Education in CANADA


Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean. Spanning over 9.9 million square kilometers, Canada is the world’s second-largest country by total area, and its common border with the United States is the longest land border in the world.

The land that is now Canada has been inhabited for millennia by various groups of Aboriginal peoples. Beginning in the late 15th century, British and French expeditions explored, and later settled, along the region’s Atlantic coast. France ceded nearly all of its colonies in North America in 1763 after the Seven Years’ War. In 1867, with the union of three British North American colonies through Confederation, Canada was formed as a federal dominion of four provinces. This began an accretion of provinces and territories and a process of increasing autonomy from the United Kingdom. This widening autonomy was highlighted by the Balfour Declaration of 1926 and reaffirmed by the Statute of Westminster of 1931, which declared self-governing dominions within the British Empire to be equal. The Canada Act of 1982 finally severed the vestiges of legal dependence on the British Parliament.

Canada is one of the world’s wealthiest nations, with a 2011 nominal GDP of approximately US$1.75 trillion, and a very high per-capita income. It is a member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the G8, and is one of the world’s top ten trading nations.[138] Canada is a mixed economy, ranking above the US and most western European nations on the Heritage Foundation’s index of economic freedom. The largest foreign importers of Canadian goods are the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan.

In the past century, the growth of Canada’s manufacturing, mining, and service sectors has transformed the nation from a largely rural economy to an advanced, urbanized, industrial one. Like many other First World nations, the Canadian economy is dominated by the service industry, which employs about three-quarters of the country’s workforce. However, Canada is unusual among developed countries in the importance of its primary sector, in which the logging and petroleum industries are two of the most prominent elements.

Why Study in Canada

Canadians place great importance on learning, and have developed a first-rate education system with high standards. The country spends more on education (as a percentage of GDP) compared to the OECD average, and is the second highest among G-8 countries.

Canadian teenagers consistently rank among the best in the world on international tests of reading, science and math – a testament to the outstanding quality of Canadian schools. A Canadian degree, diploma or certificate is well-regarded in business, government and academic circles around the globe.

Important reasons to study in Canada:

One of the Best Places in the World to Live

Canada has ranked as one of the top ten places to live in the world since 1994 according to the United Nations (UN) and the Economist Intelligence Unit.  In the UN survey Canada earned particularly high marks for its access to education, high life expectancy (due to universal health care system); and low crime and violence rates. In addition, Canada’s largest cities — Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal — have been recognized as world class cities in which to live and work, for their cleanliness and safety and for their cultural activities and attractive lifestyles. 

High Standard of Living

Canadians enjoy a standard of living among the highest in the world. Almost 70 per cent of Canadians own their own homes, with a higher percentage owning durable goods, such as automobiles, refrigerators, washing machines, television, telephones and radios. Canada also has an extensive health care system and social security network.

Media, entertainment and artistic endeavors are well-developed in Canada. Canada’s highly sophisticated broadcasting system includes more than 1,900 AM and FM radio stations and some 1387 television stations to serve, entertain and educate the listening and viewing audience. A wide range of cultural activities is also available, including museums, galleries, live theatre, dance and music performances and concerts.

Welcoming Environment

Canada has traditionally been a country of immigrants and has a policy of encouraging multicultural diversity. In this vibrant setting, different perspectives are respected and learning together is encouraged.

Almost all of the world’s ethnic groups are represented in Canada. As a result, most ethnic foods and recreational activities associated with specific cultures are available in Canada. Clubs, informal clubs and associations representing a multitude of ethnic backgrounds are also easily accessible. International student advisors at schools can help students get in touch with such groups.

All major urban centres have a variety of shopping malls, restaurants, theatres, art galleries and museums. Canadian cities provide numerous parks, gardens and beaches for public use, as well as excellent sports and recreation facilities

Beautiful Environment

Canadians place a high value on their natural environment. There are currently 42 national parks and national park reserves in Canada. National parks are located in every province and territory, and some have been recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Each province and territory has also designated areas as provincial parks, wilderness areas, ecological and nature reserves. There are over 2000 of these designated areas across the country.

Students who come to Canada will witness one of the most beautiful, natural environments in the world. Canada is also a country of diverse geography, and there is much to experience in its great outdoors: from the lush coastline of British Columbia, the majestic Rocky Mountains of Alberta, the big skies of the prairies, to the ‘maple sugar country’ in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence and the rugged hills and picturesque coastline of the Atlantic Provinces.

A Safe Place to Study

Canada is considered to be a relatively peaceful, safe and orderly country. Its violent crime rate decreased for ten consecutive years from 1993 to 2003. Unlike its US neighbors to the south, firearms are strictly controlled and generally are not permitted.

International students who come to Canada should follow the same common sense safety precautions as they would anywhere in the world. Students can contact any Canadian Education Centre to learn more about personal safety, or attend a safety orientation session at their school upon their arrival in Canada.

A High Tech Country

Canada is a stimulating environment in which

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to do business and to learn, thanks to the contributions of many bright and talented scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs. The country is an international leader in computer and information technologies and has a reputation for excellence in such sectors as telecommunications, transportation and engineering; and specifically, aerospace, urban transport, microelectronics, medical devices, advanced software, hydroelectric and nuclear power, lasers and opto-electronics, biotechnology, food and beverage processing, geomatics; and ocean and environmental industries.

