School Choice in Canada
This is a brief cross-country summary of fully- and/or partially-funded public and private school offerings, along with funding for homeschools where appropriate. It is by no means a comprehensive list, and readers should check with the ministry of education in the province where they live for more specific details.
- Regular Public Schools:
- Open to all: Funding of regular public schools which can include many alternative-themed schools depending on the offerings of each school district
- Private Schools:
- Partial funding of private schools including Catholic, and other religious schools
- While educating 11% of all students enrolled in BC elementary and secondary schools, independent schools receive only 5% of grants the provincial budget allocates toward operating costs of schools. The maximum grant to an independent school is 1/2 the per pupil grant to a public school.
- Independent schools receive no grants for the cost of providing land, buildings, and equipment. Independent school supporters pay 100% of these costs.
- Homeschooling: $250 to homeschooled children if registered with a public school district
- Public Francophone Schools: To be eligible for the Francophone program the parent/guardian must meet at least one of the following conditions:
- If your first language learned and still understood is French
- If you received your primary school instruction in Canada in French (excluding French Immersion)
- If one of your children has received primary or secondary school instruction in Canada in French (excluding French Immersion)
- If you have a child who is receiving primary or secondary school instruction in Canada in French (excluding French Immersion)
- Regular Public schools:
- Open to all
- Include many alternative schools of within public system, including religious, language, academic focus.
- Publicly-funded Catholic School system:
- Open to all non-Catholic and/or non-residents of district depending on space, otherwise a resident student is a baptized Catholic or has at least one parent who is a baptized Catholic, or under the authority of the Child Welfare Act has been placed in a foster home where the foster parent is a resident of the Catholic district.
- May include many other alternative schools or programs vary by board, i.e. French immersion
- Francophone schools (eligibility)
- Whose first language learned and still understood is French;
- Who received primary schooling in French in Canada;
- Whose siblings were or are being educated at a francophone school in Canada.
- Accredited-funded private schools
- government support has increased to the current level of 60% of the base instruction rate for school jurisdictions for all level 1 funded private schools, and 70% of applicable per student grants for level 2 funded private schools plus other specific funding grants
- Charter Schools
- Open to all depending on focus of school and location.
- Portion of funded directly to parent at rate of 16% of basic per pupil amount
- Open to all but must register with a local school district for permission
- Publicly-funded Catholic School system and small number of Protestant schools
Publicly-funded Francophone school system
- Open to children of Canadian citizens:
- whose first language learned and still understood is French OR;
- who received instruction at the elementary level in French in Canada OR;
- who has a child who has received or is receiving instruction at the elementary or secondary education in French in Canada.
Les immigrantes et immigrants reçus sont également éligibles. Landed immigrants are also eligible.
- Independent schools:
- Schools deemed “historic” get basic per-pupil grant.
- Open to all but can discriminate on basis of nature of school.
- Homeschoolers get access to some services and learning materials.
- Must register with local school authority for permission.
- Regular public schools,
- include French language schools and French Immersion schools
- Schools will enroll students in the following order of priority:
- students designated to attend that school,
- students residing in the school division, and
- other Manitoba students.
- A school will enroll a student unless:
- space is not available,
- special equipment or physical facilities required by the student are not available,
- enrolling the student would be detrimental to the continuity of his or her education,
- the program is not suited to the age, ability, or aptitude of the student,
- enrolling the student would be detrimental to order, discipline and well-being of the students in the school, or
- proper notification is not provided by the parent or student.
- Independent schools:
- Include Catholic, Jewish, and other religious schools
- Funded to 50% of net operating grant of regular public schools
- no funding support
- Open to all, no permission required
- Regular Public System:
- Open to all
- Each board may offer alternative schools or programs which vary by board.
- Publicly-funded Catholic School system
- Open to all non-Catholic and/or non-residents of district depending on space, otherwise a resident student is a baptized Catholic or has at least one parent who is a baptized Catholic, or under the authority of the Child Welfare Act has been placed in a foster home where the foster parent is a resident the school district.
- Publicly-funded French Public System
- Same requirements as under The Charter (see BC)
- Publicly-funded French Catholic system
- Same language requirements as under the Charter plus religious requirements
Within each public system, alternative individual schools and programs may be offered that vary among boards.
- Private and independent schooling
- Virtual learning
- Often delivered through private schools – no funding provided.
- Some virtual high schooling delivered through Ministry of Education, funding may be provided.
- No funding support
- No permission required.
All students must attend the local French language public school unless student falls under special exemption described below. In either school system parents may choose elementary school religious education through one of the following three subjects—Moral Education, Catholic Religious and Moral Instruction, or Protestant Moral and Religious Education.
These are the most common situations that allow a child to receive instruction in English:
Under the Charter of the French Language, children in the following three categories may be enrolled in English-language schools:
- children who are permanent residents of Québec and who qualify for a certificate of eligibility for instruction in English
- children who are permanent residents of Québec and who are entitled to receive instruction in English under a special authorization
- children who are living in Québec temporarily and who qualify for a temporary authorization to receive instruction in English
A certificate of eligibility is generally delivered to children:
- who did most of their elementary or secondary studies in English in Canada; or
- whose brother or sister did most of his or her elementary studies in English in Canada; or
- whose father or mother did most of his or her elementary studies in English in Canada; or
- whose father or mother attended school in Québec after August 26, 1977 and could have been declared eligible for instruction in English at that time.
In the first two cases, the father or mother of the child must be a Canadian citizen. In the third case the father or mother must be a Canadian citizen, unless he or she did his or her studies in Québec.
- Private Schools:
- Receive about 40% of public school grants.
- Must be accredited to qualify for government funding.
- One Publicly-funded secular school system
- Divided into Francophone and Anglophone sectors.
- Student must be proficient in language of instruction.
- Must attend local school district.
- Student requires permission of a district superintendent to attend a school outside of district of residency.
- is permitted with annual application to the Minister of Education.
- Homeschooled students are not eligible to receive a secondary school diploma.
- No funding is available.
- Distance learning
- available for high school students.
- Same as New Brunswick,
- Some funding is provided for students with ADD, ADHD, and Learning Disabilities, etc. for use at special education private schools, a policy that is currently under review.
- Home schooling is permitted as long as child is registered with the Dept of Education. There is no funding for homeschooling.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
- Same as New Brunswick. Students must attend local school of residence except through permission of the superintendent of education.
- Home schooling is permitted as long as child is registered with Dept. of Education. Home schooled students may take courses at local publicly funded school with permission of the principal. There is no funding for homeschooling.
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
- Same as New Brunswick
- Home schooling is permitted as long as child is registered with the local school district and text books are provided free of charge.
- Distance and e-learning is available for rural & remote residence high school students.
- One Innu Native school
- Public schools – open to all
- Publicly funded Catholic Schools- open to all in this order of priority:
- Catholic families
- Siblings of students already enrolled
- Non-Catholic families
- French school board – one school
- Home schooling
- encouraged and open to all, must register with Min. of Ed
- Provides access to resources, learning materials, equipment, etc.
- Regular Public schools, including aboriginal and Montessori programming, open to residents of district
- Publicly-funded Catholic School system- open to all
- Publicly-funded Francophone schools
- Independent schools
- funded at 40% of the local district adjusted school funding formula
- is encouraged
- Register with local district
- Parents are entitled to receive support and access for resources, learning materials, equipment, etc. and may receive reimbursement for costs up to 25% of local district per pupil amount
- Public schools including bilingual aboriginal schools
- One Francophone school
- Distance education
- All are fully funded.
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