Overview

Canada's Constitution Act, 1867, gives the provinces exclusive jurisdiction in education. The provincial and territorial legislatures have developed their own educational structures and institutions, creating 13 education systems with many similarities and some differences. Responsibility for education is usually exercised, in each jurisdiction, through one or more departments or ministries of education. In addition, a variety of public and private agencies provide decision makers with advice, research, and information.

All "recognized" postsecondary institutions in Canada have been given the authority to grant academic credentials by their provincial or territorial governments through charters or legislation that ensures institutional and program quality. "Registered" or "licensed" institutions are monitored by government primarily for consumer protection rather than for institutional or program quality.

Each province and territory has one or two ministers in charge of education. At the pan-Canadian level, the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, (CMEC) provides a forum for education ministers to discuss matters of common concern, explore ways to cooperate, share information, and coordinate education activities internationally.

Federal departments play an indirect role. Foreign Affairs Canada (FAC) promotes international academic exchanges. International Trade Canada (ITCan) and HRSDC promote Canada as a study destination for foreign students. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) control access to Canadian borders by awarding study permits to students meeting the necessary criteria. FAC and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) provide scholarships for a limited number of foreign students registered at Canadian educational institutions.

CMEC monitors international development in higher education through an agreement with the Federal government to ensure Canadian representation at international discussions on postsecondary education. Statistics Canada, through the Canadian Education Statistics Council, works with CMEC and the provinces and territories to ensure the collection, coordination, and publication of pan-Canadian education statistics.

Public postsecondary education institutions in Canada derive most of their direct funding from provincial/territorial and federal government sources, with the largest share coming directly from the provinces and territories. The balance is obtained from tuition fees; research grants; contracts with business and industry; government research contracts; donations; and investment income.

(Source: Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials)

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