World TVET Database - Country Profiles

Canada

TVET Country Profile
1. TVET mission
2. System
3. Governance and financing
4. TVET teachers and trainers
5. Qualifications
6. Projects
7. Statistical information
8. Links
9. References
Canada
published: 2013-11-27

1. TVET mission, legislation and national policy or strategy

TVET mission

Canada considers TVET essential for all residents to actively engage in the country’s knowledge-based economy. The mission of TVET along with the whole Canadian education system is to provide students with high-quality learning opportunities and the required skills to enter the labour market. TVET programmes are therefore aligned to the needs of the labour market for the different populations and age groups.

TVET strategy

Learn Canada 2020 is a vision for learning and also the framework that the provincial and territorial ministers of education, through the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada CMEC, use to enhance Canada's education system and learning opportunities. Learn Canada 2020 was released in April 2008 and reaffirmed in 2010 by CMEC. Learn Canada 2020 aims to address the educational needs and aspirations of Canadians as well as the current and most pressing learning issues facing them. TVET, which in Canada is often referred to as ‘skills development and adult learning’ is one of the four pillars of Learn Canada 2020. The ministers of education, with reference to Learn Canada 2020, have set the ambitious goal of developing an accessible, diversified, and integrated system of TVET.

There is no single pan-Canadian approach to TVET, since every Canadian jurisdiction (province or territory) has specific strategies, policies, or legislation relating to TVET through their ministries responsible for education. These policies are often linked to cross-ministry strategies, poverty-reduction strategies, or specific skills-development strategies. Governments have worked to involve directly adult learners in discourses of TVET policies and several provinces and territories have developed policies to recognise, validate, and accredit non-formal learning.

TVET legislation

  • The Constitution Act of 1867 grants executive legislative responsibility for education to provinces; similarly, the federal government delegates responsibilities to territories. The Act also stipulates that provinces may exclusively make laws related to education. Consequently, there is no federal ministry of education; however, there is pan-Canadian collaboration facilitated by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC).
  • Different education and school Acts stipulate that ministries and departments of education may establish regulations with regard to: the nature of school curriculum; the level to which schools are financed; the training and certification required for teachers; the methods of assessment and the standards for student testing; the structures to sustain school governance and management; the establishment of school boards; and the design and distribution of curricula materials.
Sources:

  • Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (2008). Learn Canada 2020 - Joint Declaration Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Education. Toronto: CMEC. Accessed: 09 September 2013.
  • Council of Ministries of Education, Canada (2012). Adult Learning and Education – Canada Progress report for UNESCO's Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE) and the end of the United Nations Literacy Decade” and “Education in Canada: an Overview. Toronto: CMEC. Accessed: 09 September 2013.
  • UNESCO-IBE (2006). World Data on Education VI Ed. 2006/07. Canada. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.


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    2. TVET formal, non-formal and informal systems

Scheme compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC from Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (2009). Canada’s Education Systems. Toronto: CICIC.

Upon completion of 8 years of elementary education, students proceed to a secondary education programme that completes 12 years of schooling. Programmes offered at secondary level can be both vocational (job training) and academic. They are normally offered within the same school.

Formal TVET system

The nature of TVET opportunities varies across provinces and territories, sectors, and communities to meet the specific needs of the target populations. Though programmes’ names and delivery methods differ across TVET systems, some examples of the types of TVET programmes are as follows:

  • Vocational education and training - This type refers to a multi-year programme or series of courses providing specialised instruction in a skill or a trade intended to lead the student directly into a career or programme based on that skill or trade.
It may be offered (1) in secondary schools; (2) at the postsecondary level in public colleges and institutes; (3) in private for-profit colleges; and (3) in the workplace, through apprenticeship programmes.

At the secondary level, vocational courses may be offered at separate, specialised schools or as optional programmes in schools offering both academic and vocational streams. These courses are usually offered at the last 2 years of secondary school; however, some specialisation courses can be taken earlier. During those 2 years more optional courses are available to students, when they can choose between different specialised programmes that prepare them either to enter the job market or to enrol in postsecondary colleges, universities or other institutions of their choice.

