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OISE's Ontario Historical Education Collections (OHEC)

Ontario Government Education Documents and Curricula

The Government Document Collection includes numerous documents, mainly from the Ontario Ministry of Education (formerly the Ontario Department of Education) that cover the areas of elementary, secondary and teacher education in the Province from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. The collection can be accessed by searching the library catalogue. Some Ontario government education documents and curricula from our historical collections have been digitized and are available via the Internet Archive.

Curriculum, Teaching, and Certification Guidelines

Curriculum Guidelines and Curriculum Support Materials

The collection includes Ontario curricula issued by the Department/Ministry of Education for elementary and secondary levels from 1871-1995. 

Curriculum support materials in the collection include the Circular 14 approved textbook lists, resource guides for specific programs and units, and radio and television program schedules and teaching guides from the Educational Television Branch. 

Program Policy and Guidelines

The collection includes policy and program guidelines such as literature related to technical education, cooperative or experiential learning, special (or auxiliary) education, individual education plans, and French-speaking schools.

Examinations and Graduation Requirements

The collection includes high school entrance and leaving exams, commercial subject exams, departmental exams, and normal school and school inspector exams. Graduation requirement documents such as Circular H.S.1, which listed high school diploma requirements, as well as more recent requirement guidelines

Circular 14 Approved Textbook List

Circular 14 covers in the Internet ArchiveCircular 14 was a publication issued by the Ontario government and provided to school boards from 1887-1996. Circular 14 publications listed the textbooks that had been reviewed and authorized for use in K-12 classrooms. They also contained information about government policies related to the provision and selection of textbooks in Ontario.

Circular 14 was issued in English from 1887-1973 and as a bilingual English and French document beginning in 1974. With the exception of its early years, the circular was published annually in January. From the years 1952 to 1991, two supplements (Circular 14A, released in the spring, and Circular 14B, released in the fall) were issued with updated listings. Beginning in 1971, the circular included an index of textbooks at the back, with page numbers indicating the levels and subjects for which the books were approved. Issues from 1979 and later also include a list of textbooks removed from the previous year's list.

Circular 14, 1995 was the last full print version of the circular. Circular 14, 1996 was released in print as a supplement to Circular 14, 1995; a CD-ROM version contained information from Circular 14, 1995 and the print supplement. An electronic supplement was released in 1997. The Trillium List replaced Circular 14, 1995 and the 1997 electronic supplement in 2002. 

Many of the texts listed in Circular 14 are held in the Ontario Textbook Collection. More information about Ontario's current authorized textbooks, the Trillium list, can be found on the Ministry of Education website

School Administration

Administration Policy and Guidelines

The collection includes documents containing policy and guidelines for school management and opening and closing exercises for public schools, as well as programmes issued by the Department of Education for the observation of special days (e.g., Empire Day, Commonwealth Day, and Remembrance Day).

Directives and Memoranda

The collection includes directives and memoranda issued by the government of Ontario to school principals. Current memoranda can be found online at the Ministry website.

School Infrastructure

The collection includes documents concerning the physical setup and design of schools and the establishment and management of school libraries.

Educational Legislation, Commissions, and Reports

Regulations and Acts

The collection includes government regulations and acts related to public school education from the mid-19th century to the 20th-century. 


Reports in the collection include the Annual Report of the Department of Education; early financial reports; and reports from 19th-century and early 20th-century education researchers on technical education, educational exhibitions, examinations, and visits to schools in Canada, the United States and Europe. More recent reports are also included. 

Commissions on Education in Ontario

Additional Resources

More information about Ontario government documents and other primary source materials can be found in the research guides listed below.