Contact any of the Immigrant Settlement Agencies for help. OCISO has a special Multicultural Liaison Officer (MLO) program in most of Ottawa’s schools to help new parents and students.

Elementary and Secondary Schools
By law, all children must attend school from the age of 5 years to 16. Most children also attend kindergarten or maternity class at the age of 4. You should register your child in school as soon as possible. To register your child, go to the nearest school.

You will need to bring:

  • Child’s birth certificate or passport
  • Child’s immigration status
  • Child’s immunization documents

Children must be properly immunized before they can attend school. More information can be found under health care. In Ottawa, public education is offered in French and English. There is also a separate public system of Roman Catholic schools.

For more information, contact:

Ottawa Public English
Ottawa Public French
Ottawa Catholic French
Ottawa Catholic English

In all public schools, boys and girls attend the same schools and share the same classes. The school day generally begins from about 8:00 in the morning and ends around 3:00 in the afternoon. Children attend school Monday to Friday from the beginning of September to the end of June.

Public schools encourage parents to participate in school activities. As a parent, you have the right to participate in planning your child’s education. Parents are occasionally invited to parent-teacher meetings. This is an evening where parents have the opportunity to talk with teachers about the progress of their children. If you have difficulty with English or French, take someone with you to interpret. The school will also try to provide an interpreter, if you ask for one before the meeting.

Some children in Ottawa attend private schools. Children attending these schools have their education paid for entirely by their parents.

Adult Basic Education
Adult basic education is free for Ontario residents, 18 years of age and older who would like to earn their high school diploma. Transportation and child care subsidies are available for eligible students.

Adult High Schools
Adult High School
St. Nicholas Adult High School

Post-Secondary Education
Post-secondary education is provided by universities, colleges of applied arts and technology (often called “community colleges”), or private vocational schools. In Ottawa, there are several choices for post-secondary education:

Carleton University
University of Ottawa
Algonquin College
Saint Paul University

Evaluating your Education 
For assistance, contact World Skills.

If you apply for a job or an educational program, the employer or school may ask you for proof of your level of education or training.

The employer or school will also want to know how your  diplomas or certificates compare to ones granted in Canada. Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials provides further information.

English and French Language Training
Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) is available to immigrants and convention refugees over the age of 17 through funding from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. An assessment to determine a student’s level of skill in English or French is done by the YMCA/YWCA Language Assessment and Resource Centre before placement in language classes.

Other English and French Language Training 
Most universities, community colleges and school boards also offer language classes. Some community organizations and private language schools also do. You can contact these groups directly for more information. Remember to ask about fees since these courses may not be free. French language courses are available through the French school boards.

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Our Mission!

OCISO supports immigrants through the journey of making Canada their home by providing creative and responsive programs that are culturally and linguistically appropriate, by building community through mutual respect and partnerships, and by fostering healthy and inclusive spaces for open dialogue and healing.

What we do 🙂

We are community based non-profit organization that has been providing services in Ottawa since 1978. We are motivated by the stories of new immigrants, and we are there every stage of the journey. OCISO directly serves over 10,000 immigrants and refugees every year. Our work is augmented by the generous efforts of our enthusiastic, caring and talented staff, volunteers, both established and new Canadians.