Population: 781,024
Number of K-12 Schools: 307
Number of K-12 Students: 98,906
Number of K-12 E-Learning Programs: 2
Number of K-12 E-Learning Students: ~14,000

Note that these profiles are taken from the most recent edition of the report, please review additional annual profiles below.

Governance and Regulation

While there is no specific legislative language concerning K-12 distance, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development defines distance learning as the delivery of a course where the teacher responsible for assessment and instruction is in a location physically remote from the student. Online teachers communicate with the school to relay information about student progress.

Both the Anglophone and Francophone sectors of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development manage their own K-12 distance learning programs. These programs are funded through the Department directly, and are provided at no cost to schools or districts. The Department has published policy handbooks and web resources, different for both the English and French programs, which outline who can take distance courses, list the courses offered, describe the registration process, and outline duties of each role in the process. Additionally, as of the 2019-20 school year, the organization of distance learning courses in the French-speaking sector had a new structure to allow school districts to be involved in decision making through a management committee.

During the 2019-20 school year there was a change in the organization of distance learning courses in the French-speaking sector.  A new structure was created to allow school districts to be involved in decision making through a management committee.

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development defines blended learning as the use of online and distance learning resources to support a teacher delivering a course onsite to students. Students continue to have access to the online material outside of class time for independent work.

K-12 Distance and Online Learning Activity

The two distance learning programs service secondary students in New Brunswick in either of the province’s two official languages. Both distance and blended courses use content created by the department and information is recorded in a learning portal, which records information about courses taken, school of origin and basic student demographic information. Some additional registrations, such as adults upgrading high school, are manually recorded, but not tracked with the same level of detail. During the 2020-21 school year, there were approximately 3,150 regular students enrolled in 55 different courses in the Anglophone program, while there 1,604 students enrolled in 28 different courses in the Francophone program.

Additionally, the Anglophone program offered a free online summer program that allowed interested high school students and recent graduates the opportunity to take a single course for credit. There were 23 courses offered by 19 teachers. The experience was used as a paid professional learning opportunity for teachers to gain online teaching skills.

K-12 Blended Learning Activity

The content that has been created for all of the distance learning courses is available to all teachers in the province as a professional learning resource. During the 2020-21 school year there were approximately 3,500 English face-to-face students registered in the learning management system using online courses in a more blended learning model under the direction of their local school’s classroom teachers. The exact level of participation by French students was not reported, however, during the 2018-19 school year (i.e., the most recent data available) there were approximately 5,325 French face-to-face students registered in the learning management system. It should be noted that the Department only tracks participation in the blended learning courses it provides centrally. Other blended learning solutions implemented by teachers and schools are not tracked.

Remote Learning

Spring 2020 Closure

Schools in New Brunswick closed on March 13, 2020. The Department of Education launched their Learning at Home website for remote teaching support offering literacy, numeracy, and mental and physical health resources. Specific course materials for science, social science, history, technology, second language supports were posted for most grades. The technologies and digital tools to support remote learning were not specified, but devices such as 1,000 iPads, 500 laptops, and 300 mobile internet hubs were loaned to students. The expected attendance for remote learning was five hours per week for grades K-5, ten hours for grades 6-8, and 12.5 hours for grades 9-12. Students were also encouraged to spend at least 30 minutes per day engaged in physical activity. Final report cards were suspended and provincial standardized testing was cancelled. Between June 1-5, teachers were back in schools to complete school closing requirements and to start planning for the fall while students continued with remote learning (Nagle et al., 2020a).

Fall 2020 Reopening

Elementary schools created cohort groupings or ‘bubbles’ for their students. In grades K-2, class sizes were a maximum of 15 students, in grades 3-5 a maximum of 22 students, and in grades 6-8 there were regular class sizes. Cohort groups in secondary students had alternate schedules for in-school attendance and in-home remote learning as well as staggered breaks between classes to maintain physical distancing. Masks were recommended in the classroom, but not required, however secondary students were required to mask when outside the classroom. Technology and resources, both paper and digital, were provided and most remote learning was asynchronous with regular live online teaching for grades 6-8. A blended model of learning for secondary students was announced by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development that relied on project-based and experiential learning opportunities (Nagle et al., 2020b).

