Can my children go to school if I’ve just immigrated to Ontario?

All children living in Ontario have the right to attend school. The law says that if a child is under 18 years old, a school can't refuse to admit them because of their immigration status or their parents' status. The rules are different for visitors to Canada.

If you've made a refugee claim, see Can my children go to school after I make a refugee claim?

In Ontario, all children between the ages of 6 and 18 must attend school. A child who is 6 years old before the first day of school in September must go to school. Most children also go to a kindergarten program when they are 4 or 5 years old.

A child can be excused from going to school only for a reason that is included in the law For example, a child doesn't have to go to school if they are sick, if it's a religious holiday, or if they are being “homeschooled”.

If you plan to teach your child at home, you need to tell your child's school board. It's a good idea to get advice from the school board about what is expected if you choose to homeschool your child. See What are the laws about homeschooling my child?

Your local school, other professionals, and community members have a duty to tell a child protection agency if:

  • you don't send your child to school,
  • your child misses a lot of school, or
  • there are concerns about your homeschooling.

Children over 18

If your child is over 18 and is not a Canadian citizen or , they will probably need a study permit to attend college or university. They will normally have to apply for a study permit from outside of Canada. And they usually have to pay international tuition fees. Some people can apply for a study permit from inside Canada. The government has created this tool to help you know whether you can do this.

Hide this website