Schooling in Canada: A guide for new families in Canada| UPDATED

So, your family members are planning a transfer to Canada?

In this instance, you may know that Canada is well-known around the globe for the top quality of its education and schooling system. This is because Canada depends heavily on taxpayer-funded public programs, including healthcare, social solutions, and education. 

The majority of Canadians and also newcomers (that’s you!) concur that the taxes they pay are well-spent on funding the country’s robust education system.

Just how great are Canada’s education and learning system?

Canada has an exceptional education system. According to a 2020 study, Canada is deemed to have the third-best education and learning system in the world. Furthermore, a thorough analysis of Statistics Canada shows that Canadians spend 6 per cent of Gdp (GDP) on education, over the average costs for nations participating in the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Growth (OECD).

As is usually the situation, money invested in schooling in Canada seems to settle. In Canada, 91 per cent of grownups aged 25-64 hold a minimum of a high-school diploma, with 68 per cent holding some post-secondary academic credential. These figures are well above OECD standards and show the significance of education in Canadian society.

What do you need to learn about education in Canada before showing up?

 The Canadian system|Preschools & Pre-Kindergarten|Elementary & High Schools|Common Questions|Post-Secondary Schools

Huge choices: Your location will determine where your child is most likely to go to an institution, or where you want your youngster to visit an institution will determine where you pick to live. It’s your selection.

Education in Canada is mainly handled at the provincial/territorial level, meaning that the system in Ontario will vary from that in British Columbia. Also, inside a province, education and learning can substantially differ between various types of schools and college areas.

Browsing your child’s academic chances is like browsing the Canadian migration system. There are a couple of critical things you need to find out at the beginning, but as long as you make an effort to educate yourself, you’ll be encouraged to make the very best option when it concerns enlightening your youngster.

Before we get involved in the nitty-gritty of education and learning, let’s speak about one of the first things you’ll require in Canada: a bank account. This overview was produced in collaboration with HSBC Financial institution Canada, which is here to assist invite beginners to Canada with their Newcomers Program, valued up to $1,350. *.

Learn more concerning the HSBC Canada Newcomers Program and learn how you can get up to $1,350 * in worth when you begin with HSBC—issued by HSBC Bank Canada.

I am comprehending the Canadian education system.

The Canadian education system can be divided right into three phases:

  • Preschool or pre-kindergarten
  • Primary & secondary education (additionally called K-12)
  • Post-secondary education and learning

Although there are a couple of distinctions between the districts, there are some unique features for each stage.

Kindergarten or pre-kindergarten.

Daycare centre, in some cases called pre-kindergarten, refers to an optional knowing chance for kids between the ages of 3 to 5 years. The choice is yours as to whether you intend to preschool your kid. 

Daycare centres and various other early childhood education services are offered free of charge in some districts, but in others (and for some exclusive programs), moms and dads may be required to pay.

Kindergarten is much less carefully structured than the compulsory phases of primary and secondary school. This suggests that there are varied alternatives for types of preschool, curriculums, routines, costs, etc. 

You’ll have to investigate the options offered in your intended destination as well as make sure to use them early, as the waiting list for some preschool programs can be extended.

An option for preschooling is daycares. These are childcare centres where staff will certainly supervise as well as care for children. Daycares commonly allow a more extensive age series of kids to participate in the enjoyable, as they serve primarily to look after the youngsters of functioning moms and dads. 

Whether or not to enrol your child in preschool or childcare is your decision. While it is usually accepted that the very first years of a child’s life are formative in the advancement of personality, social skills, and individual advancement, a preschool or daycare experience is not necessarily the only method of urging this kind of advancement.

 Numerous moms and dads in Canada encourage their kids’ very early youth growth in much less official settings, like tasks at home and involvement in neighbourhood play teams.

Pro-tip: See to it you study very early childhood education and learning in your desired province of residence in Canada. Some provinces use subsidized accessibility to particular preschooling and also child care solutions. COVID-19 has also led to reduced areas in some childcarers where government-mandated enrolment caps have been introduced.

Primary as well as secondary education and learnings.

In Canada, it is not simply your ethical responsibility as a mom and dad to guarantee that your kid obtains an education — it’s a legal need (solid education and learning, strong culture!). Therefore, primary as well as additional education and learning are obligatory parts of a youngster’s education in Canada.

Elementary and secondary education follow a comparable framework throughout Canada, with some mild rural variations. Typically, this kind of education begins at age five or six and starts with one year of preschool. 

This is complied with by twelve “qualities” of schooling, each lasting one year. After completing Qualities 1-12, a kid receives their secondary school diploma and may be qualified for post-secondary education.

Rural quirks:

In Ontario, kindergarten is divided into two years, Junior Kindergarten (for four-year-olds) and Elderly Preschool (for five-year-olds). Neither of these is required.

