Canada’s education system is well-organized and powerful, and it is undoubtedly among the greatest in the world. The top concern of the Canadian government is education. But at what age do children begin school? It is determined by the province or area in which you reside.

At about 4-5, Canadian children choose to join junior kindergarten for either one or two years. At the age of six, school becomes necessary from class one. The schooling continues until class 12 in several provinces. You may choose to study further in universities or colleges.

The provinces set government requirements in some circumstances. Many districts and public schools may decide the regulations by themselves. As a result, the information these institutes gain is a comprehensive reference. The information usually has confirmation from provinces and municipal governments.

Let’s start with all the required data regarding schools and education.

Education System In Canada

Canada has a great educational system. A 2020 poll shows Canada has the world’s third-best education system. According to a detailed analysis by Statistics Canada, the residents invest 6% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in education.

Money invested in education here is paying off. You can estimate the figure of educated people by overviewing:

  • 91% of 25 to 64 years old people own a high-school certificate.
  • 68% of people have a post-secondary certificate.

Quality Of Education

While the method of education is fairly conventional in several provinces, Quebec has a somewhat distinct approach. Canada boasts global colleges and institutions that provide the best education.

It boasts a public school system and post-secondary colleges noted for giving the greatest vocational and technical education. In addition, Canada’s natural splendor allows citizens and immigrants to participate in fun activities throughout the year.

The education system in Canada is highly practical and stress-free. You may go outside to enjoy and release stress whenever you realize educational pressure or stress. 

Another point to emphasize is that qualified overseas students may avail of scholarship-based education in Canada. These scholarships relieve parents of the stress of paying tuition. 

Age Of Compulsory Education

In Canada, the obligatory schooling age is quite different in each province. In essence, Manitoba requires five years of age or above for every child to start schooling. Kids are normally required by law to continue in school until they are 16.

Several provinces like Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Manitoba demands an age of 18 for every student to complete compulsory education.

School Calendar

The schooling starts in September and goes up to mid of June. You may have two weeks of vacation for Christmas and spring vacations of two weeks in March. Summer vacation usually ends in July or August

Students continue their schooling at the end of August or the beginning of September. The school calendar is always set for the next few years, which is generally flexible.

Official Languages

English and French are Canada’s two national languages. Overseas students can study in any language, and many institutes may provide both. English is the primary language of instruction in a major part of Canada.

However, in other parts, French is also used. But in Quebec, students have to get an education in French only. But if you are a temporary resident of Quebec, you may select another language to study temporarily.

You can also enroll in a bilingual program to study French and English. But all the new overseas students to Quebec are forced to get an education in French. 

General Subjects

Provinces determine the syllabus and curriculum for Canadian schools. These curricula are regularly assessed and adjusted to reflect global trends. Following are the general subjects that you may study in Canadian schools:

  • Science.
  • English.
  • Math.
  • History.
  • Social studies.
  • Physical education.
  • French.
  • Art.

Your kids may have more possibilities to select any class and course as they go through the Canadian education system. 

Specialized Programs

It would help to investigate the specific programs offered at the institutes you are contemplating depending on your child’s interest. Some institutes provide music classes, theatre activities, and football and hockey matches.

Another critical factor to consider is the accessibility of higher education options. Some Canadian high schools engage in the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum.


Special education is commonly defined as serving special individuals with physical impairments, developmental issues, behavioral disorders, or intellectual disabilities. Several exceptional students need this special education. 

Canadian Educational Structure

Pre-school, elementary school and secondary education (K-12), and post-secondary education are the three phases of the education system in Canada. Certain variances exist throughout the provinces, and these phases have particular characteristics.


Pre-school or pre-kindergarten is an extracurricular learning moment for three years old children. It is entirely up to you to enroll your kid in preschool. Certain provinces provide free preschool and early learning. Other provinces may demand to pay a fee for your kid’s school.

Kindergarten is less organized than the critical periods of higher education. There are many possibilities for preschool, like syllabi, timetables, fees, etc. You may explore your nearby areas for preschool kids to enroll your kids ASAP before the vacancies get a shortage.

You may choose daycare as a substitute for preschool for early childhood education. There are daycare facilities and staff who may look after your children. Jobholder parents may trust daycares to admit their children here. Generally, young kids have many options to participate in many activities in this way.

These daycares can be educational or extracurricular, depending on your province. Enrolling your kids in preschool is about grooming, practicing, and developing their personalities and minds. But it’s all your choice whether you want preschool for your toddlers or not.

Living in the modern era and in a developed country demands advancement in youngsters also. So, many parents choose a preschool for their kids. After preschool, children are ready steady to climb next level, which is primary education.

Primary Education

Primary education starts at age 6-7 for grade one. This education continues to grade 6 at 11-12 years old. Students of this stage have a single instructor throughout their class who teaches all the courses while sitting in a single classroom.

