Advanced Education in Canada:  Four ‘I’s on the World


Canada enjoys a strong, predominantly public post-secondary education (PSE) system. The system includes a wide range of institutional models, ranging from celebrated community colleges to outstanding arts and technical institutions to some of the world’s top research universities. While PSE is the primary responsibility of provincial governments, which are the main source of public operating funds, the national government is the main provider of research funding.

While there is remarkable diversity in the missions, structures and mandates of Canada’s PSE institutions, the overall system’s recent development has been informed by common commitments to four ‘I’s: Internationalism; Interculturalism; Indigenous rights; and Innovation. The first two ‘I’s reflect Canada’s support for openness and inclusivity – our abiding conviction that international engagement and intercultural understanding strengthen Canadian society, while broadening and enriching education and research. The third ‘I’ speaks to importance of human rights, and the particular role that education has to play in enabling Indigenous Peoples to achieve their full potential. The fourth ‘I’ speaks to the priority being placed by Canadian governments on the modernization of Canada’s economy, and recognition of the critical role of the PSE sector in developing the talent and generating the knowledge that the country requires to build a globally competitive innovation economy.