  • Apprenticeship Programmes - They last typically 4 years. The related industry is responsible for practical training delivered in the workplace, and educational institutions provide the theoretical components. There has been less direct entry from secondary school into these programmes.
  • Workplace and workforce learning - This type is often developed in partnership with employers to provide learning and skills development opportunities.
Technical and vocational institutions, community colleges and institutes of technology offer programmes for continuing education and for developing skills for career in business, the applied arts, technology, social services and some health sciences. Programmes vary in length from six months to three years. There are also private vocational or job-training colleges in some provinces. In general, colleges award diplomas and certificates and many also award bachelor degrees.

Specialised programmes in high-technology areas are offered by many colleges in collaboration with industry and business partners. These courses prepare students for future employment in trades, industry or agriculture or for a job as a professional technician or technologist. Upon completion of a 1-year specialised programme a certificate is granted; 2- or 3-year specialised programmes lead to a diploma.

Non-formal and informal TVET systems

Non-formal education comes in the form of a broad range of activities such as structured training, courses, seminars, workshops, etc. Adult training for job-related skills takes place in a variety of locations, such as education institutions, community centres, private business schools, employers’ premises. Adult education and training for the labour force is primary provided by colleges.

Sources:

  • Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (2009). Postsecondary Education Systems in Canada: An Overview. Toronto: CICIC. Accessed: 09 September 2013.
  • Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (2009). Canada’s Education Systems. Toronto: CICIC. Accessed: 09 September 2013.
  • Council of Ministers of Education, Canadian Commission for UNESCO (2008). The Development of Education. Reports for Canada. Toronto: CMEC.
  • UNESCO-IBE (2006). World Data on Education VI Ed. 2006/07. Canada. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.


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    3. Governance and financing

Governance

The Government of Canada has the direct responsibility for First Nations on-reserve education. This is delivered through federally funded, band-administered schools. The Government of Canada also plays an integral role in supporting the skills development of Canadians by investing in postsecondary education, training, and literacy in the form of transfers to provinces and territories, research and infrastructure funding, and direct support to learners.

Ministers of Education: there is no federal ministry of education in Canada; in all of Canada’s thirteen jurisdictions (ten provinces and three territories) ministries of education are responsible for:

  • planning, implementing, and evaluating TVET policies. This is often done through consultation and/or in partnership with organisations from other government sectors, non-governmental organisations, or the private sector. The range of organisations involved in various jurisdictions includes those from the education, health, culture, social services, employment, immigration, and other sectors;
  • defining education service to be provided to the entire population of their jurisdiction, as well as the general framework within which these will be organised; and
  • setting schooling requirements and rules governing teachers’ working conditions and financial resources earmarked for education.
Their additional responsibilities are curriculum development, assessment, funding formulas and technological innovation.

The Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) is an intergovernmental body responsible for education founded in 1967 by provincial ministers of education. CMEC provides a forum in which ministers of education could discuss matters of mutual interest, undertake educational initiatives cooperatively, and represent the interests of the provinces and territories with national educational organisations, the federal government, foreign governments, and international organisations. CMEC is the federal voice for education in Canada and, through CMEC, the provinces and territories work collectively on common objectives in a broad range of activities at the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary levels.

School boards and Boards of Governors: on the local level, school education is entrusted to school boards. Their authority usually spreads over operation and administration of the schools within their board, staffing responsibilities, enrolment of students, and implementation of the provincial/territorial curriculum. All colleges have boards of governors that are appointed by the provincial or territorial government including representatives from the public, industry, students and instructors.

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is a department of the Government of Canada with a mission to build a stronger and competitive Canada. Its actions are focused on: developing policies; creating programmes; and enhancing outcomes.

Financing

Federal, provincial and territorial, and local orders of government contribute to finance TVET. In all jurisdictions, every provincial and territorial government provides significant funding to TVET, whether through funding of institutional providers, community and voluntary providers, subsidies directly to learners, special project funding, and/or subsidies to and cost-sharing programmes with industry and business.

Sources:

  • Canadian Vocational Association (2013). Canadian Vocational Association. Ottawa: CVA-ACFP. Accessed: 09 September 2013.
  • Council of Ministers of Education, Canadian Commission for UNESCO (2008). The Development of Education. Reports for Canada. Toronto: CMEC.
  • Government of Canada (2013). Employment and Social Development Canada, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC). Ottawa: HRSDC. Accessed: 09 September 2013.
  • Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (2009). Public Expenditure on Education. Ottawa: STSTCAN. Accessed: 09 September 2013.
  • Skills Competences Canada (2011). Skills Competences Canada. Ottawa: Skills Competences Canada. Accessed: 09 September 2013.
  • UNESCO-IBE (2006). World Data on Education VI Ed. 2006/07. Canada. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.


