K-12 Education

Understanding “Public” Education 

The education system in Canada is a provincial responsibility; there is no national curriculum. In the province of Ontario, the Ontario Ministry of Education is responsible for administering and funding Ontario’s elementary and secondary schools.

Ontario values public education.  In Ontario, a “public” education means a high quality education. Ontario public school students consistently perform as high achievers internationally and as one of the best in achievement in national assessments in the areas of reading and writing, mathematics and science. 

Over 94% of the elementary and secondary students attending schools in Ontario go to publically-funded schools.  As Canada’s largest province, Ontario’s public schools have an enrolment of over 1.4 million elementary students and over 650,000 secondary students. 

For historic and legal reasons there are four types of publically funded school districts in Ontario:

  • English public
  • English Catholic*
  • French public, and 
  • French Catholic.* 

*Note that it is not essential for a student to belong to the Catholic religion to attend a Catholic school in secondary school, but there may be some restrictions at elementary schools. 

In total there are approximately 4,000 elementary schools and over 900 secondary schools in the public system in the province.  

A comprehensive list of resource links about education in Ontario can be found at: www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/parents/generalinfo.html