How do sponsors assist in enrolling a sponsored refugee’s child in school?

You need to provide all of the following information to register a sponsored refugee’s child in school:

  • Proof of child’s age, i.e. a birth certificate or passport;
  • Proof of address – a copy of a bank statement, telephone or electrical bill or apartment lease with the sponsored refugee family’s name and address;
  • Proof of guardianship – Required if your child is under 18 years of age and is not living with a parent;
  • Proof of student’s immigration status, i.e. the sponsored refugee family’s permanent resident cards; and,
  • Immunization record – proof that the child has been immunized.

How do sponsors decide which grade a sponsored refugee family’s child will enter once they arrive in Ontario?

In elementary school, children are usually placed in a grade according to age. In secondary school, students usually take an assessment so that they can be placed in the right grade.

What are the different school systems in Ontario?

In Ontario there are four publicly-funded school systems, private schools and homeschooling.

Ontario has 4 publicly-funded school systems:

  • English Public;
  • English Catholic;
  • French-language Public; and,
  • French-language Catholic.

Publicly-funded schools are managed by district school boards.

English Public elementary and secondary schools, and English Catholic secondary schools are open to all students.

Catholic elementary schools are open to all students who are baptized as Roman Catholic and to children who have 1 or 2 Roman Catholic parents. Some English Catholic school boards might admit non-Catholic students into a Catholic elementary school. For more information about admission to a Catholic elementary school, contact your local school board.

Generally, French language schools are open to all students seeking a French language education. For information on French language education, contact your local school board.

Do sponsored refugees need a study permit to study in Ontario?

Sponsored refugees become Permanent Residents on arrival in Canada. Therefore, they do need a study permit to study in Ontario.

Are sponsored refugees eligible for the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)?

Sponsored refugees become Permanent Residents on arrival in Canada. To be eligible to apply for financial assistance from the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), an individual must be:

  • A Canadian citizen;
  • A Permanent resident; or,
  • A Protected Person/Convention Refugee with a Protected Persons Status Document (PPSD).

If an individual is studying in Canada using a study permit (for example, foreign students), they are not eligible for OSAP. However, you might be eligible for financial assistance from your college or university.

In order to eligible for OSAP, an individual must be a resident of Ontario, and have always resided in Ontario, or Ontario is the last province resided in for 12 consecutive months without being a full-time post-secondary student.

Where can a sponsored refugee take high school courses as an adult?

Most local school boards in Ontario have programs for adults who want to earn a High School Equivalency Certificate.

A high school diploma is important because it can help sponsored refugees get a job or admission to an educational or training program. If the refugee you have sponsored wishes to earn a high school diploma as an adult, they can take classes at your local school board, study in the evenings, and study from home, or take an equivalency test (GED).

Where can a sponsored refugee get their English language skills evaluated in Ontario?

As sponsors, you should check to see what type of assessment is required from the sponsored refugee.

The sponsored refugee may need an English language assessment for:

  • Government-funded English programs;
  • Colleges, universities and professional licensing bodies; or,
  • Citizenship, immigration and visa applications.

For more information on the different types of assessments, please see:

Where can sponsored refugees take ESL classes in Ontario?

There are many different organizations that provide ESL classes, for example:

  • Community Information Centers;
  • Community organizations;
  • School boards;
  • Public libraries; and,
  • Universities and colleges.

ESL classes may take place during the day, in the evening or on the weekend. Some classes accept students at any time and others have specific start dates. Some classes are free.