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    4. TVET teachers and trainers

For the most part, public colleges and institutes draw from business, industry and public service employers to hire faculty to ensure they have industry-related experience and connections. The required credentials vary by programme type and range from trades certification, college and institute diploma, bachelor and master degrees, and doctorates.

The role of college/institute faculty is also evolving to include applied research. The Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) Applied Research Environmental Scan 2011-12 found that 1,774 faculty and staff participated in applied research, up by 10% from 2010-11. Most faculty and staff (78%) were involved part-time and had a range of credentials:

Credentials Percentage
a college/institute diploma 14%
a bachelor’s degree 41%
a master’s degree 29%
a doctorate 16%

Some provincial college/institute systems have developed in-service teacher training programmes that are based on adult learning principles and enable faculty to complete in a self-directed manner and gain a certificate upon completion.

In general, there are two main models for teacher education in Canada:

  • A Bachelor of education degree that takes 4-5 years; and
  • A post-degree Bachelor of education degree with the duration of 1 or 2 academic years.
Sources:

  • UNESCO-IBE (2006). World Data on Education VI Ed. 2006/07. Canada. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.


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    5. Qualifications and qualifications frameworks

Secondary vocational education

Secondary school diploma is awarded if a student passes the required number of both compulsory and optional courses.

Post-secondary vocational education

Post-secondary education institutions offer degrees, diplomas, certificates and attestations depending on the nature of institution and the length of the programme. Universities and University colleges focus on degree programmes but also offer diplomas and certificates, often in professional designations. Such institutions as colleges, institutes and TVET institutions, offer diplomas, certificates, credit transfer options with universities through articulation agreements.

National Qualifications Framework (NQF)

According to the Ministerial Statement on Quality Assurance of Degree Education in Canada of 2007, Ministers have adopted guidelines that are to be employed in decision making relating to new degree programmes and new degree-granting institutions within a province or territory. Canadian Degree Qualifications Framework is one of the sections of the guidelines.

The framework comprises 3 general degree categories that are intended to capture the most salient aspects of the 3 principal degree levels offered in Canada. The Canadian version of NQF is intended to provide a broad framework for each degree level, leaving to each province/territory the development of more detailed qualifications frameworks for degree credentials offered in its jurisdiction. Other credentials, such as associate degrees, special categories of applied degrees, and certificates and diplomas related both to undergraduate and postgraduate study will need to be articulated at the provincial/territorial level. The three broad degree categories are: Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree and Doctoral degree.

Quality assurance

Maintaining the quality of postsecondary programmes is primarily the responsibility of individual institutions, which must operate within legislative and policy frameworks established by their respective provincial or territorial governments, while each government has its own quality assurance mechanisms. For instance, some governments have created bodies for quality assurance as follows:

  • Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission;
  • Commision d’évaluation de l’enseignement collégiale du Québec (CEEC);
  • Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario;
  • Ontario College Quality Assurance Service (OCQAS);
  • Campus Alberta Quality Council;
  • Manitoba Council on Post-Secondary Education; and
  • British Columbia Education Quality Assurance
Sources:

  • Association of Canadian Community Colleges (2011). Transferability and Post-secondary Pathways, the Role of Canadian Colleges and Institutes. Ottawa: ACCC. Accessed: 09 September 2013.
  • Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (2009). Quality Assurance Practices in Canada: An Overview: Toronto: CICIC. Accessed: 09 September 2013.
  • Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (2009). Postsecondary Education Systems in Canada: An Overview. Toronto: CICIC. Accessed: 09 September 2013.
  • Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (2009). Directory of Universities, Colleges and Schools in the Provinces and Territories of Canada. Toronto: CICIC. Accessed: 09 September 2013.
  • Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (2007). Ministerial Statement on Quality Assurance of Degree Education in Canada. Toronto: CMEC.
  • UNESCO-IBE (2006). World Data on Education VI Ed. 2006/07. Canada. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.