High points in Canada’s telecommunications industry include Teleglobe’s CANTAT 3 cable, which is the first of its kind in the world, and which supports high-speed and high-capacity delivery of transoceanic, multimedia transmission. The Stentor Alliance of telephone companies invested $8 billion to provide the latest in broadband technology to 80 per cent of Canadian households. Canada was also among the first in the world to recognize the need to connect schools and libraries to the Internet, and its SchoolNet program is being copied around the world. Industry Canada’s SchoolNet has successfully made Canada the first nation in the world to connect its schools and libraries to the Information Highway 

A Bilingual Nation

Canada is a bilingual country with two official languages, English and French. The vast majority (75 per cent) of Canada’s French-speaking inhabitants lives in the province of Québec, which is located in the eastern part of the country but there are French-speaking communities throughout the country.

According to a 2001 census, French is the mother tongue of 81 per cent of Québec’s population and is spoken at home by 83 per cent of Québecers’.

Internationally, it is estimated that over 1 billion people speak English and over 250 million speak French. As a bilingual nation, Canada offers superior English as a Second Language (ESL) and French as a Second Language (FSL) programs for students wishing to learn either or both languages. 

Education systems in Canada

Education in Canada is the responsibility of individual provinces and territories. There is little variation between the provinces, except in Quebec, which has a different education system consisting of école primaire, école secondaire, and College d’enseignement general et professionel (CEGEP). The following exclude Quebec. Please visit each Province’s Ministry of Education site for more detailed information.

Secondary Education in Canada

From grade 9 to 12, typically for students from the age of 14/15 to 17/18.

After the successful completion of Grade 12 students are awarded with a high school diploma.

Post Secondary Education in Canada

In Canada, colleges, institutes and other non-degree granting institutions primarily offer diplomas and certificate programs in numerous semi-professional and technical fields, while universities focus on degree programs and university colleges typically offer degrees, diplomas and certificates. Nonetheless, some colleges offer degrees and some universities offer certificates and diplomas.

Diplomas and Certificates

Offered at colleges, community colleges, technical and vocational institutions.

Generally requires the successful completion of secondary school.

This is a one to three year vocationally oriented program for diplomas, usually in a chosen career, technical or academic program.

One year programs for certificates, with additional courses for an advanced certificates.

University transfer programs are offered at some colleges.

Bachelor’s Degree

Offered at universities, university colleges and institutes.

Requires successful completion of a secondary school program.

A Bachelor’s degree can last from three to four-years, depending on the province and whether it is general or specialized.

Diplomas and certificates also offered at some institutions.

Typically, Honours Bachelor’s degrees are awarded for a higher degree of concentration or academic achievement.

Graduate study in Canada

Master’s Degree

Typically a two-year program at a university

Generally requires the successful completion of an honours Bachelor’s or Bachelor’s degree.

As part of the admissions process, MBA programs evaluate students’ Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) scores and relevant work experience among other criteria.

As part of the admissions process, most science programs evaluate students’ Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores, among other criteria.

Doctoral Degree

Minimum length of three years at a university or university college.

Typically requires the successful completion of a Master’s degree.

As part of the admissions process, MBA programs evaluate students’ Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) scores, among other criteria.

As part of the admissions process, most science programs evaluate students’ Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores, among other criteria.

Required Tests

International students

Most schools and programs require an adequate score on the TOEFL ® or IELTS (only IELTS is accepted by Canadian academic intuitions from students from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan) as proof of English competency for entry. International students must show that the quality of education received in their home country is comparable to that of Canadian institutions. A study permit is required if students intend to study for more than six months.

Some Universities may also require GMAT 

Work after study

If you want to work in Canada after you graduate from your studies, you must apply for a work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program.

Post-Graduation Work Permit Program

The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program allows students who have graduated from a participating Canadian post-secondary institution to gain valuable Canadian work experience.

A work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program may be issued for the length of the study program, up to a maximum of three years. A Post-Graduation work permit cannot be valid for longer than the student’s study program, and the study program must be a minimum of eight months in length. For example, if you graduate from a four-year degree program, you could be eligible for a three-year work permit if you meet the criteria. If you graduate from an eight-month certificate program, you would be eligible for a work permit that is valid for no more than eight months.

To obtain a work permit after your graduation, you must meet the following requirements:

You must have studied full time in Canada and you must have completed a program of study that lasted at least eight months.

In addition, you must have graduated from:

a public post-secondary institution, such as a college, trade/technical school, university orCEGEP (in Quebec), or

a private post-secondary institution that operates under the same rules and regulations as public institutions, and receives at least 50 percent of its financing for its overall operations from government grants (currently only private college-level educational institutions in Quebec qualify), or

Canadian private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees but only if you are enrolled in one of the programs of study leading to a degree as authorized by the province and not in all programs of study offered by the private institution.

You must apply for a work permit within 90 days of receiving written confirmation (for example, a transcript or an official letter) from your institution indicating that you have met the requirements for completing your academic program.

You must have completed and passed the program of study and received a notification that you are eligible to obtain your degree, diploma or certificate.

You must have a valid study permit when you apply for the work permit.