Ministry of Education (Ontario)

The Ministry of Education (EDU) is the Government of Ontario ministry responsible for government policy, funding, curriculum planning and direction in all levels of public education, including elementary and secondary schools.

Ministry of Education
Ministère de l'Éducation  (French)
The Ministry of Education is headquarted at Mowat Block (left building)
Ministry overview
Formed1876 (as Department of Education)
1999 (in current form)
Preceding Ministry
  • Department of Public Instruction (1850-76)
    Ministry of Education and Training (1993-99)
JurisdictionGovernment of Ontario
Headquarters14th Floor, Mowat Block, 900 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
43°39′48.11″N 79°23′15.5″W
Annual budget$24,742,056,114 (2012-13 fiscal year)[2]
Ministers responsible

This Ministry is responsible for curriculum and guidelines for all officially recognized elementary and secondary schools in the province and some outside the province. The ministry is also responsible for public and separate school boards across Ontario, but are not involved in the day-to-day operations.

A number of ministers of education went on to become Premier, including Arthur Sturgis Hardy, George Ross, George Drew, John Robarts, Bill Davis, and Kathleen Wynne.

The current Minister of Education is Stephen Lecce.


Prior to confederation, the supervision of the education system and the development of education policy of Canada West were the responsibilities of the Department of Public Instruction. Founded in 1850, the department was headed by the Chief Superintendent of Education, Egerton Ryerson, and reported to the Executive Council and the Legislative Assembly through the Provincial Secretary.

In February 1876, the Department of Public Instruction was replaced by the Department of Education. The new department was presided over by the Minister of Education who was assigned the powers formerly held by the Chief Superintendent of Education.

Responsibilities for post-secondary education were part of the department's portfolio prior to 1964 when the Department of University Affairs was created. The Department of Education continued to be responsible for post-secondary education in applied arts and technology until 1971 when the responsibility was transferred to the renamed Department of Colleges and Universities.

In 1972, the Department of Education was renamed the Ministry of Education. The ministry again oversaw post-secondary education between 1993 and 1999.


Hall-Dennis Report, 1968

The Hall-Dennis Report, officially titled Living and Learning, called for broad reforms to Ontario education, to empower teachers and the larger community, and put students' needs and dignity at the centre of education.[3]

Fullan Report, 2013

The Fullan Report, officially titled Great to Excellent, calls for a focus on the 6 C's: Character, Citizenship, Communication, Critical thinking and problem solving, Collaboration and teamwork, and Creativity and imagination. The report also calls for innovation in how these areas are learned.[4]

List of Ministers of Education

Portrait Name Term of office Tenure Political party
Adam CrooksFebruary 19, 1876November 23, 18837 years, 277 days Liberal
George RossNovember 23, 1883July 21, 189615 years, 332 days
July 21, 1896October 21, 1899 Liberal
Richard HarcourtOctober 21, 1899February 8, 19055 years, 110 days Liberal
Robert PyneFebruary 8, 1905September 25, 201413 years, 104 days Conservative
September 25, 2014May 23, 1918 Conservative
Henry John CodyMay 23, 1918November 14, 19191 year, 175 days
Robert GrantNovember 14, 1919November 16, 19234 years, 2 days United Farmers
Howard FergusonJuly 16, 1923December 15, 19307 years, 152 days Conservative
while Premier
George HenryDecember 15, 1930July 10, 19343 years, 207 days Conservative
while Premier
Leonard SimpsonJuly 10, 1934August 18, 19406 years, 39 days Liberal
Duncan McArthurAugust 22, 1940October 21, 19428 years, 58 days
October 21, 1942May 18, 1943 Liberal
May 18, 1943July 20, 1943 Liberal
George DrewAugust 17, 1943October 19, 19485 years, 63 days PC
while Premier
Dana PorterOctober 19, 1948May 4, 19492 years, 348 days PC
May 4, 1949October 2, 1951 PC
William DunlopOctober 2, 1951December 17, 19598 years, 76 days
John RobartsDecember 17, 1959November 8, 19612 years, 312 days
November 8, 1961October 25, 1962 PC
while Premier
Bill DavisOctober 25, 1962March 1, 19718 years, 127 days
Robert WelchMarch 1, 1971February 2, 1972338 days PC
Thomas WellsFebruary 2, 1972August 18, 19786 years, 197 days
Bette StephensonAugust 18, 1978February 8, 19856 years, 174 days
Keith NortonFebruary 8, 1985May 17, 198598 days PC
Larry GrossmanMay 17, 1985June 26, 198540 days
Sean ConwayJune 26, 1985September 29, 19872 years, 95 days
(first instance)
Christopher WardSeptember 29, 1987August 2, 19891 year, 307 days
Sean ConwayAugust 2, 1989October 1, 19901 year, 60 days
(second instance)
3 year, 155 days in total
Marion BoydOctober 1, 1990October 15, 19911 year, 14 days NDP
Tony SilipoOctober 15, 1991February 3, 19931 year, 111 days
Dave CookeFebruary 3, 1993June 26, 19952 years, 143 daystitled Minister of Education and Training
John SnobelenJune 26, 1995October 10, 19972 years, 106 days PC
David JohnsonOctober 10, 1997June 17, 19991 year, 250 days
Janet EckerJune 17, 1999April 14, 20022 years, 301 days
Elizabeth WitmerApril 15, 2002October 22, 20031 year, 190 days PC
Gerard KennedyOctober 23, 2003April 5, 20062 years, 164 days Liberal
Sandra PupatelloApril 5, 2006September 18, 2006166 days
Kathleen WynneSeptember 18, 2006January 18, 20103 years, 122 days
Leona DombrowskyJanuary 18, 2010October 20, 20111 year, 275 days
Laurel BrotenOctober 20, 2011February 11, 20131 year, 114 days
Liz SandalsFebruary 11, 2013June 13, 20163 years, 123 days Liberal
Mitzie HunterJune 13, 2016January 17, 20181 year, 218 daysIndira Naidoo-Harris served as Associate Minister of Education (Early Years and Child Care) from August 24, 2016 to January 17, 2017.
Indira Naidoo-HarrisJanuary 17, 2018June 29, 2018163 days
Lisa ThompsonJune 29, 2018June 20, 2019356 days PC
Stephen LecceJune 20, 2019present178 days

Approach to discipline

Ontario public schools use progressive discipline. Discipline is corrective and supportive rather than punitive, with a focus on prevention and early intervention. It is a whole-school, systemic approach, engaging students, families and the larger community, as well as classes, schools and boards. Schools are to recognize and respect the diversity of parent communities, and partner with them accordingly. Students are surveyed at least every two years about their experience of the school climate.[5][6]

"For students with special education needs, interventions, supports, and consequences must be consistent with the student’s strengths and needs".[7]

While the school principal is responsible for discipline, all board employees who come into contact with students are responsible for stepping in if inappropriate behaviour occurs. The principal may also delegate powers and duties related to discipline.[8]

See also


  3. Hall-Dennis Report
  4. Ministry of Education (PDF). Ministry of Education. Jan 2013 Retrieved May 11, 2013. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. "Policy/Program Memorandum No. 145" (PDF). Ministry of Education. Ministry of Education. Dec 5, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2013.
  6. Safe Schools: Progressive Discipline - An explanation of the policy on the Ministry website
  7. Safe Schools: Progressive Discipline, p3
  8. Safe Schools: Progressive Discipline, p7, p15
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