1. Understand Ontario’s education laws

Both Ontario's Education Act and Canada's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act say that children have a right to go to school. A child who is 6 years old before the first day of school in September must go to school. Most children can attend a kindergarten program when they are 4 or 5 years old.

If your refugee claim is eligible, you and your family members claiming with you have legal status in Canada as “refugee claimants”. You will be given an identity document called a Refugee Protection Claimant Document. You can use this document to register your child in school.

If you're waiting for your refugee hearing, it's against the law for a school to refuse to admit a child who is under 18 years old only because the child, or the child's parent or guardian, is in Canada as a refugee or without any immigration status.

A school can't refuse to admit your children because you don't have:

  • proof of immigration status or proof that you've applied for status
  • a work permit or Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Ontario Health Insurance Program (OHIP) coverage
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