Canadian School for Kids

In Canada, children must attend elementary and secondary school by law. In general, children in Canada start school when they are five or six and finish when they are between 16 and 18.

Schooling is divided into elementary and secondary sometime between grades six and eight. At the completion of secondary school in Canada, Students receive a high school diploma. The school year usually begins in September and finishes near the end of June.

Children go to school on Monday to Friday during the school year, except on holidays. School hours vary but usually start sometime around 8 and end sometime around 3 in the afternoon. Schools usually offer a wide range of after-school activities, like sports and cultural clubs. More about school life in Canada.

To enroll your child in public school, you must contact your local school board. School boards manage public schools within a local area. They’re also responsible for tasks like administration, personnel, and enrolment. School boards are publicly elected. Your local school board will be able to tell you about all your options.  You can choose to send your children to private schools. There are also before and after school daycares available to you. The fees for these private institutions vary. Contact the schools directly.

As a general rule, a minor child who is accompanying a parent who is permitted to study or work may study in Canada.

Who is a minor?

In Canada, each province or territory defines the age of majority. Anyone under the age of majority at the time of their arrival in Canada is considered to be a minor child.

  • The age of majority is 18 in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Saskatchewan.
  • The age of majority is 19 in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the Yukon.
Minor children already in Canada are authorized to study without a study permit at the pre-school, primary or secondary level if

  • they are either accompanying parents claiming refugee status or are claimants themselves;
  • one of their parents (biological or adoptive) is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
  • one of their parents (biological or adoptive) is authorized to work or study in Canada; this includes temporary residents who are
    • work permit holders,
    • study permit holders,
    • visitor status holders (e.g., visitor record holders) who are either authorized to work without a permit, as per section 186 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), or authorized to study without a permit, as per section R188; or
  • neither parent is physically in Canada.

Minor children intending to study are required to apply for a study permit before entering Canada.

It should be noted that minor children of a temporary resident (visitor) who is not authorized to work or study require a study permit to study in Canada.

Please, check the government website for more information – Government of Canada.

Government ministries in charge of elementary and secondary education by province and territory

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