Understanding Canadian Schools

A timeline of events that led to the structure of schools in Canada as we know them today.

The Development of Canada

Jaques Cartier discovers P.E.I

1534

Treaty of Paris

1763

The official end to the Seven Year War, during which Great Britain and France warred both in Europe and in the Americas for control over their colonies. The end result for Canada, was power given over by the French crown to the British crown.

The French are guaranteed rights to be allowed to practice Catholicism.

Canadian Confederation

1867

Canada becomes the Dominion of Canada. It is it's own country, not a British Colony.
Original provinces in Canada were: Ontario (formerly Upper Canada), Quebec (formerly Lower Canada), New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.

Manitoba Joins Confederation

1870

Northwest Territories join Confederation

1870

British Columbia joins Confederation

1871

P.E.I joins Confederation

1873

Yukon joins Confederation

1898

Saskatchewan joins Confederation

1905

Alberta joins Confederation

1905

Newfoundland joins Confederation

1949

creation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms

1982

Nunavut formed

1999

today

2013

The development of provincial control over schooling

School Act

1816

prescribed state involvement in education in Upper Canada until the 1840's

Rebellions in Upper Canada

1837

Led the Conservatives to believe that a central authority was needed to provide direction to local schools

Act of Union

1841

the two colonies of Canada (French and British) are united under one political banner

Common School Act

1841

-the first time central administrative authority is established over schooling in Upper Canada
- a chief superintendent of education is appointed to oversee the operation of elementary education in both sections of the colony

Education Act

1843
  • replaced the Common School Act of 1841
  • gave the newly appointed assistant superintendents (one for British Canada, one for French Canada) responsibility over allocation of funding, and for researching local educational organization

School Act

1846

revised in 1850
- shifted local power to centralized administrative structures

BNA Act

1867

The British North America Act

-prescribed a publicly funded, provincially controlled school system

Separate and dissentient school systems

An issue of controversy and debate was deciding whose views of citizenship to promote in public schools.

Common School Act

1841

The first time that the principle of the right to establish publicly funded separate schools using the principle of religious immunity is put into legislation.
- subject to provincial controls over curriculum and teachers, Protestant and Catholic parents were authorized to establish their own schools and receive public funding.

School Act revision

1850

Defined the powers of local trustees.
the chief superintendent and the Council of Public Instruction are made responsible to the Ministry of Education.

Constitution Act

1867

Separate schools are able to receive public funding, and are subject to the authority of the provincial government. This authority is constrained by the provisions of Section 93, and interpretations made by the court.

Federal control over schooling

The main areas of federal control over schooling in Canada are the education of Aboriginals as prescribed in treaties and various acts, as well as the education of Canada's military personnel.

Indian Act

1876