In Quebec, the elementary and secondary school systems are split into six qualities, complied with by 5 “second degrees” (Sec I-V), which only add up to eleven years. Nonetheless, adhering to completion of Sec V, trainees are offered the opportunity to participate in CEGEP (Collège d’enseignement général et professionnel). 

CEGEPs work as a crossbreed of high school and also college/university discovering, typically providing a semi-specialized curriculum based on a trainee’s interests or career goals.

In Nova Scotia, kindergarten is described as key.

As elementary and second education and learning are obligatory and play a major duty in a youngster’s advancement, we’re going to concentrate on this subject a bit longer as well as answer several of one of the most common questions.

HSBC Canada Newcomers Program.

Rise to $1,350 * in cash back and compensates when you begin with HSBC Bank Canada. So wherever you and your family are relocating, HSBC is here to welcome you to Canada—released by HSBC Canada. * Terms use.

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What types of colleges are available in Canada?

There are three primary choices for primary as well as secondary education in Canada.

Public schools: These are publicly-funded institutions offered to trainees in every region across Canada. These institutions are cost-free for children to participate in (moneyed through the same tax-payer system which funds healthcare and social services!). About 92 per cent of youngsters in Canada attend a public institution.

Independent schools: These colleges are possessed by exclusive entities and typically call for parents to pay a tuition cost for their child’s enrolment. Seven per cent of kids in Canada go to independent schools. However, tuition costs amongst independent schools can differ considerably.

Homeschooling: This is an alternative where a parent chooses to maintain their child in the house and educate them separately. Homeschooling laws differ between districts, but moms and dads can frequently locate suggested educational programs and sustaining products online. Unfortunately, less than one per cent of kids in Canada are homeschooled.

Sidebar– Catholic & spiritual schools: Religious institutions, primarily Catholic, exist throughout Canada in both the exclusive and also public systems. At these schools, Catholicism is typically integrated right into course curriculums. 

In Ontario, Catholic school boards receive rural financing and also are gone to by an expanding variety of non-Catholic students. While several Catholic colleges supply quality education, the combination of religious beliefs right into knowing might be something you want to take into consideration or prevent, per your choice.

You might be asking yourself whether public or private school provides your kid the best education and learning. Well, that relies on a number of variables: Do you have revenue readily available to afford private tuition charges? 

What sort of finding out environment finest matches your youngster? Which exclusive and public education alternatives are offered in the place you’re preparing to live?

Research studies show that trainees registered in secretive institutions typically have a more powerful academic efficiency than their public-school peers. But, scientists question whether this results from the quality of exclusive education or whether it results from the fact that independent school attendees often come from families with even more financial resources and parents with higher degrees of education themselves.

Canada’s public school system is well-regarded all over the world. Nevertheless, it would help if you researched the public institution options in the area you intend to live in and also guarantee that there are instructional offerings that match your youngster’s demands.

 You can start by checking out the website for the Department of Education and learning about any of the provinces you’re taking into consideration to make your home in Canada.

How much does it cost for primary and secondary schooling in Canada?

Primary and secondary schooling in Canada is offered for free with the public education and learning system. Indeed, you should anticipate indirect prices for points like college products, lunches and snacks, clothes, and a sightseeing tour.

If you select to send your youngster to a private school, you will certainly need to pay tuition fees. These vary depending on the institution you select. As an example, let’s analyze the 2020 tuition charges for Quality 1-5 pupils at the respected Upper Canada College in Toronto. 

If you’re taking care of your money, you may wish to consider the affordability of the public college system. Attending a public school may enable you to save for your youngster’s university or college studies. 

In which language( s) is education used in Canada?

Schooling in Canada is used in the nation’s two main languages: English and French. English colleges use some French-language studies as a part of their educational program and also vice-versa for French colleges. Nevertheless, the quality of the second-language offerings differs from college to institution.

Suppose you desire your child to be educated in both languages. In that case, you might consider locating an English college that supplies a durable French immersion program (or the other way around) or sending your kid to a French school in an English area. As well, some institutions provide programs in other languages past English as well as French.

Notably, French colleges exist across Canada, not simply in the French-speaking district of Quebec. So while there might not be a French school in every community, if you want to focus on providing your youngster with an education in French, you can likely discover a college in your favoured district.

Do you require the French to prosper in Canadian society? No. Several Canadians do not have fluency in the French language, but having French capabilities can significantly increase an individual’s employability, particularly if they intend to live in Quebec, New Brunswick, or operate in particular fields, consisting of numerous federal government tasks.

When does school occur yearly in Canada?

Primary and secondary schools in Canada typically begin in late August or early September. The school year typically ends in late Might or June.

