Nominate a teacher

The Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence

These awards honour outstanding and innovative elementary and secondary school teachers in all disciplines for their remarkable educational achievements and for their commitment to preparing their students for a digital and innovation‑based economy. The recipients' monetary awards are funded by the RBC Foundation.

The Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence in STEM

New this year, awards will also recognize inspirational Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) teachers at the elementary or secondary school level who keep students engaged in STEM learning and who help develop the culture of innovation that Canada needs today, and in the future.

2018 Nomination Guidelines

Who is eligible?

  • Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada
  • Certified teachers at a Canadian elementary or secondary school
  • Candidates who have taught the equivalent of 2.5 days per week in a classroom setting for at least three years

Here is the full list of eligibility criteria

What do winners receive?

Recipients of the award receive the following:

  • Cash awards worth up to $5,000
  • A certificate from the Prime Minister
  • Promotion of their best teaching practices
  • National recognition for their contribution to excellence in education in Canada

How do I nominate a teacher?

Nominators need to submit a detailed nomination package that includes:

  • A nomination text that shows how the teacher meets the five selection criteria
  • Three letters of support from people who know and support the teacher
  • Supporting documentation that confirms the teacher's eligibility

How do I get started?

Start the nomination process today by downloading a nomination package (PDF 183 KB, 9 pages).

Nomination deadline

Nomination packages must be submitted to the Prime Minister's Awards program office by email or regular mail January 12, 2018. Late entries will not be considered.

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Teachers are eligible for two awards:

  • The national Certificate of Excellence
    • Carries a cash prize of $5,000.
    • Awards are shared equally between the recipients and their schools.
    • Recipients are traditionally invited to Ottawa to receive their award from the Prime Minister or his designate.
  • The regional Certificate of Achievement
    • Carries a cash prize of $1,000.
    • Awards are given solely to the recipients.
    • Recipients are traditionally honoured locally at school events and receive their award from their Member of Parliament or local leader, as appropriate.

All winning teachers receive a certificate and a letter of congratulations from the Prime Minister. Each recipient's school also receives a certificate.

Each year, the Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence awards up to 10 Certificates of Excellence and up to 25 Certificates of Achievement.

The Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence in STEM awards up to 2 Certificates of Excellence and up to 15 Certificates of Achievement.

All PMA recipients are expected to conform to the program's Code of Conduct

Eligibility Criteria

At the time of nomination, all nominees must meet the following criteria:

Nominees must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

Evidence: Nominees must sign the nomination form attesting that they are Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

Nominees must be certified to teach in a public or private school in a Canadian province/territory.

Evidence: A copy of the nominee's original teaching certificate must be provided.

A nominee's teaching certification must be in good standing with their provincial/territorial governing body.

Evidence: An employer letter attesting that the teacher's certification is in good standing at the time of nomination is required.

Nominees must have taught in a Canadian school at the elementary or secondary level at least 2.5 days per week in a classroom setting for a minimum of three years and must still be teaching at the time of nomination.

Evidence: An employer letter confirming a minimum of three years' employment in an elementary or secondary school at least 2.5 days per week is required. Separate employer letters are required in cases where the teacher has worked in different schools over the three-year period.

Note: If the certification to teach is withdrawn between the time of nomination and the award presentation, the PMA program office reserves the right to withdraw the candidacy. If eligibility status of a nomination is compromised or changes, the nominator and/or nominee has the responsibility to inform the PMA program office in writing.

Selection Criteria

Award recipients are selected based on the excellence and innovation of their teaching practices and for their commitment to preparing their students for a digital and innovation-based economy. While a specific exemplary project or practice may form part of a nomination, nominees are judged on their overall and ongoing merits as teachers.

Applications for the Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence and for Teaching Excellence in STEM will be judged on the same selection criteria. Nominators for the STEM award must include specific examples on how the teacher displays excellence in STEM based teaching.

In selecting award recipients, the committee looks for clear evidence that nominees have excelled in all of the following five areas:

1. Digital and Creative Literacy in the Classroom

Describe and provide concrete examples of how the teacher uses digital technologies in the classroom to foster creativity and improve student learning and outcomes.

Nomination writing tips

You may choose to explain how the teacher:

  • provides opportunities for all students to be actively engaged in hands-on learning, using a variety of technologies (e.g. Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), computer coding, engaging girls in STEM)
  • develops and uses collaborative learning materials, resources and multimedia (text, graphics, animation, music, and video)
  • educates students about digital literacy, privacy, cyber bullying and the safe and ethical use of the Internet
  • helps students in remote communities access quality learning materials and provides them with equal opportunities for success through the use of a variety of technologies and resources

Note: Where examples of using digital tools are not available due to challenges relating to accessing these resources, please provide context explaining how the educator works to instill knowledge of digital literacy despite these obstacles.

2. Innovative and Exemplary Teaching Practices

Describe and provide concrete examples of the innovative and exemplary teaching practices that are replicable and best show the teacher's contribution to his or her students' learning.

Nomination writing tips

You may choose to explain how the teacher:

  • provides a stimulating and engaging learning environment for students of all levels or abilities
  • implements creative and innovative teaching approaches
  • encourages cooperative learning in the classroom
  • integrates education subjects across other disciplines (e.g. interdisciplinary/cross-curricular teaching)
3. Support Student Success and Skills Development

Describe and provide concrete examples of how the teacher engages students in diverse learning opportunities to support their academic and personal growth.

