MET:Teacher Education in Canada

From UBC Wiki

Teacher education program is a program of education, research and training of persons to teach from pre-primary to higher education level. It is also defined as the study of teaching and learning and its application to the education of people. The main purpose of this field of study is to develop an understanding of the theoretical bases of education and its role in society, the factors which influence learning, teaching policies and educational processes. It also involves developing an ability to plan, implement and evaluate appropriate curricula and learning programs and the assessment and reporting of student achievement.

Teacher education program has a continuum that includes initial teacher education, induction and continuing professional development.

  • Initial teacher education
  • Induction
  • Professional Development

History of Teacher education program in Canada

School Teacher's Cabin Marlboro Alberta 1930s

According to Scott, "the preparation of teachers in Canada varies from province to province and from institution to institution. Variation follows logically from the historical development of and the legal framework for education in the country. The British North America Act of 1867 (called the Constitution Act since 1982) established a federation of provinces and placed education exclusively within the jurisdiction of the province. This fact of history explains why Canada is the only industrialized country without a national department of education or any mechanism to regulate national policy for education" (cited by Wilson,p.1). Across the country, the provincial government or the College of Teachers sets guidelines for certification and universities to deliver the education program. Mainly there have been two program models for pre-service teachers as follows:

Consecutive: The consecutive model is typically a one or two year program which can be done after an undergraduate degree. This concurrent program makes it possible for mature students and experienced professionals to enter in a career of teaching. Therefore through this route many people enter teaching as a second or third year. This program separates professional studies from academic studies; it assumes that studies in the arts and sciences provide an appropriate foundation for studies in education and provides the content background for teaching.

Concurrent: In the concurrent model students pursue their teacher education studies alongside of their academic studies. In the most common concurrent pattern, teacher education is integrated into the first or second year of a four or five year program. Students declare teaching as their career choice and teacher education as their program destination when they apply to university. Faculties of Education work closely with university undergraduate departments in developing the program.

From either model students receive a bachelor of education (B.Ed.) degree in recognition of completing their professional studies. All programs regardless of which model, require practice teaching under the supervision of experienced practitioners.

Initial teacher education

It is recognized worldwide that teachers are the backbone of any educational organization. They have the greatest influence on student’s achievement. Training, education and development are considered as the key complementary elements in initial teacher education. In Canada, the initial teacher education is considered as the entry point or the first stage into teaching profession. In this program pre service teachers acquire pedagogical and content knowledge with practical field experience which is an integral part of this program. Field experiences help pre service teachers to gain wealth of knowledge about learners, assessment techniques and curriculum planning.

Teacher Education in Quebec

Teacher Certification in Quebec is the responsibility of Ministère de l'éducation, du loisir et du sport (MELS). No teaching license is required to teach in college and university institutions. Each post-secondary teaching institution hires its own teaching staff and evaluates their teaching qualifications according to its own rules. In Quebec, McGill University offers a teacher education program.

Teacher Education in Ontario

Teacher certification in Ontario is the responsibility of The Ontario College of Teachers. Young (2004) explains that, in 1996 the Ontario government moved to create a similar self-regulating body with the passage of the College of Teachers Act (p.7). The Ontario College of Teachers, according to its' mandate, was established to regulate and govern the province’s teaching profession, with responsibility for developing standards of teaching practice, regulating teacher certification and professional development, and accrediting teacher education programs (Young and Levin 2002, p.278.) In Ontario, all pre-service teacher education programs offered by Ontario's faculties of education must be accredited by the College. Teacher Education providers in Ontario are;

  • Brock University
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Lakehead University
  • Laurentian University
  • Niagara University
  • Nipissing University
  • OISE/University of Toronto
  • Queen’s University
  • Redeemer University College
  • Trent University
  • Tyndale University College
  • University of Ontario Institute of Technology
  • University of Ottawa
  • Western University
  • York University
  • Wilfrid Laurier University
  • University of Windsor

Teacher Education in British Columbia

According to Young (2004), British Columbia became the first province to make its teachers self-regulating when the Teacher Profession Act (1987) established the British Columbia College of Teachers (p.6). This Act in essence assigned to the College sole responsibility for governing the profession’s standards of entry, discipline and practice; and in doing so separated these activities from other welfare and union interests pursued by the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation. The teacher education program in British Columbia is offered by ;

  • Simon Fraser University
  • Thompson Rivers University
  • Trinity Western University
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of British Columbia Okanagan
  • University of Northern British Columbia
  • University of Victoria
  • University of the Fraser Valley
  • Vancouver Island University (formerly Malaspina University-College)

Teacher Education program of Saskatchewan

The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF) is responsible for teacher licensing. The teacher education program in Saskatchewan is offered by;

  • University of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon)
  • University of Regina

Teacher Education Program of Alberta

Professional standards branch of Alberta education is responsible for the evaluation of credentials and issuance of certification for teachers in Alberta. Certification is a two-step process, in the first phase new teachers are given an Alberta Interim Professional Certificate. When the holder of an Alberta Interim Professional Certificate has taught in the province's school system (public, separate, private, charter, francophone, and band schools), for a minimum of two school years (or equivalent), a written recommendation for permanent certification is made by the Superintendent of Schools or other Officer acceptable to the Minister of Education confirming that the teacher’s practice consistently demonstrates the teaching quality and meets the standard. Teacher Education providers in Alberta:

