student enrolment

Facts belie misguided perceptions about public school spending in Canada

Spending on B.C. public schools up despite dwindling enrolment

Public school enrolment in B.C. fell 9.1 per cent between 2005/06 and 2014/15.

Per student spending in Ontario up more than 23%, despite claims to the contrary

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Education Spending and Public Student Enrolment in Canada, 2017 Edition


  • To accurately understand education spending, both enrolment changes and the effects of price changes must be considered.
  • For Canada as a whole, over the last decade (2005–06 to 2014–15), the increase in per-student spending in public schools is 22.3 percent (once adjustments have been made for inflation). Specifically, per-student education spending in public schools, accounting for changes in prices, increased from $10,339 to $12,646 between 2005–06 and 2014–15.
  • Prince Edward Island saw the largest increase in per-student spending in public schools (after adjusting for inflation): 41.8 percent, from $8,891 in 2005–06 to $12,610 in 2014–15. The smallest increase was in British Columbia (14.0 percent). Per-student spending in public schools in all 10 provinces increased over this period (after accounting for the effects of inflation).
  • Saskatchewan had the highest level of per-student spending among the provinces in 2014–15, at $15,040 per student. It also had the second highest increase in inflation-adjusted per-student spending over the period (37.2 percent).
  • In aggregate, Canada increased education spending in public schools by $11.2 billion more between 2005–06 and 2014–15 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 would have been 17.6 percent lower.

English public schools becoming less popular in Saskatchewan

An increasing share of Saskatchewan students attend independent schools for their K-12 education.