In British Columbia, parents value a wide range of alternatives when choosing the right education for their children; however, in conversation parents are often uncertain on the simple matter of vocabulary. Are these schools private schools or independent schools and what is implied by the vocabulary used?
The government of British Columbia makes it clear that in BC we use the word "independent." A school in BC established as an alternative to the public school system is required to operate according to the Independent School Act and falls within the jurisdiction of the Office of the Inspector of Independent Schools.
But is it "private"? No. However, confusion still exists - not in the bureaucracy itself but in the vocabulary used in conversation.
To assist with this let us assume that a "private enterprise" usually implies an organization that operates for profit; there are a few schools in BC that are privately owned but operate under the Independent School Act (these are known as "Group 4" schools).
In conversation, parents frequently assign the word "private" to situations where they can exercise their right to choose, to elect to send their children to one of approximately 350 schools that operate outside the public school system. But there is nothing that is private about these schools. These schools operate as not-for-profit societies usually under the Society Act of British Columbia.
When it comes to an independent school:
Thus, we are considering a matter of vocabulary alongside school philosophies:
The fact that different provinces use different vocabulary doesn't help with the overall confusion:
This article courtesy of http://isabc.ca/articles/private-school-or-independent-school-does-language-help-or-confuse