2020-21 School Year

Schools were mostly open throughout the 2020-21 school year but shifted to remote learning based on areas of risk within specific communities and regions. During “orange and yellow zone” alerts, only students at-risk were shifted to remote learning, but during “red zone” alerts, high school students moved to the blended learning model. Absences throughout the K-12 system were high during red zone alerts, as remote learning was no longer mandated under this level of alert. Teachers were responsible for continued child learning if they needed to remain at home, and were asked to maintain a balance between synchronous and asynchronous learning to minimize screen time. Students were responsible for their own devices, but if in need, families could apply to the ‘Laptop Assistance Program’ to obtain any needed devices for their child’s learning (Nagle et al., 2021).


Nagle, J., Barbour, M. K., & LaBonte, R. (2020a). Documenting triage: Detailing the response of provinces and territories to emergency remote teaching. Canadian eLearning Network. https://secureservercdn.net/

Nagle, J., Barbour, M. K., & LaBonte, R. (2021). Toggling between lockdowns: Canadian responses for continuity of learning in the 2020-21 school year. Canadian eLearning Network. https://secureservercdn.net/

Nagle, J., LaBonte, R., & Barbour, M. K. (2020b). A fall like no other: Between basics and preparing for an extended transition during turmoil. Canadian eLearning Network. https://secureservercdn.net/

Previous Provincial Profiles

History of K-12 E-Learning

Since its inception in 2001, the distance learning program has evolved to offer over 40 courses online with an additional 10 as a F2F resource. Initially based on the WebCT platform, by 2008-09, the program was staffed by 20 teachers and served more than 4000 students and teachers. In the following year restructuring saw the program contract to half that size, and with a shifted focus to core courses and supplemental support. Since then, the program has grown to be supported by 14 teachers, and offers a diverse mix of courses that are able to satisfy the province’s graduation requirements.

Almost since the beginning, the program has offered a Mi’kmaq language course and supplemental materials for Wolastoqey. In 2015-16, both languages saw the release of new courses so that both of the province’s First Nations groups can have access to language instruction via distance. The program now offers courses in five languages.


Individual Program Survey Responses

Program Most recent response  Medium  # of Students  # of Teachers  # of Courses 
2019-20 Online
1,268 online
5,325 blended**
10 full time
1 part time
28 online
New Brunswick Virtual Learning Centre
2020-21 Online
3,150 online
3,500 blended
24 full time
1 part time
60 online
1,900 blended

* Blended program is delivered by local classroom teachers in schools and courses are available to anyone who requests them.
** Blended data from 2018-19 school year.

To update this information, visit http://tinyurl.com/sotn-program-survey

Inter-provincial and International

While the graduation requirements for the province are currently under review, for a student in New Brunswick to receive credit for a course taken from an online program in another province or territory the student would need to have enrolled in the course in New Brunswick and been unsuccessful in completing it. In such instances the online course would be considered an independent study course. Students can only have one independent study course count towards their graduation requirements.  Approval to apply outside credit for a single course is infrequently sought or approved.  The same process applies for a student seeking to obtain credit for a course from an online program in another country.  In both cases the curriculum for the course in question would need to be reviewed and approved, typically in advance of the student beginning the course.

In instances where a student living in another province or territory, or another country, took a course from an online program located in New Brunswick, a transcript would be issued by the Ministry and sent to the district or school-based coordinator responsible for the student. Whether the student receives credit for the course is determined by the individual jurisdiction where the student resides.  At present both Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island have agreements in place to allow students to receive credit for courses taken through New Brunswick’s French language distance education program. Typically a review of the New Brunswick curriculum is carried out first by the school authority interested to ensure the student would receive credit should they complete the course (in much the same fashion that New Brunswick reviews the curriculum of other programs before granting credit to students who wish to take courses from other jurisdictions).