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What is CMEC?

The Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) is an intergovernmental body founded in 1967 by ministers of education to serve as:

  • a forum to discuss policy issues;
  • a mechanism through which to undertake activities, projects, and initiatives in areas of mutual interest;
  • a means by which to consult and cooperate with national education organizations and the federal government; and
  • an instrument to represent the education interests of the provinces and territories internationally.

CMEC provides leadership in education at the pan-Canadian and international levels and contributes to the exercise of the exclusive jurisdiction of provinces and territories over education.

CMEC is governed by an Agreed Memorandum approved by all members. A Chair is elected every two years based on rotation among the provinces. The current Chair is the Honourable Doug W. Currie, Minister of Education, Early Learning, and Culture for Prince Edward Island. All 13 provinces and territories are members.

What does CMEC do?

Ministers of education work through CMEC on a wide variety of activities, projects, and initiatives. For example, CMEC

  • represents provinces and territories on education-related international bodies and participates in their activities;
  • contributes to the fulfilment of Canada's international treaty obligations;
  • provides a national clearing house and referral service to support the recognition and portability of educational and occupational qualifications;
  • assesses the skills and competencies of Canadian students;
  • develops and reports on education indicators;
  • sponsors research in education-related statistics;
  • administers Canada's national official-languages programs; and
  • consults and acts on a variety of issues in elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education.

Among other work, CMEC is also currently involved in priority activities related to Indigenous education, literacy, and postsecondary capacity.

In April 2008, CMEC released Learn Canada 2020, a joint ministerial statement that underscores provincial and territorial responsibility for the four pillars of lifelong learning — early childhood learning and development, elementary and secondary schooling, postsecondary education, and adult learning and skills development — and proposes working collaboratively with key partners and stakeholders to ensure that all Canadians benefit from the strength and diversity of provincial and territorial education systems.

What is the CMEC Secretariat?

The CMEC Secretariat was created the same year as the Council itself to support the work of the intergovernmental body. Located in Toronto, the Secretariat is headed by an Executive Director, who is appointed by members of CMEC. Chantal C. Beaulieu is the current Executive Director.

Services provided to ministers by the Secretariat include

  • coordination of meetings of ministers, deputy ministers, and provincial/territorial officials;
  • coordination and administration of all aspects of CMEC activities, projects, and initiatives;
  • policy research and support, as directed by ministers;
  • hosting of provincial/territorial electronic discussion forums;
  • hosting and maintenance of CMEC Web sites;
  • translation and revision of over a million words of text each year;
  • English and French simultaneous interpretation at meetings and events;
  • liaison with various stakeholders including education-related NGOs and the general public; and
  • media and public relations.

Council of Ministers of Education, Canada

95 St. Clair Ave. West, Suite 1106
Toronto, Ontario M4V 1N6
Telephone: 416.962.8100
Fax: 416.962.2800