Population: 15,109,416
Number of K-12 Schools: 4832
Number of K-12 Students: 2,028,688
Number of K-12 Distance Learning Programs: ~527
Number of K-12 Distance Learning Students: ~130,000

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

Governance and Regulation

There is no reference to distance education and/or online learning in the Education Act R.S.O, 1990. However, the Education Act, 1990 does make a reference to “equivalent learning,” which is defined as a learning situation that falls outside the instruction traditionally provided by a board, that is approved under paragraph 3.0.1 of subsection 8(1) and for which a pupil’s success can be reasonably evaluated.

Since 2006, the Ontario e-Learning Strategy has guided the Ministry of Education to afford school boards with various supports necessary to provide students with online and blended learning opportunities. The Francophone version of the strategy, Apprentissage électronique Ontario, was released in 2007. Under this policy, the Ministry provides school boards with access to a learning management system and other tools for the delivery of e-learning, asynchronous course content for a wide range of English- and French-language courses and a variety of multimedia learning objects, along with a variety of other technical and human resource supports (including a “Technology Enabled Learning and Teaching Contact” or “Personne-ressource en apprentissage et enseignement par la technologie” in each school board). School boards delivering either online or blended learning must sign a “Master User Agreement” to access all of these services.

Ontario publicly-funded schools must report student enrollments in elearning classes to the Ontario Student Information System This includes students who are enrolled in elearning courses as part of their regular day school, continuing education, and summer school programs.

In 2022-23, funding for day school students taking e-learning in Ontario’s publicly-funded district school boards was the same as the traditional brick-and-mortar education. In English-language schools, students may enroll in an online course offered by another school board provided they do so through their home school. In such a situation, the applicability of provincially established fees for students taking e-learning courses are worked out locally between the two school boards. The fee for the 2022-23 school year was $590 per credit course. In French-language schools, students remain with their home school board and take online courses offered by the Consortium d’apprentissage virtuel de langue française de l’Ontario (CAVLFO), a consortium funded and managed by all twelve francophone school boards.

Private schools operate as businesses or non-profit organizations in accordance with the legal requirements established by the Education Act and receive no public funding or other financial support from the Ministry. The Ministry only inspects the standard of instruction at private schools seeking to grant credits toward the Ontario Secondary School Diploma to determine whether they can be granted this authority. In the case of online private schools, Ministry inspectors look for evidence of ongoing interactions between the teacher and students in the online learning environment, and for a direct link between the specific and overall curriculum expectations being taught and assessed in compliance with Ministry policy and observed practices. Teachers in the private school are also subject to a classroom inspection by the ministry. Inspectors review online courses, public website, school course calendar, and community involvement along with attendance policies, assignment timelines, student learning logs, examination procedures, etc.. The Ministry does not regulate, license, accredit or otherwise oversee the operation of private schools. Private schools in Ontario can operate onsite, online or offer a combination of online and onsite classes/instruction.

On November 21, 2019 the Ministry of Education announced that Ontario students would be required to earn two online credits to graduate from secondary school beginning with students graduating in 2023-24, and that courses began counting toward this requirement beginning in September 2020 (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2019). With this announcement, Ontario became the only jurisdiction in Canada with an online learning graduation requirement. However, as a part of Policy/Program Memorandum 167, the Ministry of Education (2022a) stated that:

The Ministry recognizes the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID‑19 pandemic. As a result, this Policy/Program Memorandum recognizes up to one secondary school credit completed by Grade 9 students in the 2020-21 school year during the province-wide school closures (from April 2021 to June 2021) may be counted towards the graduation requirement. Schools should select one of these credits and record it in the system they use locally for tracking the requirement and reflect the completion of the selected credit when reporting through the Ontario School Information System (OnSIS) towards the student’s online learning graduation requirement. The course itself does not need to be flagged as an “online course”. It will be counted under the “Diploma Requirements” “Online Learning Graduation Requirement” section of the provincial report card template. (para. 15)

It is important to note that, at present, the most recent data that the Ministry of Education was able to provide was from the 2020-21 school year (even though that data was received in November 2023). This is an important reference point, as students graduating in the 2023-24 school year will be held to the requirement of having completed two online courses in order to graduate in June 2024. However, with less than eight months until this milestone the Ministry of Education can only provide data on students engaged in online learning from the 2020-21 school year (but not the 2021-22 school year or the 2022-23 school year).

