Located in North America, Canada is comprised of ten provinces and three territories. It is the world's second largest country in geographic size, yet its population is over 32,805,000 - slightly less than that of California. In terms of its natural resources,
Canada is the world's second richest country on a per-capita basis, behind Australia.
Most of the population lives in the southern part of the country, and over 75 percent live in metropolitan areas. Among the largest cities are: Toronto, Ontario; Montréal, Québec; Vancouver, British Columbia; Ottawa, Ontario; Hull,
Québec; and Edmonton, Alberta.
Canada's indigenous population is referred to as the Indians or First Nations. In fact, Canada is an Iroquis word for "community." French and English are the country's official languages, reflecting the Canada's early colonial history. Since the
second half of the 18th century when the British ousted France from Canada, the country's main political and ethnic ties have been with the United Kingdom. Increased immigration from Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries boosted Canada's
ethnic diversity, and since the 1970s, most immigrants have come from Asia.
Canada gained full independence in 1931, although it still is a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations. It is both a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy. Canada's official head of state is Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom,
although its citizens directly elect legislatures at the federal, provincial and territorial levels.
Manufacturing and resource-related industries are the foundation of Canada's economy. Transportation equipment is the leading manufacturing industry. However, most Canadians work in service occupations.
Nearly 7.5 million people live in Québec, with almost half of the population residing in Montreal and the greater Montreal area and approximately 700,000 people in and around Québec City, the provincial capital. First inhabited by Aborigines,
Québec has been largely populated with immigrants from France and England and from numerous other countries. Around 100 different cultural communities can be found in the Montreal region.
French is the official language of Québec and approximately 83 per cent of the population speak French at home, while 11 per cent speak English, and 6 per cent speak another language. The 11 Aboriginal nations within Québec generally
speak their native languages and use French or English as their second language.
Québec is one of 13 provinces/territories within the Canadian federation. The constitution of Canada gives each province/territory official jurisdiction over its educational system. In Québec, Le Ministere de l'Education, du Loisir
et du Sport is responsible for all levels and types of education within the province.
Canada's educational system, along with the language of instruction - English or French - varies according to each province. There is no centralized education ministry. Instead, provincial governments administer education, although church-run schools
exist throughout the provinces.
The educational system in Québec is comprised of public and private education and either French or English language institutions. Québec's educational system has four levels: elementary (including preschool), secondary, college, and university. Education
is free at the elementary, secondary and college levels, while university students pay tuition. Education is compulsory from age 6 through age 16.
Students may attend a year of optional Kindergarten before entering compulsory elementary education. Compulsory elementary education is comprised of 6 years divided into three cycles of two years each. The focus of education at this level is on the development
of the child and preparation for secondary school.
Secondary school is five years in length, divided into two cycles. Le Premier Cycle (The First Cycle) lasts for three years and continues general education. In the final two years of secondary school (Second Cycle/Deuxieme Cycle),
students continue general education and add elective subjects which allow them to explore different disciplines. At the end of the five years, students are awarded the Secondary School Diploma (SSD)/Diplome d'Études Secondaire (DES).
This diploma provides access to the next level of education: le collège.
Also offered in the Deuxieme Cycle (Second Cycle) are vocational programs which lead to specialization in a trade. One of the following credentials is awarded upon completion of a vocational program: The Attestation of Vocational Specialization
(AVS), Diploma of Vocational Studies (DVS), Attestation of Vocational Education (AVE)/Attestation de specialization professionelle (ASP), Diplome d'études professionnelles (DEP), and the Attestation de formation professionnelle (AFP). Students
completing programs which prepare for a semi-skilled occupation are awarded the Attestation of Vocational Education (AVE)/Attestation de formation professionnelle (AFP).
College education in Québec is an intermediary type of education between secondary school and the university. Two-year pre-university programs and three-year technical programs are offered by the Colleges d'enseignement general et professionnel (colleges/CEGEPs). The Diploma of College Studies (DCS) /Diplome d'études collegiales (DEC) is awarded upon completion of both the two-year and three-year programs, however, the pre-university track of the DCS/DEC is generally
required for university entrance. Technical programs usually lead to employment, however, occasionally they can lead to university study. Colleges/CEGEPs also offer short technical programs leading to the Attestation of College Studies (ACS)/Attestation d'études collegiales (AEC) and the labor force.
University education in Québec requires the DCS/DEC for admission.
Bachelor's degrees require three years of study beyond the DCS/DEC. Bachelor's degrees are usually three years in length in Québec due to the student's beginning specialization in the college.
Master's degrees require two years of study beyond the Bachelor's degree.
Doctoral degrees require approximately three years of study beyond the Master's degree.