Choice in Education

Choice in Education

The government is developing legislation on a proposed Choice in Education Act, expected to be introduced in the spring of 2020.

This proposed Act will further refine the governing Education legislation to affirm parents’ rights as primary decision-makers in their child’s education and support the range of choice within the current education system.

Alberta offers a number of education options that allow parents to select the path they feel will best help their children reach their full potential. Please see the description(s) below. (or download file here)

Insights regarding how to enhance choice in education within our current system, and feedback from an online  survey will be used in shaping the proposed Choice in Education Act.

Link to the Government News Release

Education Options (government website)

Definitions of School and Program Types in Alberta


  • Provide programming to any eligible student living in the designated area
  • Teach the Alberta curriculum, and may offer optional programming to meet local demand (e.g. languages, sports, arts)
  • Must accept all resident students and all others if there is space and/or program availability


  • Primarily Catholic; constitutional right to minority religious education under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • Operate under the same programming and accountability requirements as public schools, but offer a fully faith-based permeated curriculum and school environment


  • Can be public or separate
  • Offer first-language French education (distinct from French immersion) based on Charter rights


  • Autonomous non-profit organizations that provide education based on charter with the Minister
  • Intended to provide education with a particular focus or teaching approach, or to meet the needs of a particular group generally not offered in the public system (e.g. STEM, English Language Learning, academically gifted programming, arts- focused programming, )


  • Include registered, accredited and accredited-funded
  • Accredited-funded programs are required to offer provincial programs of study, diploma exams,
  • Are permitted to charge tuition fees to parents

Home education

  • Educational programming provided by parents
  • Must be supervised by a school board (public or separate) or accredited private school operator

Alternative programs

  • Education program operated by either a public or separate school
  • Programs emphasize a particular language, culture, religion, subject matter or teaching
  • Not permitted to charge tuition, but may include non-instructional costs (i.e. field trips for sports teams)

Shared Responsibility Programs

  • A parent and school authority may agree to share responsibility for student’s education
  • Combines parent-directed and teacher-directed education through flexible programming
  • Teacher-directed instruction is delivered by Alberta certified teacher and follows Alberta programs of study
  • May be provided through online means

First Nation Band Operated School

  • Most First Nations students living on-reserve have the choice to attend either Provincial School Authorities or First Nation Band Operated schools
  • Funded by the federal government and are operated autonomously by their respective First Nation or First Nation School Authority. Band Operated Schools can follow Alberta Education curriculum in order to grant Alberta Education credentials
  • Alberta Education respects the jurisdiction of First Nations
  • Through Education Services Agreements (between school boards and First Nations) on-reserve students can attend provincial schools in accordance with the terms of the negotiated agreement. Off reserve students can attend a band operated school at the discretion of the First Nation


Choice in Education Act

In their election platform as part of their commitment to education, the UCP government stated it will:

Introduce a Choice in Education Act which will

• Affirm parents have primary responsibility for the education of their children

Add to the preamble of the Education Act recognition of Section 26.3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.”

Protect the status and funding of independent schools in legislation given that they save the public education system $168 million annually.

Facilitate the creation and operation of new charter schools by

Lifting the cap on the number of charter schools

Lifting charter school enrolment caps

Allowing charter schools to own property

Treat charter schools as priorities above other possible uses for surplus public-school infrastructure

Support and encourage an expansion of alternative programs in the public system

Respect the constitutional right to separate schools

Maintain funding for independent schools and home schoolers at current levels

Encourage the sharing of busing and infrastructure where appropriate, while respecting the distinctive nature of both systems

Amend the Education Act to implement the Leadership Quality Standards

Ensure that requests from parents for blended homeschool programs are facilitated