How Does the Canadian Education System Work?
In Canada, education is the responsibility of provincial governments. School boards are an important part of Canada’s political landscape. They have been partners with communities and provincial governments for as long as Canada has been a country. Canadian school boards have helped build a universally accessible, publicly funded education system that is among the best in the world.
Under the Canadian constitution, provincial governments decide what school boards do, how they get their money, and how much local autonomy they have. That’s why a school trustee in Manitoba, for example, has a somewhat different role than a school trustee or commissioner in Newfoundland or Quebec.
But the differences are not great. In most provinces, locally elected school trustees/commissioners set and administer an annual budget; hire and promote teachers and administrators; set local school policies; build schools; and purchase supplies.
Some provinces grant school boards the power to levy and collect local property taxes, while others provide all school board revenue from the provincial department of education. Where they do have the right to tax, school boards have more to say about how education dollars are spent in their communities.