  • Ambrose University College
  • Canadian University College
  • Concordia University College of Alberta
  • The King's University College
  • Mount Royal University
  • St. Mary's University College
  • University of Alberta
  • University of Calgary
  • University of Lethbridge

Teacher education Program in Manitoba

In Manitoba, teacher candidate has to be certified by Manitoba Education professional certification unit which is a department of Education, Citizenship, and Youth. Teacher Education programs in Manitoba are offered by;

  • University of Manitoba
  • University College of the North
  • University of Winnipeg
  • The Canadian Mennonite University
  • Collège universitaire de Saint-Boniface (French instruction)
  • Brandon University

Teacher Education in New Brunswick

Teacher Certification in New Brunswick is the responsibility of provisional ministry of education which is also called the department of Education and Early Childhood Development. In Fredericton the first teacher training college was opened on February 10, 1848. Teacher education program in New Brunswick are offered at;

  • University of New Brunswick-Fredericton and Saint John
  • St. Thomas University
  • Université de Moncton

Teacher Education in Newfoundland and Labrador

The Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Education is responsible for teacher licensing. Teacher Education program in Newfoundland and Labrador is offered by Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Teacher Education in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Department of Education and Culture is responsible for Teacher Certification. Teacher education programs are offered at St Francis Xavier University, Mount Saint Vincent University, Acadia University and Dalhousie University

Teacher Education in Northwest Territories

The Department of Education, Culture and Employment is the regulating body for teacher certification in the NWT. To be eligible for certification, individuals must hold certification in the original jurisdiction of their teacher education program.

Teacher Education in Nunavut

The Nunavut department of education is responsible for teacher qualification and certifications. The seven member Teacher Certification Board is made up of representatives nominated by the Yukon Teachers’ Association, the Department of Education, school councils and Yukon College. The teacher certification board evaluates and sets the standards of training and experience required for Yukon teachers. It can also make recommendations to the Minister of Education on the certification of any person whose status, with respect to qualifications, is referred to the Teacher Certification Board.


File:Learning never stops.jpg
Learning never stops

Research has shown that mentoring/induction programs arise primarily from a perceived need to bridge the knowledge/experience gap. There are different induction programs in Canada to support the beginning teachers for a smooth transition from their post-secondary teacher preparation program into the classroom. . In some provinces of Canada, it is mandatory to participate in the induction program. According to the Ontario Ministry of Education, “The New Teacher Induction Program (NTIP) supports the growth and professional development of new teachers”. Induction programs help beginning teachers and second year teachers develop the requisite knowledge, skills and attributes to meet the diverse demands and complexities of teaching. According to Alberta Ministry of Education, the program to support new teachers is in place since 2009.

Professional Development

File:Learning together in PD.jpg
Learning together in PD

Professional development also referred as staff development is either formal and informal learning through conferences, seminars, workshops or collaborative learning among teams. Mizell (2010) suggest the purpose of professional development is to improve learning for educators and students (p.10).

Interesting facts

  • According to Ontario induction program about 20% of new teachers leave the profession in the first three years.
  • The number of men in teaching profession continues to be declining
  • Canada spends about 7% of its GDP on education and universal publicly funded schooling is available from Grades 1 through 12 (Statistics Canada, 2003).
  • In some provinces like Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan and the territories (Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut) denominational minorities run separate school systems. Majority of which are Roman Catholic.
  • According to the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, the first teacher training college was opened on February 10, 1848 in Fredericton.
  • Université de Moncton is Canada’s largest French-language university outside Québec which offer teacher education program.
  • In Saskatchewan, all teacher candidates who are enrolled in a teacher education program automatically become a members of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF).
  • During fall of each year conferences held in Saskatoon and Regina to support new teachers.


British Columbia Teacher Education Program. British Columbia, Ministry of Education. Retrieved from;

Broad, K. & Evans, M., (2006). A review of literature on professional development content and delivery modes for experienced teachers. Prepared for the Ontario Ministry of Education.

Educators. Northwest Territories Education, Culture and Employment. Retrieved from;

Education Sector Workforce Planning. Alberta Education. Retrieved from;

Formation des enseignants. Education Loisir et Sport, Quebec. Retrieved from;

Learning never stops [graphic] Retrieved March 09, 2014, from:

Learning together in PD [graphic] Retrieved March 09, 2014, from:

Mizell, H. (2001). Why professional development matters. Learning Forward. Retrieved from;

Provincial Archives of New Brunswick. New Brunswick, Canada. Retrieved from;

School Teacher's Cabin Marlboro Alberta 1930s [graphic] Retrieved March 09, 2014, from:

Teacher Education Program Providers. Retrieved from;

Teacher Certification in Alberta. Alberta Education. Retrieved from;

Teacher board [graphic] Retrieved March 09, 2014, from:

Teacher Education. Saskatchewan Teachers Federation. Retrieved from;

Teaching profession. Immigration et Communautés culturelles, Quebec. Retrieved from;

The New Teacher Induction Program (NTIP). Ontario Ministry of Education. Retrieved from;

Université de Moncton (Campus de Moncton). Retrieved from;

Wilson, S. Initial teacher education in Canada- the practicum. Retrieved from;

Young, J. (2004). Systems of educating teachers: case studies in the governance of initial teacher education. Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy, 32.