Education Faculty Presentations


The Historical Development of Private Education in Canada

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Event Date

Fall 2006


Association for the Advancement of Educational Research Annual Conference


Hutchinson Island, FL


The Canadian educational system has been influenced by geography, population, and natural resources. In some provinces, denominational schools exist within the public school system. Although committed to a multiethnic society, private education also exists within the larger system, with religious or Christian schools considered a subset of private education. The early French and British immigrants to Canada shaped the educational system and their influence is still evident in the contemporary educational milieu, including the dual-language system and the adoption of a multicultural model. The Roman Catholic and Church of England influences were particularly strong since, unlike education in America, religion was integrated into public education. Canadian educational history passed through several stages with both public and provincially funded education under the direction of provincial governments. These included church-controlled education (1700s to mid 1800s); a more centralized authority, universal free education, and taxation at the local level (mid 1800s); the creation of provincial departments of education, a more consistent curriculum, better trained teachers, continued local taxation together with provincial grants (late 1800s to 1900); and from 1900 to the present day, the creation of Ministers of Education in each province and provincial governments playing an increasingly significant role in the shaping of policy and administration.


Education, private education, Canada