Types of Schools in Canada

Understand the types of schools available for children in Canada....

Most Canadians attend public schools, which are government funded. However, independent or private (fee-paying) schools are also available. Religious schools exist but it depends on the province as to whether these are publicly funded or private. International schools can be found in large urban areas but these are predominantly private.

International Schools

The International Baccalaureate® (IB) programmes are available at some international schools, and some are state-funded.

English language lessons are usually provided to newcomers who are not English speakers. French is also offered to newcomers in some provinces (for example Ontario) for those who don't already speak French. These services are provided in association with local settlement agencies (such as the library Settlement Partnership) and Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Home Schooling

Home schooling is allowed in Canada but requirements and regulations vary from province to province, in accordance to the relevant Education Act and Regulations. Some provinces only require notification regarding a child's home schooling, while others require regular reporting. There are many resource sites which provide support to parents who choose to home school.

The Home School Legal Defense Association website provides good information about provincial laws and available support. The Natural Parents Network also has details on homeschooling resources.

Special Needs Education

It is law in Canada that all public schools have some form of special needs programme. However, individual schools may not be able to cater for particular disabilities or severe learning difficulties. In this case, children are able to attend specialist schools which cater for children with higher needs. These may be fee-paying but there is often funding available from private organisations, as well as provincial government funds.