Apart from the scenery and diverse environment, Canada is renowned for its high-quality education system, attracting students from around the world. Canadian universities and colleges offer a broad range of programs across various disciplines, with a focus on innovation and research.

English and French are the primary languages of instruction at Canadian institutions. Proficiency in either language is often a requirement for admission depending on where one is studying since some provinces like Quebec are dominantly French. While the country offers various educational and professional opportunities, some existing drawbacks hinder the delivery of quality and affordable education.

Understanding the pros and cons of the Canadian education system will help you decide whether to pursue higher education in Canada or not. Let’s look at that in detail in the article below.

How Is the Canadian Education System Different from Other Countries?

Canada puts a strong emphasis on education and has invested in a state-run system of public education that is decentralized. While education in most countries is run by the national government, Canada’s education system is run by individual provinces and territories. You will find the educational regulations in Alberta different from the ones in Ontario.

While the official languages in Canada are English and French, some institutions like those found in Quebec teach in French only. This provides more options for students with sufficient knowledge in any of the languages to apply to their school of choice depending on the language of instruction. This is unlike many countries that have one language of instruction making it rigid for other language speakers to study there.

Do International Students Face Extreme Challenges While Studying in Canada?

Just like many other countries, international students face several challenges while studying in Canada, with the most obvious being adjusting to a new culture. This involves having to learn the country’s social norms and traditions like handshaking or speaking in English/French all the time. The key to overcoming this is having an open mind and engaging with the locals or participating in cultural events to learn and better understand the culture.

Additionally, studying abroad in Canada can be quite expensive for international students, especially those without any financial aid support. With the cost of living being high, especially in cities like Vancouver or Toronto, international students may encounter financial challenges when it comes to taking care of their educational and living expenses. Try to look for ways to cut down expenses like applying for work-study programs, scholarships, and cutting out unnecessary expenses.

Pros and Cons of the Canadian Education System

What are the Advantages of the Canadian Education System?

Canada continues to receive more international students each year thanks to its emphasis on quality education. For prospective students, there are so many advantages of the Canadian education system that international students would find fascinating. Let’s look at some of them below.

1. Diverse and multicultural environment

Canada is one of the most diverse countries in the world and emphasizes fostering a multicultural environment in its institutions. If you are planning to study in Canada, you will be sure to meet so many students coming from different countries. This is what contributes to the rich and diverse learning environment in many Canadian institutions.

2. Research opportunities

Canada is known to be a frontrunner when it comes to research and innovation. Institutions like the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia are some of the top universities that actively engage in groundbreaking research across various fields. Students have the opportunity to participate in research projects and benefit from state-of-the-art facilities.

With its extensive research facilities, Canadian universities outrank some of the top universities in the world for their research output year after year. Some universities and the government offer research scholarships and also encourage students to come up with their research ideas and topics.

3. English and French instruction

The primary languages of instruction in Canadian universities are English and French. Many international students come from countries that speak French or English either as a national language or second language. This has made it easier for students from other countries and regions to integrate into the country’s education system with ease. You will find English-speaking provinces like Ontario and British Columbia ideal if you want to study in English.

However, if you are looking to study in French, then provinces like Quebec and Montreal often provide instruction in French.

4. Work opportunities and pathways to permanent residence

The Canadian education system allows for pathways to transition to permanent residence after completing studies, an element that is attractive to international students. Programs like the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) enable students to gain valuable Canadian work experience. Additionally, students can work part-time during their studies for up to 20 hours a week to support themselves financially. Getting employment is one of the ways you can apply for permanent residence.

What are the Drawbacks of the Canadian Education System?

While Canada’s education system has many advantages and is attractive to international students, it still experiences challenges that affect its effective delivery. Let us look at some of the drawbacks that hinder the educational system from being the best globally.

1. Lack of technical training

There are so many universities compared to technical or vocational institutes in Canada hence the insufficient technical training experienced by many students. While students receive strong academic training in universities, the education does not offer the necessary technical or job-ready skills needed for the workplace. This creates a disconnect between education and employment making it hard for students to pursue proper careers after their studies.

2. Heavy academic workload

With the education standards in Canada being high, a lot is expected from students to maintain them. You will find students engaging in several assessments, exams, and homework which can be quite exhausting. It may make it difficult for students to balance studies with part-time opportunities, hence missing out on ways to cut their educational expenses. Sometimes, the pressure from the workload can lead to poor performance.

3. Lack of funding

Just like many other countries, the Canadian education system faces the challenge of being underfunded. This means that some educational institutions are limited in their ability to offer the standard and quality education needed to propel the country to greater heights. Schools therefore have to rely on old and outdated, or insufficient educational material making it hard to compete with countries that have sufficient budgeting for educational support resources.

4. Teacher shortages

Teacher shortage is very common in Canada, especially in the northern parts and rural areas. This is due to the lack of qualified or certified professionals in the said areas which is leading to low-quality educations. Unlike education in urban areas, the rural provinces have to grapple with large class sizes, overworked teachers, and limited educational support for students who need extra attention from their teachers. While it’s still among the top countries that pay teachers a high salary, more incentives need to be put in place to attract more qualified and certified teachers.


The education system in Canada, like any other country, has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. While students can learn in a multicultural environment and enjoy various educational opportunities, they are also faced with various challenges like the shortage of teachers or inadequate funding which hinders them from acquiring a quality education.


We hope this article has provided the information you are looking for. For more study options, check out the Available Programs in Canada for international students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hyun is the founder at Global Scholarships. He has received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College as well as $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for his undergraduate degree and has been offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. Read more about his scholarship journey here.

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