K-12 Distance and Online Learning Activity

Each of the publicly-funded 60 English-speaking and 12 French-speaking school boards have the ability to offer some form of online learning using the provincial learning management system combined with the online curricular materials provided or their own. Many of the school boards also participate in one or more consortia designed to allow its school board members to work together to maximize their online offerings by sharing course offerings, resources and students (e.g., Ontario eLearning Consortium, Catholic Virtual Ontario, etc.). During the 2020-21 school year (most recent school year for which data are available), approximately 90,000 students participated in online learning programs offered by publicly-funded district school boards.

Additionally, TVO’s Independent Learning Centre (ILC) serves Ontario youth 14+ and adults seeking to earn high school credits or an Ontario Secondary School Diploma. The reporting year for the TVO ILC runs from April 1 of one year to March 31 of the following year, the same as the government of Ontario’s fiscal year. Again, based on the most recent data available, there were more than 22,000 students enrolled in distance courses offered by the ILC during the 2020-21 school year.

Finally, in 2020-21 (again, most recent year for which data are available) 454 private schools offered online learning. Of these schools, 69 were fully online. In that year approximately 30,000 e-learning credits were earned in private online schools.

K-12 Blended Learning Activity

The Ministry of Education describes blended learning as instruction and student learning that incorporates digital resources within the face-to-face classroom.

The Ministry does not track the wide variety of digital tools that may be used to support blended learning that take place in Ontario schools. The Ministry does provide licenses for a provincial learning management system, and digital tools for school boards to use for blended and e-learning opportunities with their students. As such, all educators in Ontario have the opportunity to use digital tools to provide a blended learning experience that meets their student needs. In the 2021-22 school year there were approximately 1,306,497 unique student logins in the learning management system.

Remote Learning

During the 2022-23 school year, school boards were required to continue offering remote learning in alignment with the requirements outlined in Policy/Program Memorandum (PPM) 164 – Requirements for Remote Learning (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2023). These requirements include minimum synchronous learning time, protocols for communicating with parents and the provision of access to technology.

As outlined in the annual 2022-23 Grants for Student Needs Funding communication, school boards were required to provide the option for remote learning in the 2022-23 school year (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2022b). School boards were permitted to establish one virtual school per elementary and secondary panel based on local demand.

While the Ministry is responsible for developing policy, the implementation of policy, allocation of funding and the delivery of education programs and services to students is the responsibility of district school boards and local schools. This gives boards and schools the flexibility to make decisions about program delivery to best serve their students.

For the 2022-23 school year, the ministry provided school boards with funding supports including:

  • $20M in connectivity infrastructure-related projects to ensure that students and teachers can continue to participate in secure, online and remote learning.
  • $304M in time-limited support through the COVID-19 Learning Recovery Fund for temporary additional staffing to support a variety of initiatives, including the delivery of remote learning.
  • $488M for resources such as student technological devices, learning materials, classroom supplies, classroom computers, and educational software.

To support instructional approaches to online/remote learning, the Ministry continued to host webinars, teleconferences, and self-guided learning modules to build teacher capacity, and to support boards and educators with various elements of remote learning. The Ministry continues to provide customizable slide decks to support school boards in delivering this professional learning.


Ontario Ministry of Education. (2019). Ontario brings learning into the digital age: Province announces plan to enhance online learning, become global leader. Queen’s Printer for Ontario. https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/54695/ontario-brings-learning-into-the-digital-age

Ontario Ministry of Education. (2022a). Policy/Program Memorandum 167 – Online learning graduation requirement. https://www.ontario.ca/document/education-ontario-policy-and-program-direction/policyprogram-memorandum-167

Ontario Ministry of Education. (2022b). 2022-23 grants for student needs funding. https://efis.fma.csc.gov.on.ca/faab/Memos/B2022/B03_EN.pdf

Ontario Ministry of Education. (2023). Policy/Program Memorandum (PPM) 164 – Requirements for remote learning. https://www.ontario.ca/document/education-ontario-policy-and-program-direction/policyprogram-memorandum-164

Previous Provincial Profiles

History of K-12 E-Learning

Like many jurisdictions, the origins of K-12 e-learning in Ontario are found in the print-based medium.  In 1926, the Correspondence Courses program (which later became the Independent Learning Centre) was established by the Ontario Department of Education “to provide elementary education for children living in isolated areas of northern Ontario”(Ontario Educational Communications Authority, 2016, para. 7).  Courses covering the complete secondary school curriculum were available by the 1950s.

