British Columbia Council of Public Instruction

Identity area

Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name

British Columbia Council of Public Instruction

Parallel form(s) of name

  • Council of Public Instruction of the Province of British Columbia

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

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Description area

Dates of existence



From 1891 until 1971 the Public Schools Act provided for a "Council of Public Instruction composed of the Minister [of Education] and other members of the Executive Council of British Columbia." As chairman of the council, it was the minister's duty to advise his cabinet colleagues "on all matters relating to education in the province." In other words, when the cabinet met to consider educational matters it was functioning as the Council of Public Instruction. The council was the highest level in the province's educational bureaucracy. It had a wide range of powers that it exercised by issuing rules and through orders in council. The rules of the council dealt with general regulations while orders concerned specific situations. The powers of the council were laid out in the Public Schools Act. In general terms, its powers may be summarized under seven categories: definition, regulation, approval, investigation and adjudication, appointment, and establishment. Through its powers of definition the council could establish or abolish school districts, define the length of school terms, and decide the classes of teachers' certificates. Under its powers of regulation it could set conditions for establishing schools, determine conditions under which Bible readings were held in the schools, and establish the general duties of school teachers. Through its powers of approval it formally sanctioned the use of certain textbooks. Under the heading of authorization the council approved the course of study used in the schools and made grants for vocational programmes. Investigation and adjudication involved cases of disputed school board elections and the suspension of teachers' certificates. The council's powers of appointment allowed it to appoint school trustees and members of the Provincial Board of Examiners, while under the category of establishment the council could establish special training programmes and summer schools for teachers. The Council of Public Instruction ceased to exist on April 2, 1971 by an amendment to the Public Schools Act.


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