Canada's progress on learning index stalls

Victoria and Saskatoon lead the way in lifelong learning

Canada’s progress in lifelong learning is at a standstill in 2010 and there has only been marginal progress over the past five years, according to the latest results from the Canadian Council on Learning's annual learning index.

The Composite Learning Index (CLI) measures lifelong learning conditions across Canada, whether in school, at home, at work or in the community. A high score means a community possesses the types of learning conditions that foster social and economic well-being, while a low score means a community is under-performing in certain aspects that are key to lifelong learning.

The national CLI average for 2010 is 75 — unchanged from 2009. Also, Canada’s progress during the five years of the index has been modest. In 2006, Canada's score was 73, indicating an average increase of just 0.3 percentage points per year.

“It is worrisome to see little national progress being made in lifelong learning over the past five years, especially given the important role it plays in contributing to Canada’s social and economic prosperity,” said Paul Cappon, president and CEO of the Canadian Council on Learning.

“However, it is encouraging to see success stories in regions and communities across the country.”

Atlantic Canada makes greatest five-year surge

While Canada’s CLI score has seen little progress on a national level since the index began, the story is very different when it comes to specific regions of the country.

For example, the communities with the greatest progress over the past five years are St. John’s, N.L. (80) with an average increase of 3.5 points per year and Fredericton (78) with an average increase of 2.9 points per year.

The 2010 results also reveal communities in Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are improving at greater rates than other provinces in Canada, resulting in a narrowing of the CLI gap between Eastern and Western Canada.

Victoria and Saskatoon lead major Canadian cities

Victoria leads all other major Canadian cities on the 2010 CLI, with a score of 95 — the highest score for a major city in the history of the index. Saskatoon came in second with a score of 90, followed by Calgary (88), Ottawa (87) and Regina (84).

Victoria and Saskatoon are the only major cities in Canada with scores significantly above the national average, and positive trends over the past five years — an average increase of 2.7 points per year for Victoria and 1.5 points per year for Saskatoon.

Though Calgary and Ottawa continue to perform well on the index, their five-year trend scores show a significant decline — an average decrease of 0.9 points per year and 1.3 points per year, respectively.

The CLI shows that Saguenay (63), Trois-Rivières (65), Cape Breton (68), rural communities in Newfoundland and Labrador, and small towns in Nova Scotia are communities that are at-risk with regards to lifelong learning. These communities continue to have CLI scores that are not only significantly below the national average but have also been declining over the last five years.

Top scoring cities

2010 score

5-year trend



















Guelph, Ont.






Kitchener, Ont.






London, Ont.









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