There is actually some disagreement over the development of K-12 online learning in the province.  For example, Barker and Wendel (2001) indicate that the first K-12 online learning established in the province was the Avon Maitland Distance Education Centre, which organized by the Avon Maitland District School Board in Ontario in 1994-95 (although the program did not offer any courses until 1997-98). As such, Barker, Wendall and Richmond (1999) claim that the first K-12 online learning program to actually offer courses was the Electronic Distance Education Network – a project originally designed by the Orillia Learning Centre of the Simcoe County District School Board to deliver high school courses to adults – during the 1995-96 school year.  However, Smallwood, Reaburn and Baker (2015) argue that Virtual High School (Ontario) is the oldest K-12 online learning program in Ontario, offering its first course in 1995.

By 2000, there were several district-based programs in operation in the province. Joining Avon Maitland and Simcoe, were school boards in Trillium Lakelands, Peel, Durham and Toronto – all of whom were operating in isolation and using a variety of systems. In September 2000, many of these school boards came together to form the Ontario Strategic Alliance for e-Learning. This Alliance operated under a co-operative model where each district was responsible for writing two courses and student enrollments were shared across the Alliance. This Alliance would eventually grow into the Ontario e-Learning Consortium by the 2005-06 school year.

In September 2004, the Ministry of Education began to play a more active role. The first steps involved a survey of all of the distance education courses currently being offered throughout the province, which eventually led to the decision to host a provincial course management system and create a standard set of online courses that all school boards could use. Since 2006, the Provincial e-Learning Strategy has guided the Ministry to provide school districts with various supports necessary to provide students with online and blended learning opportunities, as well as providing e-learning leadership within the provincially funded school system. School districts are responsible for the delivery of online learning.

It should be also noted that the French-language school boards in Ontario have also been active in distance education, and this activity is believed to have a longer history than that of the English language boards. For example, the Consortium d’apprentissage virtuel de langue française de l’Ontario was founded collaboratively by all 12 French-language school boards in February 2010. Unfortunately, there is little published information in English about this activity.


Barker, K., & Wendel, T. (2001). e-Learning: Studying Canada’s virtual secondary schools. Kelowna, BC: Society for the Advancement of Excellence in Education. Retrieved from http://web.archive.org/web/20040720185017/http://www.saee.ca/pdfs/006.pdf

Barker, K., Wendel, T., & Richmond, M. (1999). Linking the literature: School effectiveness and virtual schools. Vancouver, BC: FuturEd. Retrieved from http://web.archive.org/web/20061112102653/http://www.futured.com/pdf/Virtual.pdf

Ontario Educational Communications Authority. (2016). ILC mandate and origins. Toronto, ON: Television Ontario. Retrieved from http://www.ilc.org/about/our_mandate.php

Smallwood, J., Reaburn, J., & Baker, S. (2015). Virtual High School (Ontario): A case study of an online private school. In T Clark & M. K. Barbour (Eds.), Online, blended and distance education in schools: Building successful programs (pp. 144-155). Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.


