We conducted survey research with the intent to characterize post-secondary introductory genetics (IG) education in Canada during the 1996-1997 academic year. At least a minimum data set was obtained from 47 institutions through responses to a mailed questionnaire and on-line resources. The total reported enrollment (TRE) for IG was 10,500. Over half of the TRE used one particular text. A core curriculum of topics was identified as those given more than 30 min of lecture time in at least half of reporting institutions. Slightly more than half of the TRE had laboratory exercises associated with their IG course. Laboratory exercises tended to emphasize classical transmission genetics with very few exercises in molecular genetics. For the determination of academic equivalency between institutions, particular attention should be given to the breadth and duration of the tutorial and (or) laboratory components. The majority of personnel teaching IG were trained in Canada within the previous 15 years. We suggest mechanisms by which the Genetics Society of Canada could work to promote genetical literacy.