In 2015, the Canadian School Boards Association set out to create a cross country portrait of the structure of school boards, as well as general information in the Canadian Public Education System. The information provided was compiled by the school boards in the various jurisdictions as well as from ministry of education reports.  It has been used extensively to demonstrate the difference in structure and services provided by school boards and provincial / territorial associations.  For the first time, we were able to compare student enrollment, the number of school boards and trustee/commissioner representation across the country.

In 2018, another research initiative was established in order to further understand the specific demographics of trustees* serving our public school boards in our local communities. We hoped to develop a clear picture of the average person who represents their community on a school board;

  • age,
  • level of education,
  • how many hours they work on school business,
  • gender distribution,
  • if they were parents,
  • their profession; and
  • what did they earn in this role.

In contrast to the occasional portrait painted in partisan politics, we have discovered that representation on Canadian School Boards is diverse, with a cross section of educated professionals, former educators, with years of different experiences and guidance to offer. While serving on any kind of board is difficult with a young family many trustees are also parents of children in the system.  The data show that the leadership provided by school boards is fully representative of the communities they serve. 

In some jurisdictions, similar surveys had been completed in previous years and in those cases, we used the data already available.  However, for the majority of trustees surveyed, the survey was administered by the provincial/territorial association which we compiled to make a cross country comparison. Over 1300 answers or over 37% of Canadian trustees in nine jurisdictions were compiled.

It is important to note that there is no federal department / ministry of education, therefore the structure in each province may vary, and the method of obtaining this data ranges from sources at provincial school board associations to provincial ministries of education. The data listed in the Education Structure part of the report was collected in 2015, while the data listed in the Trustee Demographic part was collected in 2018.

Please view the full report here: 

Cross Country Overview: Canadian School Board Structure and Trustee Profile