Ontario is one of the ten provinces of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province by a large margin, accounting for nearly 40% of all Canadians, and is the second largest province in total area. Ontario is fourth largest in total area when the territories of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are included. It is home to the nation's capital city, Ottawa, and the nation's most populous city, Toronto.
Ontario is bordered by the province of Manitoba to the west, Hudson Bay and James Bay to the north, and Quebec to the east, and to the south by the U.S. states of Minnesota, Michigan, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. All but a small part of Ontario's 2,700 km (1,678 mi) border with the United States follows inland waterways: from the west at Lake of the Woods, eastward along the major rivers and lakes of the Great Lakes/Saint Lawrence River drainage system. These are the Rainy River, the Pigeon River, Lake Superior, the St. Marys River, Lake Huron, the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River,Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario and along the St. Lawrence River from Kingston, Ontario, to the Quebec boundary just east of Cornwall, Ontario.
Ontario is sometimes conceptually divided into two regions, Northern Ontarioand Southern Ontario. The great majority of Ontario's population and its arable land is located in the south. In contrast, the larger, northern part of Ontario is sparsely populated.
The province is named after Lake Ontario, a term thought to be derived fromOntarí:io, a Huron (Wyandot) word meaning "great lake", or possibly skanadario, which means "beautiful water" in theIroquoian languages. Ontario contains about 250,000 freshwater lakes.
In Canada, education falls under provincial jurisdiction. Publicly funded elementary and secondary schools are administered by the Ontario Ministry of Education, while colleges and universities are administered by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. The current Minister of Education is Liz Sandals, and the current minister of Training, Colleges and Universities is John Milloy.
Higher education in Ontario includes postsecondary education and skills training regulated by the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities and provided by universities, colleges of applied arts and technology, and private career colleges. The current minister is Brad Duguid who assumed the role February 19, 2013 from the previous minister Glen Murray. The ministry administers laws covering 22 public universities, 24 public colleges (21 Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology (CAATs) and three Institutes of Technology and Advanced Learning (ITALs)), 17 privately funded religious universities, and over 500 private career colleges. The Canadian constitution provides each province with the responsibility for higher education and there is no corresponding national federal ministry of higher education. WithinCanadian federalism the division of responsibilities and taxing powers between the Ontario and Canadian governments creates the need for co-operation to fund and deliver higher education to students. Each higher education system aims to improve participation, access, and mobility for students. There are two central organizations that assist with the process of applying to Ontario universities and colleges: the Ontario Universities' Application Centre and Ontario College Application Service. While application services are centralized, admission and selection processes vary and are the purview of each institution independently. Admission to many Ontario postsecondary institutions can be highly competitive. Upon admission, students may get involved with regional student representation with the Canadian Federation of Students, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance, or through the College Student Alliance in Ontario.