As a group, we’re a bunch of smart cookies.


Ottawans top the list of the most educated people and the best learners in Canada, according to a new report on learning released yesterday.


Ottawa and Victoria, each with scores of 93, are this year’s top performers among Canada’s major cities (followed by Calgary and Gatineau at 92) on the Composite Learning Index — the world’s only statistical index of lifelong learning, said the Canadian Council on Learning.


There are reasons why cities like Ottawa rank higher than others, said council CEO Paul Cappon. For one, at 57 per cent, Ottawa has the highest proportion of university graduates in the country.

And thanks to the presence of several universities and federal government employees, the National Capital Region generally has a higher level of education, agreed uOttawa registrar Francois Chapleau.

Ottawa also ranks high for learning professional skills and personal development, Cappon said.

“It’s not just learning inside the classroom, but outside, as well,” he said. “There’s more access to culture and performing arts and media here.”

Ottawa leads a positive trend across the country that has seen Canada improve for the second year in a row on the index, driven by improvement in the areas of work-related learning and learning for personal development.

Cappon said that while Ottawa has a higher formal education rate than Gatineau, growth across the river is mainly driven by skills acquisition.

Gatineau also ranked in the top 10 most-improved cities in Canada, rising 4.8 points in the last year.
For 2008, the national average is 77, an increase of one point from 2007 and four points from the national benchmark of 73 set in 2006.

The Composite Learning Index reports results for 4,700 cities and communities across Canada.