Nomination writing tips

You may choose to explain how the teacher:

  • helps students develop higher level thinking skills (such as problem solving, creativity, innovation)
  • encourages students to show leadership and take initiative
  • encourages high attendance rates and strong student participation in extracurricular activities
  • fosters student success in provincial/territorial, district, school board examinations or in-class assessments and activities
  • supports student emotional development, mental health, social awareness and sense of responsibility
4. Global Citizenship and Community Involvement

Describe and provide concrete examples of how the teacher encourages students to become global citizens, and involves parents, families and the community in students' education and learning.

Nomination writing tips

You may choose to explain how the teacher:

  • encourages students to critically consider real-world issues (such as climate change, human rights, gender equality, cultural diversity, inclusivity, etc.) and identify possible solutions through collaboration and innovation
  • encourages the sharing of family traditions and cultural identity (e.g. Indigenous arts and culture)
  • fosters community contacts or business-education partnerships that complement student learning
5. Commitment and Leadership

Describe and provide concrete examples of how the teacher demonstrates a passion for teaching and leadership in the classroom.

Nomination writing tips

You may choose to explain how the teacher:

  • demonstrates exceptional commitment and leadership despite challenges in the classroom (e.g. working with at-risk youth, or in remote communities)
  • collaborates with fellow educators to allow students to engage in learning opportunities across subject matters
  • organizes, facilitates or delivers professional development courses, workshops or other educational activities
  • acts as a mentor and role model for students, new teachers and other educators
  • encourages a model of life-long learning

Letters of Support

Three (3) letters must be provided with each nomination, and must be dated and signed by the author. They should demonstrate a nominee's positive impact on students and provide evidence of the nominee's excellence and achievements under any or all of the five (5) selection criteria.

Letters of support must meet the following requirements:

  • Letters must be written by anyone with direct knowledge for the nominee's accomplishments, for example:
    • Students
    • Parents
    • Peers
    • Professional associations, etc.;
  • One letter must come from the school principal (unless they wrote the nomination);
  • Letters should not exceed two pages each;
  • Each letter must be dated, signed and issued no earlier than six months before to the nomination deadline;
  • Each letter must include contact information for the author (email and/or telephone); and,
  • Letters cannot come from a nominee's immediate family member.

Sharing Best Practices

The achievements of all recipients are promoted both nationally and in the teachers' home communities. Certificate of Excellence recipients are profiled in individual videos describing their exemplary teaching practices and how they might be replicated by other educators. The videos will be used to dynamically share national recipients' stories with the education community and the media helping to promote their accomplishments.

Selection Process

After an initial screening for basic eligibility, copies of the nomination text and letters of support are sent to our selection committee members for review. Selection committee members include representatives of major education stakeholders from across Canada.

Nomination packages are evaluated and ranked by selection committee members based on how well the nominee meets the selection criteria. A final list of top-ranked teachers is then provided to the Prime Minister for recognition.

How to Nominate

Please complete one nomination form (PDF 73.7 KB, 1 page) for each nominee. Completed nomination packages can be sent by email or by regular mail.

Nomination Form
(PDF 73.7 KB, 1 page)

Alternative Format
(MS Word, 81 KB, 2 pages)

By Email

Before submitting your nomination by email, make sure you meet the following requirements:

  • Your files are saved in one of the following formats: .pdf, .doc, .docx, .rtf, .txt, .jpg, .jpeg, .tiff, .tif, .xps.
  • The total file size of your nomination does not exceed 10MB
  • Your email is sent no later than the nomination deadline
  • You submit your nomination electronically to:

By mail

Before mailing your nomination, make sure you meet the following requirements:

  • Your nomination is postmarked no later than the nomination deadline
  • Your nomination is mailed to the following address:
    Prime Minister's Awards
    Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
    C.D. Howe Building
    235 Queen Street
    Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H5

Who can Nominate

Nominators may be any person or group with direct knowledge of the nominee's contribution, such as:

  • Students
  • Parents
  • Fellow teacher
  • School principal or supervisor, etc.

The following are not acceptable nomination methods:

  • Self-nominations
  • Nominations from immediate family members Footnote 1.
  • Posthumous nominations

Team Nominations

  • The PMAs are designed to honour the overall accomplishments of an individual or team of up to three teachers. Cash awards are to be shared equally among the team members. When team members teach in different schools, cash awards are to be shared equally among the institutions (Certificate of Excellence only).
  • Each member of a team must meet the eligibility requirements described above. A team nomination should reflect a true collaboration, not simply a collection of individual accomplishments. The nomination text should describe how the team worked together to meet each of the selection criteria.
  • Letters of support should endorse the accomplishments of all team members.
  • Only one nomination package is accepted for a team nomination; however, separate nomination forms are required for each nominee, along with a copy of each nominee's teaching certification, evidence that each nominee's teaching certification is in good standing, and evidence of each nominee's experience.


The following candidates are eligible for a re-nomination:

  • Unsuccessful candidates
  • Past Certificate of Achievement recipients

The following candidates are not eligible for a re-nomination:

  • Past Certificate of Excellence recipients

Tips for writing and submitting a nomination

An effective nomination package should illustrate the outstanding achievements of the nominee and clearly explain why the individual should receive one of Canada's highest honours in teaching.

Nominators should:

  • Organize their text using each selection criterion as a separate heading;
  • Describe special projects, philosophies, unique learning environments, extracurricular activities, or special achievements that make this nominee excel;
  • Focus on the nominee's overall achievements and not simply on one particular project;
  • Embed relevant photos or quotations directly within the text to support the nomination; and
  • Download the nomination text template for formatting guidelines and suggestions.

Please refer to the checklist to ensure you have included all necessary information in your nomination package.


Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) is grateful to the RBC Foundation for their generous support of the PMA for Teaching Excellence. ISED and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, as partners in the Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence, gratefully acknowledge the volunteer contributions of numerous education organizations across Canada who take part in the award selection process. The program could not function without the participation of these volunteers.

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