Primary education contains the following subjects:

  • History.
  • Social studies.
  • Art.
  • Physical education.
  • English language.
  • Numeracy.
  • Reading.
  • Music.

This list goes on increasing as students go to the next grade.

Secondary Education

After primary and elementary education, students enter secondary education. This type of education is divided into two levels:

  • Junior High or Intermediate.
  • High School.

Secondary education covers only two grades, 7 and 8. Unlike primary education, secondary education offers different teachers for different courses and classes. Hence, students have two years to acclimate to the adjustments of transferring classes instructors. 

This secondary education level is to assist students for another level as course complexity is likely to rise dramatically. Grade 8 starts high school and the final secondary education level. This level lasts up to grade 11 or 12 for four years at 18. But this age may vary from 16-18 depending on the province and the student’s early education.

Age 16 is mandatory for all students by law to attend school in some provinces. But some provinces like Ontario and New Brunswick require 18 to obtain a high school diploma. Secondary education in Quebec concludes in class 11.

Curriculum in Canadian high schools has been deliberately purposefully crafted to train kids for further education. Some provinces are successful in providing job skills in high school.

Post-Secondary Education

Post-secondary education is less necessary than secondary education. It’s your choice to study further. If you want to, you can study at colleges and universities. Colleges relate to either a community college or a particular vocational school.

You may choose colleges to improve your education and gain points that make you eligible to enroll in universities. Universities offer higher education and provide you bachelor’s, master’s and a Ph.D. degree

The provincial government, nominal tuition fees, grant money, and federal funds are involved in building and maintaining public universities and colleges.

Other Types of School

Here, you can also check other types of schools in Canada.

Vocational Schools

Aside from state schools providing vocational education, you may also pursue a trade or career at technical institutions throughout Canada. These programs do not need you to own a high school certificate.

These schools enable you to study a specialized skill and obtain real-world experience under the supervision of a competent and trained supervisor. 

Private Schools

The government or provinces do not sponsor private schools, which can be expensive. If you earn enough to afford private school’s charges, it would be a better option for you to pick.

You may choose private schools if you believe that your children require smaller classrooms and more individualized care or that they are for some special schools. Quebec residents can also choose private schools if they want to avoid learning French or studying in French.

Religious Schools

Some people seem conscious of their religion and often select religious schools to enroll their kids’ studies. These catholic schools offer conventional syllabi and religious curricula linked with the institution’s different faith.

Home Schooling

A tiny percentage of parents follow homeschooling rather than public or private schools. In homeschooling, you can give your children free EQAO (Education Quality and Accountability Office) assessments in 3, 6,9, and reading assessment in class 10.

Schooling Expenses

Some schooling expenses are listed below in detail:

Before/After School Programs

Where there is enough demand, every school board must provide before and after-school programs for kids between 4-12. These programs have varying costs. For example, these costs vary in Toronto from $29 to $38 daily.

You may also avail of childcare discounts. You may also contact the Municipal Service System Manager to submit an application for the discount.

School Supplies

When your kids start schooling, they must carry basic stationery and materials. You may also receive a list of necessary things that your kids have to carry:

  • Pencils.
  • Sharpeners.
  • Ruler.
  • Calculator.
  • Pencil crayons.
  • Glue stick.

The youngsters may have to take other things like a watering can, lunch box, running shoes, and bag. You may get free of cost textbooks that you have to give back to the institutes after school or class ends. Some students are also entitled to have technological aid.

School Uniform

In Canada, many schools have fixed uniforms. While some schools don’t have any, they offer a special dress to wear with some special accessories which specify ‘what to wear and what not.’

Private schools have their own uniforms that you must purchase, and the price may vary. Catholic schools of Ontario mandate students to buy and wear its uniform. The school administration may help you to find a place from where you can buy a uniform.

Transportation Expenses

Many communities in Canada offer transit choices like ‘A School Bus.’ the school bus is usually free if you reside at a certain distance from school, like more than 3 Km. High school students can also avail of the public bus option depending on the distance of their residence from school.

You must prepare to pay the expense of public transportation. Students of grades 9 to 12 can get financial aid from the school administration and board.

Field Trips

Schools frequently organize field trips to enjoy a study tour. These field trips may comprise the following:

  • Outdoor entertainment.
  • Museums.
  • Cultural centers.

Participation generally comes with a price tag. Senior students may be able to engage in overnight vacations and school excursions away from home. But you have to pay for the bus and lodging for all these. You may also get financial aid from school in this case.

School Fundraisers

Fundraising is widespread in the majority of schools. Common fundraising events may include the following:

  • Christmas gift sales.
  • Pizza lunches.
  • Bakery products.
  • Book fairs.

Parents may anticipate spending between $25 and $45 on fundraising events. The funds earned are typically used to pay for school field excursions, acquire new technologies, or supplement instructional tools. 

Before relocating to Canada, becoming familiar with the educational system would be better. You will surely get information on your school options, necessary documents, and a track to put your child up for success!

Education For Migrant Students

Canadian schools have a large number of migrant students. About one-third of young students are immigrants to Canada. You can assimilate fast and achieve success just like Canadian residents. This is because equality and justice exist in treating immigrants in Canadian institutions.

How to Enroll your Child for School?

Depending on where you reside and the level of education you are considering in, you can apply or enroll in a Canadian school

Primary And Secondary School

Contact your neighborhood school administration to enroll your child in primary or secondary school. You may have more chances to pick one in your surroundings because school administration typically administers several schools.

When a kid is enrolled for the very first time in a school, the institution or administration may:

  • Evaluate their educational level.
  • Determine the appropriate level for them and if they require free help (language classes).

Additionally, many schools have adjustment counsellors who may aid students in adjusting and locating assistance if necessary. 

Post-Secondary School

You must apply and be approved for a course of study to enroll in a post-secondary institution. Any course you can study with great interest can be a better choice. You will get a seat if you are eligible for the selected program.

You must fulfill the specific admission standards of each institution and program. Little room is available for some sessions. Enrolling in a course is usually more difficult if it is particularly renowned. 

Before the application deadline, explore your interested program, and give yourself plenty of time to comprehend and fulfill the criteria.

Steps Involved In Enrolling

  • Discover your nearby primary and secondary schools through the information finder of your province. In essence, if you are a resident of Ontario, then you can easily check it on Find your School in Ontario.
  • To enroll your kid online, check out the local school administration and follow the instructions.
  • You must get in touch with the school if your kid is going to complete the whole education in the same school to finish the registration process.
  • Complete an application form that asks for your:
    • Kids’ name.
    • Address.
    • Academic information and record, if any.
    • Medical records.
    • Contact numbers.
  • You must also include verification of your kids’ identity, domicile, and copy of vaccination record.
  • International students have somehow different criteria. You must appear in an exam to check your language and arithmetic skills.
  • Have a meeting with an adjustment counsellor for high school to talk through your kids’ academic history and plans. These counsellors may aid your youngsters in selecting the right path of study.


Following are the documents that are required to enroll your child in school:

  • Residency address or proof.
  • Birth certificate.
  • Immunization record and proof of your kids’ vaccination.
  • Evidence of parenthood.

Check Out How To Choose A School For Your Kids in Canada


How Many Days Can A Child Miss School?

In Canada, you may make up to 10% of absences from school in a year. You can take 18 leaves from a school out of 180 days per year. If you make more than18 leaves from school, you may fall under chronic absentees.

You are deemed at academic risk if you are classed as ‘chronic absentees.’ It means you will need more time to finish your education. You may also be on the verge of dropping out of school.

It makes no difference whether your absences are justified or not. So many missed days from school can be detrimental. Refrain from attempting this risk, as you’ll be squandering your time. 

Is Catholic School Free In Canada?

The government does not completely subsidize private catholic schools in Canada. In this case, you must foot the bill for your kids’ catholic schools. Catholic schools contribute to the church’s goal by including religious studies as a fundamental and primary subject.

In many provinces, the government fully sponsors catholic schools, and you may get admission here for free. Some religious people are sure to enroll their kids in catholic schools whether it’s free or not.

Are School Lunches Free In Canada?

There is no official school lunch program in Canada, and most primary schools lack cooking facilities. You may pack lunch for your kids, or children may have lunch at home during lunch break.

Canada needs to improve at providing public favor for guaranteeing nutritional diets to students. Many students carry a lunchbox with them as Canada lacks a lunch program. But in Ontario, several schools offer food to needy students.

Is Daycare Free In Canada?

Childcare in Canada is believed to be costly, which is quite different in each province. For example, Quebec and Manitoba have fixed rates and are definitely more reasonable than other provinces of Canada. 

Depending on your home province, you may pay about $180 to $1990 per month. Following is the summary of the costs of daycare in Canada:

The provinces having fixed rates for
daycares are as follows:

– Prince Edward Island.
– Manitoba.
– Quebec.
– Newfoundland and Labrador.

Toronto offers the most expensive daycare to infants at $1866, toddlers at $1580, and preschoolers at $1250. You may enrol your kid on a daycare waitlist in many regions for about $50 to $200.


Canada offers several job prospects as well as a luxurious way of living. The major reasons for studying in Canada are the world-class colleges and institutions, qualified professors, high quality of life, and career prospects. All of this is due to the outstanding education system in Canada.

The government plan can provide your kids access to dynamic, rich learning and growing surroundings. It also lowers the chances of failure for a student. Now you are familiar with what age does a child start school in Canada; you may learn more about its education system and ask us on OnTheMoveCanada to solve your queries.