Sistema Mississauga is inspired by the El Sistema program in Venezuela, founded in 1975 by Dr. Jose Antonio Abreu. El Sistema programs throughout Venezuela have touched the lives of 365,000 children, mainly from poor socioeconomic backgrounds. The program is a social program using music to empower kids and the orchestra and choir are means of achieving social change.
Jonathan Govias, writer, guest conductor and educator for El Sistema, wrote an article providing the "Five Fundamental Principles of El Sistema":
The primary objective is social transformation through the pursuit of musical excellence. One happens through the other, and neither is prioritized at the expense of the other.
The focus of El Sistema is the orchestra or choral experience.
El Sistema ensembles meet multiple times every week over extended periods.
El Sistema programs are free, and are not selective in admission
Every núcleo is linked at the urban, regional and national levels, forming a cohesive network of services and opportunities for students across the country.