberta Quality Council. In Manitoba, the Minister must not interfere with the basic right of a university or college to formulate academic policies and standards. In Saskatchewan, university councils also prescribe curricula, programmes of instruction and courses of study. In Ontario, some public college diploma programmes have government established province-wide standards. In British Columbia, provincially recognized post-secondary early childhood education programs are approved by ECE Registry and must offer curriculum that covers the occupational competencies required for provincial certification.

Teaching profession: The qualification criteria for teachers in non-state institutions at the higher education level are not always defined in regulations. In Manitoba, the Minister must not interfere with the independence of a university or college in the appointment of staff. In Ontario, religious institutions are able to provide teacher education, but those graduates are only eligible to teach in religious institutions. Requirements for Qualifications of instructional staff at Ontario private career colleges are outlined in the 2005 Private Career Colleges Act. Few provinces address the issue of teachers' salaries in education laws. In Quebec, degree programs must first be approved by the program committee of the Bureau de cooperation interuniversitaire (BCI), an organization that represents all Quebec universities. Once the BCI is satisfied with a new program’s quality, a joint university-ministry committee evaluates the program for financing purposes.

Equitable access

Fee-setting: No regulation was found at the federal level. The government in some provinces, such as Alberta and Manitoba, regulates the payment of tuition fees. In Manitoba, the average tuition fees should not exceed the lowest average west of Manitoba. In Québec, the Ministry of Higher Education may also establish rules for determining the maximum amount of admission or enrollment fees at the university level. Private non-subsidised colleges are free to set fees for their programs, but are limited to granting equivalent licences rather than college diplomas.

In Yukon, universities must also transfer a proportion of the fees collected to the undergraduate student union.

Admission selection and processes: In Canada, general admission standards to tertiary education require a high-school diploma or equivalent. Publicly funded universities are largely autonomous and set their own admissions standards. Generally, academic senates are responsible for admission requirements and qualifications for degrees. In Manitoba, the Minister must not interfere in the independence of a university or college in fixing standards of admission and of graduation. In Saskatchewan, universities can exercise their power to establish their standards for admission and graduation. The same autonomy is granted to universities in Quebec.

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

Reporting requirements: Many jurisdictions, such as Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, have established independent quality assurance agencies to monitor private for-profit degree-granting institutions. In Ontario, the Postsecondary Education Quality Assessment Board is an arm’s-length agency responsible for providing education quality reviews and recommendations. The 2001 New Brunswick Degree Granting Act stipulates that institutions are required to undergo an institutional assessment to determine whether they have the governance, policies, planning and funding necessary to offer quality degree programmes. In British Columbia, the Degree Quality Assessment Board is an independent advisory board appointed by the Minister of Advanced Education, Skills & Training. The British Columbia Private Training Institutions Branch is responsible for the regulation of private training institutions offering sub-degree-level programs. Campus Alberta Quality Council uses audits to monitor programme quality.

Inspection: In Ontario, the rivate Career Colleges Act (2005) identifies the requirements for inspections of private career colleges. In British Columbia, the Private Training Institutions Branch can inspect the delivery of programmes, interview students and staff, and review student and instructor records at private training institutions.

Diplomas and degrees: Public universities with an act of legislation have full authority to grant degrees (and cerfiticates). Public colleges have the full authority to grant diplomas and certificates. Public colleges must ask to offer degrees. Private institutions must ask to offer any degree program. Regulations for private career colleges differ again. At the provincial and territorial level, provinces such as Alberta and Saskatchewan exclude institutions that offer religious degrees from the provisions of degree-granting legislation while others, such as Ontario, treat religious and secular organizations and programmes in the same manner. In New Brunswick, the 2001 Degree Granting Act permits private businesses to offer university degrees, but only when they have been officially designated under the Act to offer the degrees. In Yukon, the University has the power to grant degrees, certificates and diplomas.

Sanctions on school closures: In British Columbia, non-compliance by private training institutions may result in enforcement actions. On the Private Training Institutions Branch website, institutions marked with a flag indicates there are enforcement actions in place. In Ontario, consent to offer degrees provided by private providers must be renewed every five to seven years. If renewed consent is not granted, the program must close.

3.3 Supplementary private tutoring

One-third (33%) of Canadian parents have purchased supplementary education according to recent estimates. In 2013, 21% of nine-year-old children had received some kind of private tutoring. No specific law limiting or framing supplementary private tuition was found.


