98th Meeting of the Council of Ministers of Education


WINNIPEG, September 24, 2010 ― Ministers of education concluded the 98th meeting of their long-standing intergovernmental body, the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), today in Winnipeg.

CMEC 98 provided education ministers with an opportunity to engage on priorities outlined in Learn Canada 2020, their joint ministerial declaration and guiding document, with particular focus on Aboriginal education, international education, postsecondary education, and education-related data and research.

Aboriginal Education

Aboriginal education remains a priority for CMEC. Ministers continue to work collaboratively to eliminate the gap in academic achievement and graduation rates between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students.

Ministers’ latest exchange on Aboriginal education was in follow-up to the 2009 CMEC Summit on Aboriginal Education and to the August 2010 meeting between national Aboriginal organizations (NAOs) and premiers, after which premiers agreed to continue to work with the federal government and Aboriginal communities to improve educational outcomes.

The meeting of CMEC with NAO leaders will be rescheduled to a time when NAO leaders can be present to participate in discussions on improving Aboriginal education. Ministers underscored their commitment and interest in continued engagement with NAOs and reiterated their invitation to NAO leaders to join with them in the coming months to discuss the needs of Aboriginal learners.

Discussions at the meeting focused on opportunities to engage with NAOs and the federal government, on the issue of funding for Aboriginal education, and on the need for more comparable data on Aboriginal students in order to track progress. Ministers agreed to encourage the federal government to use its current review of its postsecondary student‑support program as an opportunity to commit to improved funding for all Aboriginal students. They also agreed to work with stakeholders to identify and share best practices in Aboriginal education.

 “Our continuing dialogue on Aboriginal education provides us with a better understanding of the needs of all First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples, and enriches our ongoing work with regional Aboriginal organizations in each province and territory,” said the Honourable Rob Norris, Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration for Saskatchewan.

International Education

International education was also a major theme at CMEC 98, signalling ministers’ intent to further enhance their role as Canada’s voice for education on the international stage.

Ministers discussed next steps on the August 2010 directive from the Council of the Federation (COF) to further develop an international education marketing plan by March 2011 for use at the May 2011 conference of NAFSA:Association of International Educators in Vancouver.

“Canada is becoming a destination of choice for international students,” said the Honourable Diane McGifford, Chair of CMEC and Manitoba’s Minister of Advanced Education and Literacy and Minister responsible for International Education. “We now have a pan-Canadian education brand, Imagine Education in/au Canada, which was developed by provinces and territories in cooperation with the federal Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. We are pleased to be working with our provincial and territorial colleagues from immigration as well as with a coalition of stakeholders — schools, colleges, universities and NGOs —  to bring the best of Canadian education to the world and even more international students to Canada. We will also be working with the federal government to address key barriers in attracting international students.”

Ministers agreed on Canada’s priorities for the upcoming OECD Education Ministerial Meeting, Investing in Human and Social Capital - New Challenges, in Paris.  Canada will engage with other OECD member countries and key emerging economies on four different themes:

  • tackling the effects of the economic crisis on education;
  • matching skills to new needs;
  • equipping effective teachers for the 21st century; and,
  • reinforcing the social and economic benefits of education.

Ministers also discussed the global movement to integrate 21st century competencies into public education. OECD and other global economic and social think tanks have identified 21st century competencies such as creativity, innovation, collaboration, and digital competency as skills people will need in the knowledge economy. Ministers will explore what they could do together to advance the adoption of 21st century learning models in Canada.

Postsecondary education

Ministers discussed the important role postsecondary education plays in supporting economic competitiveness and social development. “We know that in order for Canada to succeed, investment in high quality postsecondary education is necessary for individuals to contribute to the global economy,” said Minister McGifford.

Ministers also discussed key postsecondary education priorities going forward, including access, quality, and transitions to the labour market.

Education Data and Research

Education data and research continue to be a major focus of education ministers. Particular attention was paid to the value of solid, timely, and comparable data on education in Canada. Ministers emphasized the need for robust funding for data and research to support improved student outcomes. Ministers invest extensively in data and research, and also look to the federal government to provided sustainable and ongoing federal support, in particular for surveys such as the Postsecondary Student Information System (PSIS).

While in Winnipeg, ministers continued work on other priorities outlined in Learn Canada 2020, including literacy, official languages, and education for sustainable development.

About CMEC

Founded in 1967, CMEC is the collective voice of Canada’s ministers of education. It provides leadership in education at the pan-Canadian and international levels and contributes to the fulfillment of the constitutional jurisdiction for education conferred on the provinces and territories. For more information, visit us at www.cmec.ca.


Colin Bailey
Director, Communications
Cell: 416-804-6548
Tel.: 416-962-8100, ext. 259
E-mail: c.bailey@cmec.ca