Saskatchewan Public School System Stable Six Years After Expansion of Independent School Funding



September 5, 2018

A new study finds that Saskatchewan’s 2012 expansion of independent school funding made educational options more affordable for parents without disrupting the public school  system. 

In the first year that partial funding became available for Qualified Independent Schools, half the non-funded independent schools in the province joined the new category, receiving 50 percent of the per-student average funding that government schools get.  Since 2012/13, QIS enrolments have grown by about 37 percent, but overall numbers are small, moving from 608 to 834 students.

“Any major changes occurred only in the first year of the policy change, probably reflecting pent up demand for more alternative and affordable options,” says Dr. Deani Van Pelt, a Cardus Senior Fellow and author of the new Cardus report. “And the new funding led to benefits for all stakeholders. Parents and students have more options. Schools have improved stability, credibility, and professional development, and government benefits through improved transparency of independent school operations.”

In order to receive funding, non-profit QIS schools must meet a series of requirements, including adherence to the Saskatchewan curriculum, employing only fully certified teachers, and submitting to provincial supervision and inspection.

The Cardus study also found that while the independent school sector as a whole grew by 24 percent over the period, 

  • religious independent schools enrolled 77.3 percent of independent school students in 2017/18, an almost 5 percentage point decline since 2012/13
  • the number of specialty schools such as Montessori, Waldorf, and online schools has grown, rising almost 3 percentage points since 2012/13 to comprise 46 percent of Saskatchewan’s independent schools
  • the independent school sector remains small, enrolling only 2.4 percent of Saskatchewan students 

A PDF version of Qualified Independent Schools in Saskatchewan: An Examination of a Recent Policy Change for a New Category of Funded Independent Schools is freely available online.

For interviews with Dr. Van Pelt, please, contact Daniel Proussalidis at

Daniel Proussalidis
Cardus - Director of Communications

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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.