Canadian Overview


What are some interesting facts about the history of education in Canada?

Education in Canada has evolved over the last few hundred years to become the inclusive, accessible and diverse system it is today – one that reflects society’s belief in the importance of education.

The history of education in Canada includes schooling from elementary (primary school) through to post-secondary, along with changing conceptions of education, and the policies of national and provincial governments. In a book entitled “The Development of Education in Canada”, C. E. Phillips divided the periods of history of public schooling into four stages.


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Stage 1

The first stage was defined by church-controlled education and lasted from the early 1700s through to the mid-1800s.

Stage 2

Stage two, which went into the late 1800s, saw the introduction of more centralized authority, universal free education and taxation for schooling at the local level.

Stage 3

Stage three, the early 1900s, saw the development of provincial and territorial departments of education, more consistent curricula, better trained teachers and the start of provincial government financial support for schools.

Stage 4

The fourth stage, since the Second World War, has been defined by the appointment of Ministers of Education in each provincial and territorial government and a far greater involvement of government in all aspects of education.

Residential Schools

The history of education in Canada includes the very difficult issue of residential schools. Starting in the early 19th century, indigenous children (First Nations, Metis and Inuit) were removed from their communities and forced to attend these schools. Although the last of the residential schools closed in 1996, their damaging legacy has continued.

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  • Source

    Source 1: K12 Academics Website

    History of Education in Canada website.

  • More Reading

    Read More 1: The Canadian Encyclopedia

    The history of education in Canada.

  • More Reading

    Read More 2: Residential Schools

    History of the residential school system in Canada.