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Almanac of Post-Secondary Education 2019

The CAUT Almanac of Post-Secondary Education in Canada is your source for the most current statistical information available on post-secondary education in Canada. The Almanac provides statistics on university and college finances; academic staff salaries and gender; student enrolment and graduation rates; student-teacher ratios; university research funding; and national, provincial, and international comparisons.

*For previous editions of the Almanac, please contact our research team

Table of Contents

1  Canada and the World

When compared to other members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Canada does very well on one indicator, the number of adults with tertiary education. On other key indicators such as the teacher/student ratio, advanced degrees, research intensity and public funding, Canada is middling at best. On some indicators, Canada is near the bottom – for example, Canada is 26 out of 32 OECD countries in women’s PhD attainment. According to most recent data, Canada ranked 27th overall in 2016 in terms of public funding for post-secondary education and 16th for student-teacher ratios. The country’s annual growth rate on research and development spending is the second lowest since 2000. New OECD data will tell us if Canada’s investments in basic research in 2018 have moved the needle at all in terms of research competitiveness.

2  Canada and the Provinces

Federal spending on post-secondary education remains stagnant at 0.2% of GDP, impacting tuition fees and expenditure patterns in each province. While there is provincial variation on post-secondary education finances, all provinces are increasingly reliant on private sources of funds, particularly international student tuition to make up for funding gaps. This section also looks at presidential compensation, adding in college data for the first time.

3  Academic Staff

The average salary increased by just over 2% for all permanent faculty at universities in 2017/18. The number of permanent faculty members in universities and colleges in Canada is not keeping up. Although progress has been made over the years, there continues to be differences in the average salaries of full-time university teachers across sex at most institutions. Men continue to earn more than women, particularly at the ranks of full and assistant professor. Women are better represented than 10 years ago, but are overrepresented in the lower ranks, accounting to just over a quarter of full professors. Data also shows that academic employment is becoming more and more precarious with the proportion of university professors reporting permanent declining from a peak of 80% in 1999 to 71% in 2017.

4  Students

Student enrolment in Canada has exploded over the past decades with full-time university enrolment going from 780,000 to more than a million students between 2005 and 2015. Undergraduate tuition has followed the same ascending curve increasing three fold from an average of $1,700 to over $7,000 in 2018. At $10,028, Ontario has the highest average tuition in the country and Newfoundland and Labrador the lowest with $2,776.

5  Research

Data confirms that social sciences and humanities are underfunded through the granting councils. While 40% of full-time university-based researchers teach in those disciplines, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) only received 13% of federal council funds in 2017. And although the number of female university researchers awarded a Canada Research Chair has increased, equity has not been achieved. In 2018, two out of every five Tier 2 chair and just one in five Tier 1 chairs where held by a woman.

Technical Notes

Excel Files

All tables and figures are available as downloadable Microsoft Excel files.


Unless otherwise noted, the definitions below reflect the population universe used when referenced in the tables.
College: Includes community college or institute of applied arts and technology or CEGEP.
Post-secondary: Includes university, community college or institute of applied arts and technology or CEGEP, and trade/vocational schools, but excludes business/commercial schools.

italics :    Estimated results

p:     Preliminary estimate
r:    Revised estimate
-:    No results or results unavailable
--:    Results statistically insignificant
x:    Results suppressed for confidentiality
E    Use with caution


FTE = Full-time equivalent [(full-time figures) plus (part-time figures divided by 3.5)]
FYE = Fiscal year ending
GDP = Gross Domestic Product
SSHRC = Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
NSERC = Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council
CIHR = Canadian Institutes of Health Research
CFI = Canada Foundation for Innovation

Throughout the CAUT Almanac of Post-Secondary Education, reference is often made to dollars adjusted for inflation. The format followed (for example, $ 2013) indicates the year to which all other years have been standardized