Brief Issue Papers

Individual Program Survey Responses



Program Most recent response  Medium  # of Students  # of Teachers  # of Courses 
Algoma District School Board
2010-11 Online 46
14 full time 125
Avon Maitland District eLearning Centre
2015-16 Online 1,567 7 full time
14 part time
Bluewater District School Board
2010-11 Online 120 9 part time 8
Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board
2022-23 Online 92 7 full time
4 part-time
Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board
2010-11 Online 10 1 part time 7
Canada’s eSchool
2017-18 Correspondence
170 distance
1500 blended
6 full time
16 part-time
14 blended
45 distance
90 blended
Consortium d’apprentissage virtuel de langue française de l’Ontario
2022-23 Online 4,496 33 full time 97
Durham Catholic District School Board eLearning
2012-13 Online 350 21 full time
1 part time
eLearning Consortium Canada
2014-15 Online
Grand Erie District School Board Virtual Academy
2022-23 Online 1280 85
Halton District School Board
2010-11 Online 275 11 full time 10
Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board
2018-19 Online
2214 (online)
51 (blended)
56 part time
2 blended
117 (online)
8 (blended)
Independent Learning Centre
2018-19 Correspondence
18,932 80 part time 144
James Bay Lowlands Secondary School Board 2010-11 Online 1 1 part time 1
Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board e-Learning
2016-17 Online 1183 1 full time
20 part time
Keewaytinook Internet High School (Ontario)
2021-22 Online 600 27 full time 86
Lambton Kent District School Board
2022-23 Online 1127 35 full time 41
Limestone Minds Online
2021-22 Online 480 (school year)
535  (summer)
21 (school year)
15  (summer)
10 (school year)
16  (summer)
Nimbus Christian Education 2022-23 Online
109 20 part time 43
Northwest Catholic District School Board 2010-11 Online 85* 3 full time 3
Ontario Catholic eLearning Consortium
2020-21 Online ~1,500 43 full time
95 part time
Ontario eLearning Consortium
2019-20 Online ~46,339 credits 176
Ontario Virtual School
2023 Online 18,000 15 full time
175 part time
Open School Ontario
2018-19 Online 75 1 full time
1 part time
Ottawa-Carleton District School Board eLearning
2019-20 Online 1,900 45 part time 59
Ottawa Catholic District School Board eLearning
2022-23 Online 1271 1 full time
32 part time
Quinte Adult Education (HPEDSB)
2015-16 Online
2,034 1 full time
21 part time
Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board
2010-11 Online 104 3 full time 9
Rainbow District School Board
2010-11 Online 213 10 part time 14
Rainy River District School Board
rrdsb.elearningontario.ca / moodle.rrdsb.com
2010-11 Online 106 6 part time 7
Simcoe County District School Board eLearning
2018-19 Online 823 2 full time
3 part time
St. Teresa of Calcutta Catholic Virtual School
2022-23 Online 300 18 full time 80
Thames Valley District Virtual Academy
2018-19 Online 1,636 47 full time 36
Toronto Catholic District School Board eLearning
2018-19 Online 9,000 60-70
Upper Canada District School Board eLearning
2020-21 Online 1,200 2 full time
17 part time
Upper Grand District School Board eLearning 2021-22 Online 670 26 full time 26
Virtual Elementary School – Ontario
2015-16 Online 35 2 part time 9
Virtual High School – Ontario
2020-21 Online 11,200 165 full time 111
Virtual Learning Centre
2018-19 Online 800 22 full time
14 part time
Waterloo Catholic District School Board e-Learning
2021-22 Online 600 elementary
2000 secondary
36 full time (elementary)
1 part time (elementary)
44 part time (secondary)
9 elementary
44 secondary
Waterloo Region District School Board e-Learning
2015-16 Online
~2,500 online
~8,000 blended
90 full time
75 part time
~400 blended
155 online
~400 blended
YCDSB eLearning
2021-22 Online 767 22 part time 19

* This is the number of students enrolled in blended courses.
** The Consortium represents 12 individual French-language district school boards. These figures represent the combined totals for all 12 programs.

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

Inter-provincial and International

A student registered in an Ontario school who takes a course from an online program in another province, territory or country is able to receive recognition for the learning through the Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) challenge process.  Under this process students have their skills and knowledge evaluated against the overall expectations outlined in the appropriate provincial curriculum policy document to receive credit towards their Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). PLAR procedures are carried out under the direction of the school principal who grants the credit. Students may be granted a maximum of four credits through the PLAR challenge process.

Ontario’s publicly funded school boards may offer online programs to students living outside of Ontario provided they do not use the provincial learning management system which is licensed for use only by Ontario students and educators.  A credit is granted in recognition for the successful completion of a course that has been scheduled for a minimum of 110 hours.  Credits are granted by a principal on behalf of the Minister of Education for courses that have been developed or approved by the Ministry. For the purpose of granting a credit, scheduled time is defined as the time during which students participate in planned learning activities designed to lead to the achievement of the curriculum expectations of a course.