The Canadian School Year

What to expect from the school year in Canada...

School normally starts between 08:00 and 09:00 and finishes between 14:30 and 15:30. Extracurricular activities and sports are scheduled after school hours. School uniform is not normally worn except in private schools. It is usual for younger children who live further than walking distance from their school to be picked up and dropped off by government funded yellow school buses.

Public schools may also provide before and after care for pupils. There is no national programme for school lunches across Canada. Most children either take their own lunch to school, go to the school cafeteria or to local food outlets.

Some provinces, for example, Newfoundland and Labrador, have recently implemented healthy school lunch programmes, in an attempt to address childhood obesity problems and encourage healthy eating.

School Holidays

The school year runs from early September to the middle or end of June, with a two week break at Christmas, and a break in March for two weeks (this is called the mid-winter, spring or March break). The exact dates of the March break vary from school to school within and between provinces.

In addition to these two main breaks in the school year, there are also federal and provincial public holidays.

Children generally do not attend school during the summer holidays. However, summer camps are common and plentiful. Children can take part in any number of activities such as swimming, karate, gymnastics, soccer and drama. Camps normally run all summer and are organised by private organisations and school boards.

Further Information