Elementary-Secondary Education Survey (ESES)

Detailed information for 2021/2022





Record number:


The Elementary-Secondary Education Survey (ESES) is a national survey of administrative data that focuses primarily on public schools. It also collects some information pertaining to private/independent schools, as well as home-schooling. The ESES collects the following data for elementary and secondary schools: the number of students enrolled, the number of secondary school graduates, along with information on educators, and expenditures.

Data release - October 12, 2023


The ESES is administered annually by Statistics Canada and collects aggregate data from every provincial/territorial Ministry or Department of Education across Canada. The information on enrolments is collected by type of program (regular programs for youth, general programs for adults, and vocational programs for youth and adults), by grade and sex, and by age and sex. The information on official languages programs is collected by type of program (regular second language programs, French immersion programs, and first official language programs for the linguistic minority) and by grade. The ESES also collects information on secondary school graduates, by type of program (regular programs for youth, general programs for adults, and vocational programs for youth and adults), by age and sex, as well as on full-time and part-time educators.


  • Education, training and learning

Data sources and methodology

Target population

Annually, the department or ministry of education in each province/territory sends Statistics Canada data pertaining to enrolments, graduates, educators and expenditures of the public elementary-secondary schools under their jurisdictions and private schools that operate in their jurisdiction. They also provide enrolment information on home-schooled students.

Instrument design

The Elementary-Secondary Education Survey (ESES) began in 2003 as a Statistics Canada pilot project known as the Elementary-Secondary Education Statistics Project (ESESP). The ESESP survey content originated from three tables that were originally part of a survey sent out each year to all provinces and territories by the British Columbia Ministry of Education. Following formal consultation with all provinces, territories and data users, Statistics Canada introduced seven new tables to collect additional data. The project's goals were to collect expenditure data for elementary and secondary public schools, and to replace several surveys that were collecting data on enrolments, graduates, and educators, including:

- the Elementary/Secondary School Enrolment Survey (ESSE - record number 3128);
- the Secondary School Graduate Survey (SSGS - record number 5082); and
- the Elementary-Secondary Education Staff Survey (ESESS - record number 3127).

Although the ESESP collected expenditure data, the Survey of Uniform Financial System - School Boards survey (SUFSB, record number 3119) remained active.

In January 2010, the ESESP was renamed the Elementary-Secondary Education Survey to symbolize the change from a pilot project to a Statistics Canada ongoing core survey. The main objectives of the collection tool remained: to produce relevant, comparable and timely statistics, and to reduce the respondent burden on educational organizations and school principals.

Following jurisdictional review, Statistics Canada added tables to begin collecting private school data in January 2011, and home-schooling data in January 2012.


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

Data collection for this reference period: 2023-04-19 to 2023-06-09

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

The collection template (an Excel file containing multiple tabs) is sent to all respondents using the Electronic File Transfer Service (EFTS); completed collection templates are returned to Statistics Canada via the EFTS.

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

Error detection

Error detection is done at the macro level as part of data processing/validation.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Quality evaluation

During the data production process, Statistics Canada performs a series of data quality controls that include:

1) Ensuring that Statistics Canada data are consistent with provincial and territorial departments or ministries of education data that have been published;

2) Sending the corresponding electronic extracts and certification tables to each responding coordinating body for their review and approval to ensure that Statistics Canada and their departments or ministries of education obtain the same (or similar) results;

3) Reviewing yearly the elementary-secondary institution requirements for each province and territory in order to identify any changes which may have an impact on the data;

4) Comparing trends with other data sources.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any data that would divulge information obtained under the Statistics Act that relates to any identifiable person, business or organization without the prior knowledge or the consent in writing of that person, business or organization. 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.

The data are aggregated by province and territory. The tables are evaluated in accordance with Statistics Canada's policies on confidentiality.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

Data are subject to revision.

Data accuracy

The target population is very stable and the survey is mandatory, therefore minimizing undercoverage. The maintenance of close relations with respondents is an important factor in minimizing non-response. In order to obtain consistent counts of students, educators, graduates and expenditures, Statistics Canada ensures that all respondents follow common guidelines and definitions.

There is a 100% response rate.

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