The Ontario Ministry of Education is the department of the Government of Ontario that decides on the province’s education policy, including assessment policies. Led by the Minister of Education, the Ministry makes decisions about funding given to school boards, maintains a province-wide curriculum, sets guidelines for trustees, principals and school board officials, sets requirements for diplomas and certificates, and prepares lists of approved learning materials such as textbooks.
Every publicly-funded school in Ontario belongs to a school board. Run by elected officials known as trustees, each school board is responsible for the financial and organizational operations of its schools. Schools are grouped together into boards based on location, language and whether they are Catholic or public institutions. Ontario currently has a total of 72 District School Boards that can be broken down into four systems:
- English-language public boards (31)
- English-language Catholic boards (29)
- French-language public boards (4)
- French-language Catholic boards (8)
Each school board is responsible for determining the number, size and location of its schools, building and equipping its schools, developing education programs, managing funds, supervising school operations, hiring and supporting teachers, approving textbooks, making sure its schools follow the Ontario Education Act, as well as a number of other responsibilities. For more information on Ontario’s school boards, including maps showing their locations, please consult the Ministry of Education’s website by clicking here.
In addition to the 72 school boards, there are 33 school authorities in the province. School authorities are generally very small and geographically isolated, often consisting of only one school, with very few students and a small number of teachers.
The people that make up the governing body of each school board are known as trustees. Trustees are elected through a local election process. When a trustee is elected to a board, he or she serves a three-year term. If they wish to continue serving on a school board after this term, they must be re-elected by the public. As members of the school board, trustees help decide school board policy and manage finances. They also ensure that schools have the required curriculum materials, facilities and staff.
Founded by the Teaching Profession Act of 1944, the Ontario Teachers’ Federation (OTF) is the professional organization representing teachers in Ontario. It is made up of four affiliated groups, sometimes referred to as “professional associations” or “teacher unions”:
des enseignantes et des enseignants
AEFO represents all teachers
who work in the French language
(also known as “francophone”)
publicly funded schools in Ontario.
- The Elementary
Teachers' Federation of Ontario
ETFO represents all teachers
who work in the public elementary
English language schools in Ontario.
- The Ontario English
Catholic Teachers' Association
OECTA represents all elementary and secondary teachers
who work in the Catholic English
language schools in Ontario.
- The Ontario Secondary
School Teachers' Federation
OSSTF represents all teachers
who work in the public secondary
English language schools in Ontario.
teachers who work in Ontario's
publicly-funded school system
belong to one of these four
organizations as well as OTF.
include promoting and advancing
the cause of public education,
raising the status of the teaching
profession and promoting and
advancing the interests of teachers.
OTF also represents teachers
and all other members of the
Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan
in the administration of the
Plan and management of the pension
fund, and acts as the link between
teachers and the Ontario Ministry
of Education. OTF’s affiliates
are responsible for negotiating
teachers’ salaries and
benefits, protecting teachers’ working
conditions and ensuring that all
demands on teachers are made
fairly and according to collective agreements.
The Ontario College of Teachers is the largest professional self-regulatory body in Canada with more than 200,000 members. It was founded in 1996 to license and regulate teaching in the public interest. The College ensures the province’s teachers are qualified and competent, and that students are safe in their care. The College is responsible for ensuring new members are qualified to teach in Ontario and for accrediting teacher education programs at Ontario universities. The College promotes ongoing professional learning and ensures its quality and accessibility all across the province in both English and French. The College is also responsible for investigating complaints related to professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity.