3. Register your child in school
Question & AnswerCan my children go to school after I make a refugee claim?
To register your child in school, you usually need:
- proof of your child’s age, for example a birth certificate or passport or a certified copy, if the originals are with immigration officials
- proof of address, for example a telephone bill, electrical bill, or apartment lease with your name and address
- proof of guardianship if the child is under 18 years old and is not living with a parent
- proof that your child has been immunized
- your child’s baptismal certificate from a Roman Catholic Church if you want your child to go to a Catholic school
Your child can still attend school even if these documents are not available.
A school does not require:
- 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
If you’re having trouble registering your child in school, contact the community legal clinic that serves the area where you live. A lawyer or paralegal there might be able to help.
Visitors to Canada
There are exceptions for children who are in Canada with valid visitor status. The school might also ask them to pay international student fees and can refuse to register them until they pay.
If they have made a refugee claim or a for status, they must show the school proof that they have made an application to be registered.
In some school boards, newcomer children can go to reception centres to have their math and English language skills tested.
Your child’s test results are sent to their school. This information helps teachers understand what your child has already learned so they can be placed in the right grade. This initial placement is not final. Schools can monitor a child’s progress and can make changes over time.
If you have your child’s previous report card or textbook, or any other school information that might be helpful, bring it to the reception centre.
Children in high school
If your child is going to high school, or secondary school, the guidance counsellor will talk to your child about their previous schooling, interests, and goals for after graduation. The counsellor will help your child choose appropriate courses.