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Ontario’s Education and Skills Performance Ranks Among Best in the World

Ottawa, June 26, 2014 – Ontario gets an overall "B" grade for its education and skills performance, according to The Conference Board of Canada’s first "How Canada Performs: Education and Skills" report card to compare the 10 provinces and 16 peer countries.

“Ontario performs well on most education and skills indicators,” said Michael Bloom, Vice-President, Industry and Business Strategy. “The province has a highly-educated population and excels at ensuring that the gap between the skills performance of immigrant youth relative to Canadian-born youth is small, which is significant considering that the province is home to the largest share of immigrants.”

Ontario ranks 4th among the 26 jurisdictions covered in this analysis. Japan and Finland top the rankings. British Columbia, in third position overall, is the only Canadian province to rank ahead of Ontario.


  • Ontario gets straight "A"s for high school, college and university completion.
  • Ontario excels at achieving good results for immigrant students. It has the smallest gap in measures of test scores between Canadian-born and immigrant students.
  • Like most of its provincial counterparts, Ontario has a poor record on the number of Ph.D graduates.

Ontario earns "A" or "A+" grades on 6 of the 23 indicators. It gets "A" or “A+” grades on the proportion of the population aged 25-64 that have completed high school, proportion of the population aged 25-64 that have completed college and proportion of the population aged 25-64 that have completed university — the only jurisdiction of the 26 examined to do so.

Ontario has the best performance among the provinces on the indicator measuring equity in learning outcomes— which is reflected in the relatively small gap between immigrant and Canadian-born students on the math section of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

Ontario students generally do well on the PISA test measuring reading, math and science skills. In particular, the province gets an "A" grade for having a low proportion of 15 year-old students with inadequate reading skills. However, the province only earns "C" grades for the proportion of Ontario students who excel in math and science.

Results for adult skills are similarly mixed. Ontario earns an “B” on the proportion of adults with high-level problem solving skills, and "B" and "C" grades on the remaining five indicators of adult literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving skills in technology-rich environments.

Ontario performs slightly better than the national average on the number of graduates in science, math, computer science and engineering graduates in 2011, earning a “C” grade, and it matches the national “D” grade on the number of PhD graduates in 2011.

Ontario has the smallest gender gap among the provinces — 87 men completed tertiary education for every 100 women. However, Ontario is an average performer in attracting international post-secondary students. Results are also average on the indicator of resilient students — those students who are disadvantaged socio-economically yet score well on the PISA math test.

How Canada Performs is an ongoing research program at The Conference Board of Canada to help leaders identify relative strengths and weaknesses in Canada’s socio-economic performance. The How Canada Performs website presents data and analysis on Canada’s performance compared to peer countries in six performance categories: Economy, Innovation, Environment, Education and Skills, Health, and Society.

Released today, and building on previous "How Canada Performs" analyses, the Education and Skills report card is the second of six to be produced over the next year on Canadian and provincial socio-economic performance. The Economy report card was published in May 2014. The remaining report cards will follow over the next year.

This is the first year that provincial rankings are included in the report cards. Data sources and report card methodology can be found on the How Canada Performs website.

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