Information for Students Bringing Family to Canada


Many students come to York to study and bring their spouse and/or children with them.  Here you will find information that will assist the families of international students with the transition to life in Ontario:

The Ontario government hosts a website for newcomers to the province with information about everything from community resources to health, employment and legal information. Visit (English website) or (French website)

English as a Second Language (ESL) Courses for Family Members

Toronto has many excellent English as a Second Language (ESL) programs designed to help people gain a better understanding of English.

Visit the Skills For Change website for more information about English language programs that can help your family.

Partners/Spouses Working in Canada

For some students' partners/spouses who arrive as permanent residents of Canada, or as international students, finding employment in their field can be a challenge without Canadian work experience.

The Government of Canada has established several programs and resources to assist new immigrants:

Agencies for women

Required documents

Spouses/partners must have the required work permit and a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to work in Canada:

  • Work permits for spouses/partners.
    • If you have a study permit, your accompanying spouse or common law partner (including same sex) can apply for a work permit. Most partners come as visitors and apply for a work permit once they are in Canada.
  • Social Insurance Number.
    • Your partner/spouse must have a valid Social Insurance number (SIN) to be paid for employment in Canada. They can apply in person for a SIN at Service Canada Office
      • Take these documents with you:
        • Valid passport.
        • Valid study permit.
        • Valid work permit for off-campus work or an offer of employment for on-campus work.
    • Once you have applied, and it is determined that you qualify, you will receive a stamped receipt to prove that you have applied. You can show your employer this receipt so you can be paid while you wait for your SIN card to arrive in the mail.

Schools for Children of International Students

In Canada, education is a provincial responsibility. The Ontario Ministry of Education website provides an in-depth description of elementary and secondary education, including:

  • A school board directory.
  • An elementary and secondary school finder.
  • Curriculum and expectations for each grade level and subject.

Children of international students are not required to have a study permit. See regulation 5.17.

Public schools

In Ontario, there are publicly funded non-denominational schools and publicly funded Catholic schools. Education is free of charge within the public school district where the parent(s) live. In most situations, parents must provide the following documents in order to register their child (or children) with a public school board:

  • Birth certificates of the children you want to register.
  • Passports of parent(s) and children.
  • Proof of registration, program of study and fees paid to the York University for full-time study.
  • Two pieces of identification demonstrating where you live within the school district.

For more information about public education in Ontario, visit

Religious schools

Many private schools in the Greater Toronto Area approach the curriculum from a religious perspective. You can search a database of private elementary and high schools by religious affiliation and other criteria on the Ontario Ministry of Education’s website.

Other Resources for Newcomers

Although the following resources are mostly for immigrants to Canada, the following can be beneficial to families and students who are new to Canada: