Education Inflation in Canada

Blog, Education, Frontier Centre

Education expenditure in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba has grown significantly faster than all other provinces, although enrolment in Manitoba is declining. Those provinces spent more per pupil than all others for the period of 2005-2006, according to new data obtained from Statistics Canada. Moreover, in Canada the rising cost of education continues at a higher rate than inflation overall.

•Inflation adjusted expenditure on K-12 education increased by an annual average of 4% between the 2000-01 and 2005-06 school years.

• In current dollars, it cost on average $7,357 to educate a student in Canada over the 1999-2000 school year. By the years 2005-06, this cost had increased about 31.9 per cent to $9,704. Over the same period the consumer price index rose only 15%.

• Alberta spent the most per student, followed closely by Manitoba. However, Alberta had the least expensive education system when expenditures are measured as a percent of its economy. The most expensive system by that measure is New Brunswick, followed closely by Manitoba’s.

• While these numbers might have been explained by increasing student numbers, the only province that showed an increase in enrolment was Alberta. All other provinces showed declining numbers.

• Despite increasing education costs in Manitoba, little evidence exists that this expenditure is translating into improved outcomes.

• Part of the explanation for this inconsistency may be that educator remuneration is absorbing the extra cash. Teachers in British Columbia and Ontario make more money, but when figured as a per student cost, only Ontario pays its teachers more.

Source: “Total expenditures per student in public elementary and secondary schools, Canada, provinces and territories, 1999/2000 to 2005/2006 (in current dollars),”Culture, Tourism and the Centre for Education Statistics Summary, Public School Indicators for the Provinces and Territories, 1999/2000 to 2005/2006, Statistics Canada, Catalogue no. 81-595-M — No. 067

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