Canadian Education System

Canada’s education system is ranked in the top 10 worldwide.

Do you have kids or plan on having some? Find out more on Canada’s educational system

In Canada, every province and territory has its own education system.

For primary and secondary levels, education is generally free for residents.

The 13 years of elementary and secondary education are divided into increments called grades (kindergarten and grades 1 to 12).

Elementary school generally starts for 6-year-old children and they advance one grade per year till grade 12 at age 18.

Below is the grade structure that is used in most provinces and territories:How are classes organized in Canada?

Age Grade School
2 – 5 years old Pre-school or Kindergarten
6 – 11 years old 1 – 6 Elementary
12 – 14 years old 7 – 9 Junior High
15 – 18 years old 10 – 12 Senior High

Choosing a Public School and Registration

Your children will go to a school near your home. If you have targeted a particular school outside your school district, you will need either to :

(i) buy/rent near the school, or

(ii) request that your children attend that school outside your area.

To register your children, you will have to provide the following:

  • proof of status in Canada,
  • proof of residence,
  • passport,
  • child’s birth certificate
  • medical history (immunizations against polio, DTP, MMR and tuberculin screening)
  • children’s school reports from their home country – reports should be very detailed, and any additional document will be helpful (such as exams, projects, etc.).

You will need to check if your city provides bus transportation for your children to school. It is usually the case, but it may only be available under certain conditions of age, school district and distance to the school.

About School Hours

The school year in Canada usually runs from the first week of September until the end of June (ten months) and is divided into periods or quarters (terms/semesters).

The school day in elementary schools is usually from 8.30 AM to 3 or 3.30 PM. In secondary schools, hours are usually from 8.30 AM until 2.30 PM. Students can play sports and invest in extracurricular after school hours.

In public schools, Saturdays and Sundays are free and classes are from Mondays to Fridays.

Examination and Grades

As soon as a student begins its education in a public school, a ‘record file’ is created and is updated throughout the years until graduation from high school.

In Canada, the grading system used in high schools is as follows:

Grade Score out of 100 Category
A 90 – 100 Excellent
B 80 – 89 Good
C 70 – 79 Average / Fair
D 60 -69 Poor
F Below 60 Fair

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