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Learning — Overview

Learning contributes to the social and economic well-being of individuals and of the countries in which they live. Education and training provide individuals with the knowledge, skills, and competencies they need to participate effectively in society and the economy. Participation in education and training can offer personal pleasure and pride in one's accomplishments, and open the door to new opportunities that can improve one's standard of living.

Postsecondary education, life-long learning, and opportunities such as job-related training enable Canadians to acquire knowledge and skills that ultimately contribute to a high quality of life in Canada.


  • Nearly 54% Canadians aged 15 and over reported having trade certificates, college diplomas, or university degrees in 2012. Canada also had the highest proportion of postsecondary graduates (51%) of people aged 25 to 64 among member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the G7 in 2010.
  • Approximately one in three adult workers in Canada participated in formal job-related training in 2008.
  • In 2012, 51.5% of Canadians aged 16 to 65 years had literacy skills of Level 3 or above meaning that just over half of Canadians had literacy levels considered sufficient for a person to function well in today's society.
  • In 2005-2006, participation rates for college and trade programs were roughly twice as high for those aged 18 to 21(18%) than for those aged 22 to 24 (9%).
  • Between 1990-1991 and 2005-2006, the increase in university participation rates among women aged 18 to 24 was approximately twice the increase for men.
  • Canada's drop-out rate from high school has declined steadily since 1990-1991, reaching a low of 7.8% for the 2011-2012 academic year. The decline was most evident in the Atlantic provinces, where drop-out rates fell by more than 50%.
  • Canada was above the OECD average for student access to computers in 2003, but was below the OECD average for students' frequent use of computers at school.

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