Elementary/Secondary School Enrolment (ESSE)

Detailed information for 1999-2000





Record number:


This survey collects data on enrolment by type of school (public, private, schools for the visually and hearing impaired, federal schools and for the Department of National Defence).

Data release - September 18, 2003


This survey was discontinued after the 1999-2000 reference year. These data are now collected by the Elementary-Secondary Education Statistics Project (see the link in the "Documentation" section).

This survey collects data on enrolment by type of school (public, private, schools for the visually and hearing impaired, federal schools and for the Department of National Defence). The data are broken down by age and gender and by grade and gender. National school enrolment statistics have been published since 1937. Data on public schools are provided to Statistics Canada by the provinces and territories. For private schools, survey methods vary. Some provinces supply both private and public schools, while in others Statistics Canada surveys the institutions directly. Correctional institutions and hospital schools are excluded from this file, as are continuing education schools for adults.

The data from the survey are used by researchers to identify and monitor trends in enrolment such as pupil/educator ratio, total enrolment, age, grade and sex. Data users range from international organisations to private citizens. Data are provided annually to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Information is also requested by other divisions within Statistics Canada such as Special Surveys Division; other government departments including Human Resources Development Canada; provincial education departments; educational associations such as the Canadian Teachers Federation; private consultants and the media. Elementary-secondary enrolment data are published in Education in Canada and may also be used to prepare tables and articles for the Daily and Education Quarterly Review.

Reference period: Academic year

Collection period: September 30 to A reasonable time thereafter


  • Education, training and learning
  • Students

Data sources and methodology

Target population

All elementary and secondary schools in Canada.

Instrument design

The questionnaire, first developed in 1972, was designed as a paper-pencil instrument that is mailed to the principal of the school who then fills it in and mails it back.


This survey is a census with a cross-sectional design.

Data are collected for all units of the target population, therefore, no sampling is done.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents and extracted from administrative files.

Administrative data for all public schools is sent by the respective Ministry of Education, following the guidelines in the Enrolment Record Layout. For private schools, some Ministries of Education supply this information as well, whereas in other jurisdictions a questionnaire is mailed to each institution.

View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s) .

Error detection

Administrative data are converted by Statistics Canada into a format comparable with data from other sources. Manual and computer edits including consistency checks are carried out by Statistics Canada. Problems identified with editing procedures are resolved by comparison with prior years' data and by communicating wiht respondents involved.


Estimations are derived with consultations with respective respondents using a combination of trend data and known data properties.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Quality evaluation

A series of quality checks are carried out which include:
1) Producing basic tabulations to ensure that Statistics Canada's data are consistent with provincial and territorial departments or ministries of education data that have been published;
2) checking for internal consistencies such as running frequencies on certain data elements; and
3) comparing the most recent data year with past date years to detect any unusual or unexpected changes. After the final file has been approved, a public release is announced in The Daily.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

Collected data are published in aggregated form at the provincial level.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology does not apply to this survey.

Data accuracy

The coverage error could range between 0% and 2% since some schools that receive the questionnaire may refuse to report, or due to missing information based on human error.


Date modified: