The school I chose won’t let my child attend. Can they do that?

3. Understand attendance rules related to immigration

Every child living in Ontario has the right to attend school no matter what their immigration status is. This includes children who are:

  • not Canadian citizens
  • permanent residents
  • refugee claimants
  • unlawfully in Canada
  • living in Canada temporarily

If you arrive in Canada after the start of the school year, you can begin school right away. You do not have to wait until the start of the next school year.

No immigration documentation needed

You don’t usually have to show the school any immigration documents if you want to register your child. A school cannot refuse to admit your child because you don’t have:

  • proof of immigration status or proof that you have applied for status
  • a work permit or Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • an Ontario Health Insurance Program (OHIP) card

Tuition for some students

All children have a right to attend school in Ontario. But some students must pay a tuition fee. These students include people who are:

  • in Canada on a study permit
  • visitors who do not plan to stay in Ontario permanently

Students will not have to pay a tuition fee if they are:

  • participating in an exchange program
  • on a temporary resident permit
  • claiming refugee protection (you may have to show that you have already submitted your refugee claim, even if the official decision has not been made)
  • waiting for a decision on a citizenship application (this only applies if the child’s parent is already a Canadian citizen living in Ontario)
  • waiting for a decision on a permanent residence application, or if their parent is waiting for a decision on a permanent residence application

Students will also not have to pay a tuition fee if they are:

  • a child of someone who is doing official military work
  • a child of someone who is doing official diplomatic work
  • a child of someone who has a work permit or who has submitted a work permit application
  • a child of someone who is an official religious worker
  • a child of someone who is an Ontario college or university student
  • a child of a visiting teacher or professor at an Ontario college or university
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