UN Sustainable Development Goal 4

Quality Education

Access to quality education for all members of society is a foundation to creating sustainable development, as it contributes to personal development and prepares people for meaningful participation in the paid labour market. In addition to improving quality of life, access to inclusive education can help equip people with the tools required to develop innovative solutions to society’s greatest problems.

Canada is a highly educated nation, and research shows that educational attainment is essential to enhancing individual and family well-being, as well as being a key driver of social and economic equality. Education is important not only for those preparing for the world of work through university or college, but also for infants, children and youth, whose development and well-being benefits from access to quality early childhood education and care.

Key facts and statistics:

  • In 2016, 54% of Canadians aged 25 to 64 had post-secondary qualifications, including 36% of First Nations people, 46% of Métis and 29% of Inuit.
  • In 2016, one in five lone mothers aged 25 to 64 (21%) had a bachelor’s degree or higher, up from 15% in 2006.
  • In 2016, nearly one-third (32%) of refugees who became permanent residents in Canada upgraded their educational credentials after arriving.
  • In 2016, nearly four in 10 (39%) of surveyed post-secondary students in Canada experienced food insecurity (31% moderate, 8% severe).
  • In 2016, there was a regulated day centre space available for 29% of children in Canada aged 0 to 5 years, up from 19% in 2006.

Sources: Statistics Canada; Silverthorn, Drew (2016); Childcare Research and Resource Unit

Vanier Institute resources related to SDG 4:

Page last updated October 2, 2019