Canada has one of the best education systems in the world, with highly rated schools, universities, and colleges across the country. If you are an immigrant looking to study or enroll your child in any of these schools or institutions, you will need to know the following key pieces of information:
Studying in Canada
Canada has a world-class education system that warrants its prestigious reputation. With universities ranked in a listing of the top 20 learning institutions across the world, you can expect to see many other international students attending Canada’s institutions every year. Fantastic amenities and internationally recognized degrees allow students to take their first steps into their chosen careers with confidence.
Start your child’s schooling on the right foot by enrolling them in one of the many schools across the country. Canada is a bi-lingual country, which means that you will need to check whether the school has a syllabus based in English or French.
In order to begin your child’s registration, it is recommended that you approach the relevant school board as these members will be able to assist you in your application.
For more information about the schooling system and how to enroll your child in school, please visit the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC) here.
At what age do children attend school?
Education in Canada usually begins with kindergarten followed by grades 1-12. By law, children must attend school between the ages of 5 or 6 and 16 or 18 – this will depend on the legislation in each province or territory.
Terms and hours
The school year usually runs for a total of 10 months between September and June of the following year. These months are divided into terms or quarters, but each year will differ as to when exactly these dates occur. The school term dates are set in advance so that families can plan their holidays and events around the official school year. If you arrive in Canada during the school year, you will be able to enroll your child by contacting the local school board to check availability.
Elementary schools run from 8:30am until 3 or 3:30pm with an hour for lunch. There are 2 breaks in between to allow the kids time to get outside and play while the teachers have a well-deserved break.
High schools run from 8:30am until 2:30pm. All extra-curricular activities are planned for after the school day and includes sports, matches and cultural programs. You can find out more about extracurricular activities here.
Cost of schooling
The cost of sending your child to school every year will differ by province and type of school. If your children are attending a public school, their education will be free as it is funded by the government. Attending a private school on the other hand, will be a costly process starting at CAD 4,000 annually, while the prestigious boarding schools can be as much as CAD 40,000 per year.
How to enroll your children
Many families choose to send their children to schools in their local area, often choosing to buy a home in the neighborhood.
You will need to provide various documents when registering your child in school. This includes:
- Proof of your child’s age – A birth certificate or passport.
- Proof of address – A copy of a bank statement, telephone or electricity bill or apartment lease with your name and address.
- Proof of guardianship – Required if your child is under 18 years of age and is not living with a parent.
- Proof of student’s immigration status
- Birth certificate
- Permanent Resident Card
- Confirmation of Permanent Residence (IMM 5292) or Record of Landing (IMM 1000)
- Immunization record – Proof that your son or daughter has been immunized
In some schools, your child will need to be assessed in their language skills and other abilities. Read more here.
Which grade will my child enter when we move?
Your child will usually be entered into the appropriate grade for his/her age, but this will also be dependent on your child’s initial assessment. There are community services that can assist you with registering your child.