Safety, Support, Character: Why Average British Columbians Send Their Kids to Independent Schools



August 21, 2019

OTTAWA, ON – A new report by think tank Cardus has found that more than half the parents of kids in British Columbia’s indpendent schools have had to make major financial changes to access that educational option. Who Chooses Independent Schools in B.C. and Why? found that many parents have had to change jobs, take a part-time job, or make other budget sacrifices in order to send their kids to these schools.

“The vast majority of independent schools in B.C. cater to average folks,” says report co-author and Cardus Senior Fellow Dr. Deani Van Pelt. “Our research has found that 65% of parents with kids in a B.C. independent school attended only public schools growing up. These are parents who’ve decided an independent school best meets the diverse needs of their kids, which is a family decision that deserves respect and support.”

Among the key findings in Who Chooses Independent Schools in B.C. and Why? are the top three reasons parents choose an independent school:

  • a caring and nurturing environment for their kids
  • school safety
  • an emphasis in character development.

Researchers also found that B.C. independent schools cater to the growing diversity of the province:

  • Nearly half (48%) of British Columbia independent school parents were born outside Canada, compared to less than a third (31%) of British Columbians.
  • B.C. parents with kids in independent schools are more than twice as likely as the average British Columbian to speak mostly a language other than English or French at home.

“It’s so important to understand what parents are looking for in education, their kids’ needs, and how a diverse range of schools can meet those needs,” says co-author David Hunt. “Equitable access to a range of educational options is a matter of fairness to average folks in B.C. and a recognition of the province’s growing social diversity, which is why public funding for independent schools is so important.”

Who Chooses Independent Schools in B.C. and Why? is available online.


Daniel Proussalidis
Cardus – Director of Communications
613-241-4500 x508

About Cardus
Cardus is a non-partisan, faith-based think tank, and registered charity dedicated to promoting a flourishing society through independent research, robust public dialogue, and thought-provoking commentary. To learn more, visit our website, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.


Cardus is a non-partisan, not-for-profit public policy think tank focused on the following areas: education, family, work & economics, communities, end-of-life care, and religious freedom. It conducts independent and original research, produces several periodicals, and regularly stages events with Senior Fellows and interested constituents across Canada and the U.S.