Elementary and additional schooling happens five days a week from Monday to Friday, except statutory vacations and summertime getaways.

How much time is each institution day in Canada?

The typical institution day in Canada begins around 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. and also lasts till about 3 p.m. or 4 p.m. Of course, this changes a bit from college to institution, so it’s ideal to consult your school.

After courses are completed, many colleges provide some form of after-school activities, consisting of songs, art, sporting activities, questioning, and other club activities (some activities are stopped briefly during the COVID-19 pandemic).

At what ages is the school required in Canada?

Relying on the district, school is required from the age of 5 or six approximately the age of 16 or 18. Many students in Canada grad from senior high school at the age of 17 or 18.

What is the distinction between “primary,” “middle school,” “junior high,” and “high school” in Canada?

Caution: the terms for phases of education in Canada are not standardized, so you can have differences throughout the country.

In Canada, Grades K to 12 are divided into various phases and different colleges. So, your child could participate in Kindergarten-Grade 5 at one school, and after that transfer to an additional school for Qualities 6-9, then total Qualities 10-12 at a third school.

Typically, these phases are specified as.

Primary school: For the very early qualities.

Middle school and junior high school: For the moderate qualities.

Senior high school: For the final years of high school.

There is no solitary regulation for exactly how grades, as well as schools, are arranged. Even within a district, the framework will range from school districts. In some cases, also within a college area, there will be various frameworks.

To exemplify the variance, allow’s speak about the community of Truro, Nova Scotia. If your kid grows up on the south side of the community, they could follow this schooling


  • Grades K-5 at Cobequid Consolidated Grade School.
  • Grades 6-9 at Central Colchester Junior High School.
  • Grades 10-12 at the Cobequid Educational Centre (Secondary School).
  • On the other hand, if your kid matures on the north side of the community, they could adhere to a totally different course up until they meet in senior high school:.
  • Qualities K-4 at Bible Hillside Grade School.
  • Grades 5-7 at Redcliff Middle School.
  • Qualities 8-9 at Bible Hillside Junior High School.
  • Grades 10-12 at the Cobequid Educational Centre (Senior High School).

As you can see, the framework of schools differs rather commonly in this instance, as these are two students growing up in the exact same institution area, in the very same community! 

When preparing your child’s educational pathway, do not get hung up on the terms; instead, concentrate on the credibilities, resources, and offerings of the schools you’re considering.

What topics will my child learn in the institution in Canada?

Canadian districts established the educational program for their colleges. These curriculums are constantly being examined and customized to adapt to modifications on the planet. Typically, your child will discover a variety of subjects: math, scientific research, English, French, history/ social studies, art, and physical education.

As your youngster proceeds via the education system, they’ll have extra chances for options in their courses, enabling them to go after even more programs in the topics that fascinate them and stand out.

What access to specialized programs (music, art, sports, advanced academics) will my kid have in Canada?

Based on your child’s interest rate, you need to research the specialized shows offered at the institutions you’re considering. For example, specific schools are popular for their afterschool songs or theatre programs, while others could be recognized for their hockey as well as football teams.

An additional vital factor to consider remains the accessibility of sophisticated academic possibilities. 

My child has unique learning needs and/or special needs. What sources will be available to them in Canada?

Canadian colleges provide aid for pupils with unique physical, cognitive, mental, psychological, behavioural, and etymological requirements. Nonetheless, relying on the requirements of your child, you might intend to seek advice from the institutions you’re considering to determine which would certainly best serve the needs of your youngster.

What do I require to find out about school boards in Canada?

Education in Canada is organized in smaller-sized geographical locations, called school boards or school districts. Each school board is in charge of the schools within a town. School boards are accountable for buildings, administration, staffing, and student enrolment.

School boards are taken care of by members of the neighbourhood chosen by the regional public. All school boards have regular public conferences where community members can attend to express their views (democracy at its finest!). Newbies to Canada can have their voices listened to through school boards.

Post-secondary education and learning.

After finishing high school (or Sec V in Quebec), students come to be eligible for post-secondary education (though Quebec pupils initially need to finish CEGEP). Post-secondary education consists of college, university, technical college, and various other college programs designed to offer pupils advanced finding out in a particular subject or ability.

Canada’s post-secondary schools are well-respected worldwide, with a few universities consistently placing among the Top 50 worldwide (we’re checking out you, the College of Toronto, McGill, and UBC).

Data Canada reports that 68 percent of Canadians aged 25-64 have completed some form of post-secondary credential, far over the standard in the OECD. And also, first-generation immigrants in Canada also have a higher rate of post-secondary education, reaching 72 percent. 

Regardless of your kid’s course in life, you can rest assured that in Canada, they will have access to a variety of quality post-secondary academic options if they pick to seek them.

