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OISE's Ontario Historical Education Collections (OHEC)

Ontario Government Education Documents

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.

For more information on Ontario government documents, see the Ontario government information research guide. 

The OHEC collection includes, but is not limited to, the types of documents listed below. Click on the links or scroll down for more detailed information about the collection holdings.

Curriculum, Teaching, and Certification Guidelines

School Administration

Educational Legislation, Commissions and Reports



Curriculum, Teaching, and Certification Guidelines

  • Curricula (1900 to present): for both elementary and secondary levels, including the “Grey Book,” which contained elementary curriculum for grades 1-6 from 1937-1960.
  • Curriculum support material: including approved textbook lists (Circular 14), 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: including literature related to technical education, cooperative or experiential learning, special (or auxiliary) education, individual education plans, and French-speaking schools
  • Examinations (1873-1967): written province-wide including high school entrance and leaving exams, commercial subjects, departmental exams, and normal school and school inspector exams.
  • Graduation requirements (1943 - present): including Circular H.S.1 which listed high school diploma requirements from 1943 to 1977, as well as more recent requirement guidelines.

School Administration

  • Administration policy and guidelines: concerning school management, opening and closing exercises for public school, and programs for the observation of special days (including Empire Day, Commonwealth Day and Remembrance Day)
  • Directives and Memoranda (from 1956 – 1995): information sent directly to school principals from the ministry. Current memoranda can be found online at the Ministry website.
  • Documents concerning the physical setup and design of schools, from the late 19th century to the mid 20th century.
  • Documents pertaining to the establishment and management of  school libraries (1967-1982).

Educational Legislation, Commissions, and Reports

  • Regulations and Acts: From the mid 19th century to mid 20th century.
  • Reports, from nineteenth century to the present: including the Annual Report (1845-1971) of the Dept. of Education; early financial reports; reports from 19th century and early 20th century education researchers on technical education, educational exhibitions, examinations, and visits to schools in Canada, United States and Europe; as well as more recent reports.
  • Commissions on education in Ontario: Royal Commission on Education in Ontario (1950), Living and learning (1968), and For the love of learning (1994).

Digitized Documents

Some Ontario government education documents and curricula from our historical collections have been digitized and are available via the Internet Archive.