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Overview of the Canadian Education System, Province by Province

School year in Canada runs from September through to the end June. There are some schools that have classes during the summer but student don't usually attend them until they are in secondary or high school. Education is compulsory for children until the age of 16 in most provinces with exceptions of New Bunswick and Ontatrio where that age is 18 or, alternatively, until the completion of grade 12.

As it can be seen from the picture the division school education into primary/elementary, middle, intermediate, secondary, high is dependent on the province.


Kindergartens focus on learning basic things like letters, numbers, colours and also painting and writing. Kindergarten is similar to nursery (private pre-schools for younger infants) and it is the first step in the public school education, however in some provinces it is not compulsory. In Ontario the public school education starts at the age of 3 in so-called junior kindergartens.

Elementary/Primary Education

As can be seen from the graph the school education between ages 6-13 is referred to differently in the provinces and last from 4 to 7 years depending on the region. At the end of this stage of education schools organise graduation ceremony events where children receive their diplomas.

Middle/Intermediate Education

This stage of education plays a role of transition between primary and secondary education. The only exception is Quebec where pupils go into secondary education straight after primary.

Secondary/High School

This is the final stage of public school education during which students have to make a decision about their plans for the future. Although the compulsory education ends at the age of 16, the majority of students stay in school until they graduate from high school (grade 12). After a successful completion of high school another graduation ceremony is held and with this diploma they receive they are able to progress into University education.

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