Post-secondary education and learning is its own entirely separate informational tidal wave. We recommend consulting our Research Section to deep-dive right into post-secondary education in Canada.

 Their team will undoubtedly be able to encourage you on your many alternatives for guaranteeing you have actually obtained your youngster’s college or university plan determining method in advance.

Discover more regarding the HSBC Canada Newcomers Program and learn exactly how you can rise to $1,350 * in worth when you get started with HSBC—issued by HSBC Financial Institution Canada.

What do you require to recognize when you show up in Canada?

Signing up for institution|College provides|Reaching college|Eating at Institution|Grades & Coverage|Obtaining included.

Oh– you’ve shown up in Canada? We ‘d wish you congratulations, yet we know you might not hear us over the noise of unpacking, obtaining essential documents, having your very first poutine, attempting to satisfy people in your neighbourhood, and also adjusting to a brand-new country!

We don’t intend to include way too much even more to your Canada to-do list, but there are a couple of points you have to consider when obtaining your child’s Canadian education and learning begins.

How to register your youngster for college in Canada.

Ideally, you have actually currently chosen the school you desire your child to participate in. Currently it’s time for enrolment. You will need to call the school board in order to figure out the procedure for registering your child. It’s an excellent idea to get in touch with the school to confirm enrolment even prior to you get here in Canada, to guarantee you’ll be able to protect a place for your youngster.

If you’re enrolling your youngster in Canadian college for the first time, the school board or school will likely do some assessment to comprehend where your kid is at and what level is appropriate for them. This assessment likewise allows colleges to determine if your kid might intend to access any added sources such as language training.

What supplies do you need for your child’s education and learning?

After completing enrolment, your youngster’s college needs to offer you a listing of supplies you need to get. Sometimes particular products are offered for acquisition or supplied by the institution itself, but this ought to be explained by the school administrators.

Along with materials for classroom discovery, you’ll wish to consider various other important products for your youngster’s school experience:.

Clothes: Inspect to see if the institution has an uniform policy or dress code that dictates what your kid is permitted to put on.

Athletic clothes: Physical education one of most elementary and senior high school curriculums in Canada. Because of this, your kid will likely need the right outfit for physical education: socks, tennis shoes, athletic bottoms and tops, and underwear..

Wintertime clothing: It’s never prematurely to begin considering winter! Throughout the cold months, you’ll intend to ensure that your kid has, at minimum, a warm winter season coat, boots, hat, and handwear covers. We suggest only getting these points once you arrive in Canada because individuals who aren’t used to a Canadian winter months may advise you incorrectly.

We are staying in Vancouver or B.C. Lower Landmass? You * may * be able to escape much less extreme wintertime clothing than the rest of Canada.

Knapsack: Your child will certainly need a durable as well as trusted (as well as classy!) backpack for carrying around all their books, pencils situations, and binders.

Electronic devices: This might be part of a bigger conversation. However, will your kid have a cell (mobile) phone? A tablet? Relying on how old your child is and your sights on electronic tools for children, this might be a discussion to have before college.

How will your kid get to an institution in Canada?

School boards in Canada take care of institution bussing routes enabling trainees to reach and from institutions. However, if you would certainly prefer, you can also take your child to an institution yourself.

Once your child is old enough, they can also get to the institution on their own, by strolling, bike, vehicle, public transportation, or on one of Canada’s skilled transport moose.

Okay, fine, fine. That component about the moose was a joke.

How is your kid graded and examined throughout education?

You can recognize your child’s progress in school in three big methods.

Lastly, you can participate in parent-teacher meetings throughout the academic year. This will allow you to talk directly with your kid’s instructors and review their academic progression and participation in the class and institution life.

We are planning for college and university.

One of the best ways you can contribute to your kid’s post-secondary education and learning is by conserving up cash so that they have some financial backing when they venture out of the nest for the first time. 

We suggest considering the services readily available with HSBC Bank Canada, which prolongs much past a basic savings account. Their Novices Program can also establish you up for economic success when you get here in Canada.

Along with their Beginners Program, HSBC uses a series of investment possibilities for moms and dads with a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), specifically created to assist you to save for your youngster’s post-secondary education and learning. 

Take a look at their RESP investment alternatives and get going by reserving a visit with an HSBC representative. For comprehensive information about Canadian Education Savings plans and gives, browse through education-savings.

It’s likewise never prematurely to show your youngster the worth of economic duty. For example, HSBC Bank Canada uses a Youth Savings Account developed to assist youngsters to create good conserving behaviours early in life with their very own bank account. 

And once they’re ready to manage some real capital, they can change to the HSBC Trainee Chequing Account, an unlimited chequing account developed for today’s students.

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