Additional tutoring can be provided through a private one-to-one approach or online, using a platform (e.g., Outschool, First Tutor, Teachable, Thinkific). Providers can either register their tutoring business as a small business or incorporate.

Financial operation and quality

In Canada, supplementary education can be divided into three main settings: state, market and non-profit philanthropists. In the first setting, Ontario public schools offer tutoring programmes, including "Ask a teacher", "Homework help" and online options and Québec offers online courses and tutoring through the programme "Learn". In the second setting, independent businesses such as Sylvan, Kumon and Oxford also operate and have distancing curricula, instruction, and evaluation materials. Finally, Pathways for Education Canada is an example of the non-profit sector operating in many communities across Canada. In general, the supplementary educators respond to local school requirements, which make shadow education localized and sporadic and limit the expansion of Canadian businesses.

Teaching profession

In Alberta, the 2018 Code of professional conduct by the Alberta Teachers’ Association stipulates that a teacher may not accept pay for “tutoring a pupil in any subjects in which the teacher is responsible for giving classroom instruction to that pupil”.



Table 1. Education laws/acts across Canada’s provinces and territories, by education levels


Early childhood care and education

Primary and secondary education

Tertiary education


Early Learning and Child Care Act (2021)

Education Act (2012)

Private Schools Regulation 93/2019 (2019)
Certification of Teachers and Teacher Leaders Regulation (2019)


Post-Secondary Learning Act (amended in 2021)

Private Vocational Training Act (2000)

British Columbia

Child Care Licensing Regulation (2020)

Community Care and Assisted Living Act

Child Care Subsidy Act

Child Care Subsidy Regulation

School Act (1996)

Independent School Act (1996)

University Act (1996)

College and Institute Act

Private Training Act


The Community Child Care Standards Act (1986)

Public School Act (2020) (Article 60.5)

Private Schools Grants Regulation (2012)

Education Administration Act (2020)

The Education Administration Act (1987)

The Public School Act (1987) (Article 60(5))Private Schools Grants Regulation (2012)

The Advanced Education Administration Act (2019)

New Brunswick

Early Childhood Services Act (2018)

Education Act (2001)

Degree Granting Act (2001)

Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission Act (2004)

Newfoundland and Labrador

Child care Act (2014)

Schools Act (1997) (articles 43 to 48)

Degree Granting Act (1998)

Memorial University Act

College Act

Private Training Institutions Act


Northwest Territories

Child Day Care Standards Regulations (2014)

Education Act (1996)


Education Act (1996)


Nova Scotia

Pre-primary Education Act (2005)

Education Act (2018)

Nova Scotia Degree Granting Act and Private Career Colleges Act


Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission Act (2004)


Education Act (2008)

Child Day Care Act (2011)

Education Act (2008)

Not found (one university: Nunavut Arctic College)


Child Care and Early Years Act (2014)

Education Act (2020)

Education Act (2020)

Private schools policy (2013)

Degree Granting Act (1990)

Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act (1990)

Indigenous Institutes Act (2017)

Private Career Colleges Act (2005)

(Postsecondary education choice and excellence act 2000)

Prince Edward Island

Early Learning and Child Care Act (2019)

Education Act (2016)

Private Schools Act (2019)

Private Training Schools Act (2020)

Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission Act (2004)

University Act (2019) (University of Prince Edward Island; public)


Act Respecting Childcare Centres and Childcare Services (2006)

Educational Childcare Act (2020) (under review)

Education Act (2020)

Act Respecting Private Education

Education Act (2020)

Act Respecting Private Education

Act Respecting Educational Institutions at the University Level

General and Vocational Colleges Act


Act Respecting Private Education


The Child Care Regulations (2015)

Education Act (1995)

University of Saskatchewan Act (1995)

University of Regina Act

The Regional Colleges Act

Saskatchewan Polytechnic Act

The Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies Act

The Post-secondary Education and Skills Training Act

The Degree Authorization Act

The Private Vocational Schools Act


Child Care Act (2018)


Education Act (2020)

Private Schools Regulations (1991)

University Act (2019)


This profile has been reviewed by the federal Department of Employment and Social Development Canada and the Council of Ministers of Education (Canada).

Last modified:

Mon, 21/02/2022 - 17:36