School enrolment trends in Canada (2006)

Lessons in Learning – September 26, 2006

While enrolment patterns can vary widely both within and between provinces, the fact is that there are simply not as many school-age children in Canada as there were just a few years ago. In particular, the last of the large cohort of children born to the baby boomers between 1980 and 1994 have graduated from the kindergarten to Grade 12 system, and the children taking their places are part of a much smaller cohort.

That decline in enrolment presents serious challenges for funding, program delivery, and staffing. At the same time, the authors of this paper note, declining enrolments also present opportunities.

Class sizes naturally grow smaller when enrolment declines. As long as schools receive funding to cover their increased per-student costs, declining enrolments can provide an opportunity to move toward smaller class sizes.

Lower enrolment numbers may also alleviate some of the pressure of the anticipated teacher shortages when large numbers of teachers from the baby boom generation start moving into retirement.

As well, declining enrolments offer opportunities for innovation. The authors point to efforts in some areas to attract international students, who pay fees that can help alleviate the financial pressure of declining enrolment.

They also make note of efforts in Newfoundland and Labrador, where distance learning allows students in every corner of the province to share virtual classrooms and take courses that their small schools would not be able to offer individually.

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APA citation
Canadian Council on Learning (CCL). School enrolment trends in Canada 2006. Web. 4 Dec. 2022 <>
Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) (2006). School enrolment trends in Canada. Retrieved December 4, 2022, from
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