Media Education in Ontario

This section comprises a curricular overview (below), as well as information about professional development for media education, and about Ontario’s provincial media education association, the Association for Media Literacy (AML), in the sidebar.

Also included in the sidebar, are curriculum charts for Grades 1-12 that feature media education outcomes in the Ontario English Language Arts curriculum, with links to supporting MediaSmarts resources and lessons.

Last reviewed in July 2016

Curricular Overview

In 1987, Ontario was the first Canadian province to mandate media education. The new curriculum specified it was to constitute one-tenth of Grades 7-8 English and one-third of Grades 9-10 and 11-12 English courses. In 1995, media education was introduced into Ontario’s Common Curriculum: Policies and Outcomes for Grades 1-8.

In 2006, Ontario introduced a new Language curriculum for Grades 1-8. The new curriculum includes a new expectation strand: Media Literacy. The Media Literacy strand gives media education the same focus as the traditional strands included in the curriculum: Oral Communications, Reading, and Writing. The 2006 Ontario Curriculum expects teachers to, “plan activities that blend expectations from the four strands in order to provide students with the kinds of experiences that promote meaningful learning and that help students recognize how literacy skills in the four areas reinforce and strengthen one another.”

The secondary English curricula for Grades 9 and 10 was released in March 1999 and implemented in September 1999. Curricula for English courses for Grades 11 and 12 were implemented in September 2001 and 2002 respectively.

The secondary English curriculum has four strands: Literature Studies and Reading, Writing, Language, and Media Studies. The media education strand includes critical thinking components and constitutes a quarter of the learning expectations. Media components are also integrated within the other three strands.

The English curriculum for Grades 11 and 12 also includes an optional Media Studies course, which is built around the study of media texts, media audiences and media production. Other optional courses in Canadian Literature, Writers’ Craft and Literacy also include media-related expectations.

In addition to the English curriculum, media education expectations are found in the health and physical education, geography and history curriculum in Ontario. Curriculum outcome charts are included in the sidebar with links to supporting resources and lessons.