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Enrolments and Education Spending in Public Schools in Canada

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Enrolments and Education Spending in Public Schools in Canada

To accurately understand education spending, enrolment changes must be included. For Canada as a whole, the increase in per-student spending in public schools after accounting for the effects of price changes was 30.8% between 2003-04 and 2012-13; from $9,231 to $12,070.

Saskatchewan saw the largest increase in per-student spending in public schools after adjusting for price changes. It experienced a 43.8% increase from $9,929 in 2003-04 to $14,282 in 2012-13. Neighbouring Manitoba recorded the smallest increase (14.9%).

In aggregate, Canada increased education spending in public schools by $13.8 billion from 2003-04 to 2012-13 more than was necessary to account for enrolment and price changes. If per student spending in public schools had remained constant over this period, the aggregate amount of education spending in public schools in 2012-13 would have been 22.8% lower. Such increases in spending need to be considered in the context of the overall finances of each of the provinces. For example, four provinces (British Columbia, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador) would have moved from a deficit position to a surplus in 2012-13 had spending on education in public schools been held constant for the 2003-04 to 2012-13 period (adjusting only for price and enrolment changes).


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