Public education in Ontario is provided free to all Canadian citizens and permanent residents aged under 20 years. As with the rest of Canada, education is a provincial responsibility to administer.
As a newcomer to Canada you may require additional help developing your English with help available from ESL Ontario - master English for better living in Canada.
For education in Ontario, students are legally required to attend school between the ages of 6 and 16 years, although most students continue until they are 18 years to receive a graduation diploma.
It is extremely important that you find out when the registration period is to ensure that your kids get the places at the schools you want. The registration normally takes place several months before the year starts (I.E. register in Feb. for September). Contact the particular school to find out the precise details. There may well be an administration fee charged to register your child!
One essential piece of research you need to do BEFORE you purchase/rent a house is to find the school(s) you want your child(ren) to attend. This is vital as the schools are dedicated to particular residential area's so where you live decides where they go to school. Though the Canadian education system is very good, some schools are better than others and then there is the match of elementary/high schools where one could be exceptional and the other poor.
Publicly funded elementary and secondary schools (including Catholic and French) are administered by Ontario's 72 district
The School Year
usually runs from the beginning of September through to June 30th. However, there may be variations to this within different school boards.
Most schools close down for the months of July and August as well as breaks at Christmas and Easter.
Elementary and Secondary Schools
starts with Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten (ages 4 & 5 years). The student will attend 5 days of either morning or afternoon classes.
It is normally part of the school that your child will attend in Grade 1 and is good preparation for full time school. Students continue at elementary school from Grade 1 (age 6) to Grade 8 (age 14).
This age or younger is a very good time to think about saving for your child's post secondary education. Fee's for post secondary education are very expensive. There is a savings plan available in which the Federal Government will input a percentage of your contributions. These are called
Registered Education Savings Plan
Secondary schools also offer High School
for children from Grade 9 through to Grade 12.
To graduate and receive an Ontario High School
students must complete at least 30 credits in secondary school (one course usually equals one credit).
The majority of Ontario's elementary and secondary school students study in English although about 100,000 students whose first language is French will study in French.
Transfer From Abroad
Students who are coming to complete their education in Ontario from a different school system should submit an official statement of previous standing, such as a report card to the school they want to enroll in.
You should also have the previous school records and transcripts, copies of course outlines and content. After considering a number of factors including the students age, records and test results they will be placed in the appropriate grade.
There are 18
in Ontario, each offering undergraduate (bachelor's) degrees, and most offer graduate (master's and doctorate) degrees. Funding for the universities is given by the ministry, who also give them degree granting authority.
There are also several privately funded degree- granting
in Ontario. These have been given the authority by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to offer degrees or programs that lead to degrees.
There are 25 colleges of applied
Art and Technology.
The programs offered by these colleges are approved by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. They offer full and part time career oriented courses that offer skills that can lead to careers in business, applied arts, technology, and health sciences.
As with all of Canada, the Post Secondary education in Ontario is NOT free. Several years ago, the Canadian Government launched (RESP's) to help parents save for their children's future education needs. These are great if you start them early, but if your kids are about to start when you land it is too late. (see link above for more details).
Student Assistance Program
is a scheme whose purpose is to supplement, not replace, the financial resources that you are expected to contribute towards post secondary education. The amount of assistance you receive is based on financial need and is aimed at lower income families.
You are responsible for meeting the basic cost of post secondary education in Ontario. Loans are available interest free, whilst you are studying, for full time students. There are also loans available for part time students but these are not interest free.
You must hold a valid Social Insurance number in order for your OSAP application to be processed.
For your convenience, here are links to our other education pages: