While Canada leads other OECD member countries in postsecondary education (PSE) participation rates, there still remain underrepresented segments of the population which are less likely to pursue PSE. Ontarians who come from low-income households, have parents with no PSE, live in a rural area, identify as an Aboriginal person, and/or have a disability are less likely to enrol in PSE (Norrie & Zhao, 2011).
Youth from some ethnic and racial groups are also less likely to pursue PSE, particularly university (Abada, Hou, & Ram, 2008).
This paper focuses on early intervention programs as one approach to support underrepresented youth to complete secondary school and make the transition to PSE. These programs are intended to provide youth with the resources, support and information necessary to avoid dropping out of school and to increase their chances of participating in PSE (Chambers & Deller, 2011). Early intervention programs can originate within the elementary and secondary school systems, colleges, universities, community centres or other community-based organizations.
The first section of this report is a literature review summarizing the key thinking on the role of early
intervention programs in supporting access. Much of what we know in Canada about these programs is
drawn from the American context, where research on the topic has been extensive. As a result, the
literature review draws heavily from American sources, making links to the Canadian context where