Frequently asked questions

  1. What are the Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence?
  2. What are the new awards for Teaching Excellence in STEM?
  3. Who can be nominated for a Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence?
  4. Who can be nominated for a Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence in STEM?
  5. Are applicants for the Teaching Excellence in STEM award still eligible for the Teaching Excellence award?
  6. How do I prove that the teacher's certificate is in good standing?
  7. Can school principals be nominated?
  8. Can school Educational Assistants (EA) be nominated?
  9. Can Kindergarten teachers be nominated?
  10. Are teaching teams eligible?
  11. Who can nominate?
  12. How are winners selected?
  13. Are there rules about how the award funds should be used?
  14. When is the 2018 nomination deadline?
  15. How do I send my nomination package?
  16. How do I know if my nomination package has been received?
  17. Can I send multimedia files (DVD, CD, USB) with my nomination package?
  18. When are the recipients announced?
  19. Will both successful and unsuccessful applicants be notified of their results?
  20. Are all provinces and territories always represented?
  21. How are Indigenous recipients selected?
  22. Who can I contact for more information?

What are the Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence?

The Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence have honoured exceptional elementary and secondary school teachers in all disciplines since 1993, with over 1,500 teachers honoured to date.

Recipients are recognized for their leadership and exemplary teaching practices as well as for their commitment to help the next generation of Canadians gain the knowledge and skills they need for future success in a world inspired by ideas and driven by innovation.

The Awards are administered by Innovation, Science and Economic Development on behalf of the Prime Minister, in partnership with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and with financial support from the program's corporate partner, the RBC Foundation.

What are the new awards for Teaching Excellence in STEM?

New for 2018, the Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence in STEM will recognize inspirational science, technology, engineering or 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.

Who can be nominated for a Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence?

Teachers at a Canadian elementary or secondary school who teach in all disciplines can be nominated.

The awards can honour the overall accomplishments of a single teacher or a team of up to three teachers. At the time of nomination, all nominees must meet the following criteria:

  • Nominees must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada;
  • Nominees must be certified to teach in a public or private school in a Canadian province or territory;
  • Nominees must teach the equivalent of 2.5 days per week in a classroom setting, or as defined by provincial or territorial guidelines; and,
  • Nominees must have taught in a Canadian school for at least three years.

For the complete list of the eligibility criteria, refer to the 2018 Nomination Guidelines.

Who can be nominated for Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence in STEM?

Teachers at a Canadian elementary or secondary school who teach at least one subject related to STEM can be nominated (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Teachers must also meet the same eligibility criteria as the Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence.

Are applicants for the Teaching Excellence in STEM award still eligible for the Teaching Excellence award?

Yes. Because eligible teachers must qualify for the same criteria for both award streams, educators who apply but do not receive a Teaching Excellence in STEM award may still be eligible for the Teaching Excellence award, provided standards of excellence are met.

How do I prove that the teacher's certificate is in good standing?

The PMA program will accept an employer letter confirming that the teacher's certification remains in good standing at the time of nomination.

Can school principals be nominated?

Yes. Principals are eligible for an award if they teach the equivalent of 2.5 days a week in a classroom setting and meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the 2018 Nomination Guidelines.

Can school Educational Assistants (EA) be nominated?

Yes. Educational assistants are eligible for an award if they hold a valid teaching certificate and meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the 2018 Nomination Guidelines.

Can Kindergarten teachers be nominated?

Yes. Certified Kindergarten teachers can be nominated for a Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence or Excellence in STEM.

Are teams of teachers eligible?

Yes. Teams of up to three teachers can be nominated for an award. Award funds are shared equally among the team members. Each member of a team must meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the 2018 Nomination Guidelines. Letters of support should endorse the accomplishments of all team members.

Some provinces and territories are beginning to integrate early childhood education programs into the K–12 system. Eligibility for individual or team nominations which may fall under both award categories will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Who can nominate?

Any person or group with direct knowledge of the nominee's contribution (i.e. parents, colleagues, principals, board members, and students) can make a nomination.

Self-nominations or nominations received from a nominee's immediate family member are not accepted. Posthumous nominations are also not accepted.

How are winners selected?

A selection committee made up of education experts from across the country determines the recipients based on a rigorous evaluation process.

The selection committee looks for clear evidence that nominees have excelled in all of the following five areas:

  1. Digital and Creative Literacy in the Classroom
  2. Innovative and Exemplary Teaching Practices
  3. Support Student Success and Skills Development
  4. Global Citizenship and Community Involvement
  5. Commitment and Leadership

Applications for the Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence and for Teaching Excellence in STEM will be judged on the same selection criteria.

Are there rules about how the award funds should be used?

Yes. The financial award is to be spent in collaboration with the recipient. Award funds may be used for professional development, equipment, resource materials, website development, teaching aids or other tools that improve teaching and student learning.

If a Certificate of Excellence recipient has changed schools, the institution's share of the financial award goes to the school at which the recipient was teaching at the time of nomination.

When is the 2018 nomination deadline?

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

How do I send my nomination package?

Completed nomination packages can be sent either by email or by regular mail:

Submitting by email

Email submissions must be sent to ic.pmate-ppmee.ic@canada.ca by the deadline date in one of the following file formats: .pdf, .doc, .docx .rtf, .txt, .jpg, .jpeg, .tiff, .tif, .xps. The total file size cannot exceed 10MB.

Submitting by mail

If you chose to submit a nomination by mail, make sure your package is postmarked by the deadline date and sent 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

Please refer to the 2018 Nomination Checklist (PDF, 71.8 KB, 1 page [Word version, 14.9 KB, 1 page]) to ensure that your nomination package includes all necessary information.

Can I send multimedia files (DVD, CD, USB) with my nomination package?

No. The PMA program office does not currently accept any multimedia materials with nominations, due to accessibility and obstacles with our selection committee. The PMA program is looking at ways to accept multimedia files in the future.

How do I know if my nomination package has been received?

Nominators will receive a notification by email confirming receipt of their nomination packages. If you have not received a confirmation, please contact the PMA program office at ic.pmate-ppmee.ic@canada.ca.

When are the recipients announced?

The exact date of the award ceremony changes from year to year. We recommend that you check our website for updates and encourage you to sign up for our email updates.

Following the announcement, the full list of recipients will be made available on our website.

Will both successful and unsuccessful applicants be notified of their results?

Yes. All applicants will be notified of their results by telephone or in writing. Notifications will be sent in the days leading up to the announcement.

Are all provinces and territories always represented?

The Prime Minister's Awards aim to present at least one Certificate of Excellence or one Certificate of Achievement for each of the following regions, provided standards of excellence are met:

  • British Columbia;
  • the Prairies (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba);
  • the North (Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut);
  • Ontario;
  • Quebec; and,
  • Atlantic Canada (New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador).

While it is not always possible to have award recipients from every province and territory, depending upon the nominations received, there is generally representation from across the country each year.

How are Indigenous recipients selected?

The Prime Minister's Awards aim to present at least one Certificate of Excellence or one Certificate of Achievement to top-ranked Indigenous teachers, provided standards of excellence are met.

Who can I contact for more information?

For more information about the Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence or Teaching Excellence in STEM, please contact the PMA program office at ic.pmate-ppmee.ic@canada.ca or 613-991-4255. To receive the latest news about the Prime Minister's Awards, we encourage you to sign up for email updates.

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