The construct of ‘neo-liberalism’ well defines privatisation within a global convergence of educational policy discourses and practices. This study analyses initiatives for and processes of privatisation in Canadian education from K–12 to post-secondary levels. In considering how privatisation is affecting public education systems in Canada, the authors focus on the commodification and marketisation of education. They also examine issues of equity and the viability of universally accessible and publicly funded education systems. Finally, the study highlights two main interrelated trends: the intrusion of market discourse into education at all levels on one hand and on the other a growing tension between contrasting conceptions of education as a tradable commodity and as a social right.