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    6. Current and ongoing reforms, projects, and challenges

Current reforms and major projects

With close ties to business, industry and community partners, public colleges and institutes benefit from business and industry input for curriculum development through PACs. Committee members are an external selection of exceptional leaders in their fields with a diversity of programme-related experience and expertise. They identify current and future industry trends and shifts in the skills and knowledge graduates need to meet employer requirements. PACs ensure programmes are current and relevant to industry, business and society. In guiding the development of college programmes, they help to ensure graduates are well prepared to begin their careers. Most colleges and institutes must have a PAC already in place in order to obtain provincial/territorial government funding for a new programme.

Challenges

Post-secondary education in Canada exists in a constantly changing environment, which encompasses globalisation, increased population mobility, technology advancements, changing demographics, and the steadily evolving labour market. Three interconnected issues arise from these trends:

  • post-secondary capacity;
  • quality assurance; and
  • internationalisation and mobility.
Sources:

  • Association of Accrediting Agencies of Canada (2010). Association of Accrediting Agencies of Canada. Renfrew: AAAC. Accessed: 09 September 2013.
  • Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (2013). Quality Assurance at Canadian Universities. Ottawa: AUCC. Accessed: 09 September 2013.
  • Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (2009). Postsecondary Education Systems in Canada: An Overview. Toronto: CICIC. Accessed: 09 September 2013.
  • Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (2013). Academic Credential Assessment and Qualification Recognition Services. Toronto: CICIC. Accessed: 09 September 2013.
  • Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (2008). A Brand for Education In Canada FACT SHEET. Toronto: CMEC. Accessed: 09 September 2013.
  • Council of Ministries of Education, Canada (2007). Ministerial Statement on Quality Assurance of Degree Education in Canada. Toronto: CMEC. Accessed: 09 September 2013.
  • Council of Ministries of Education, Canada (2013). Postsecondary Education. Toronto: CMEC. Accessed: 09 September 2013.


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    7. Statistical information(*)

Population (Million)


2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

32.25
32.61
32.99
33.37
33.75
34.13
Average yearly population growth rate 2005 - 2010

+1.16 %


For comparison:
Global average yearly population growth rate 2005-2010: 1.17%
16.27 15.98
female male  
16.45 16.16
female male  
16.63 16.35
female male  
16.82 16.55
female male  
17.01 16.74
female male  
17.20 16.93
female male  

50.44 %

50.43 %

50.43 %

50.42 %

50.41 %

50.4 %



Table compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC based on UN ESA: World Population Prospects/ the 2010 revision

GDP per capita (currency: US$)


2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012


35 088

39 250

43 249

45 102

39 659

46 212

51 554

52 219


Table compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC based on World Bank database

Employment (Million)


total female male
Population

34.13

17.20 16.93
.
Labour Force
53.8%
Labour Force Rate

53.8%

50.5%

57.2%

Labour Force

18.37

8.68 (47.3%) 9.69 (52.7%)
Unemployment Rate

8.3%

7%

9.4%

.
Unemployment
8.3%
Unemployed

1.52

0.61 (39.9%) 0.91 (60.1%)


Youth Employment (Million)


total youth total female male
Population 34.13 4.39 (12.9%) 2.15 (49%) 2.24 (51%)
.
Labour Force Rate

65.3%

65.1%

65.4%

Labour Force 18.37 2.87 (15.6%) 1.40 (48.9%) 1.47 (51.1%)
Unemployment Rate

15.3%

12.3%

18.1%

.
Unemployed 1.52 0.44 (28.9%) 0.17 (39.5%) 0.27 (60.5%)
Unemployed
youth : total

28.9%

.

Table compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC base on ILO: Key indicators of the labour market


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8. Links to UNEVOC centres and TVET institutions

UNEVOC Centres

TVET Institutions



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9. References, bibliography, abbreviations

References

Further reading

Abbreviations

  • ACCC - Association of Canadian Community Colleges
  • CEEC - Commision d’évaluation de l’enseignement collégiale du Québec
  • CICIC - Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials
  • CMEC - Council of Ministers of Education, Canada
  • ESDC - Employment and Social Development Canada
  • NQF - National Qualifications Framework
  • OCQAS - Ontario College Quality Assurance Service
  • PACs - Program Advisory Committees
  • TVET - Technical and Vocational Educational and Training




    Published by: UNESCO-UNEVOC
    Publication Date: 2013-11-27
    Validated by: - Antonella Manca-Mangoff (International Council of Ministers of Education, Canada);
    - Association of Canadian Community Colleges



page date 2014-12-19

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