Contact any of the Immigrant Settlement Agencies for help. OCISO has a special Multicultural Liaison 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. (See “Health” section). 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: (613) 596-8731
Ottawa Public French: (613) 742-8960
Ottawa Catholic French: (613) 744-2555
Ottawa Catholic English: (613) 224-2222

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 School
(Ottawa-Carleton District School Board)
Phone: (613) 239-2707

St. Nicholas Adult High School
(Ottawa-Carleton Catholic School Board)
Phone: (613) 228-8888

Postsecondary Education:
Postsecondary 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 postsecondary education.

The most common institutions are:

Carleton University
315 Robertson Hall
1125 Colonel By Drive
Phone: (613) 520-3663

University of Ottawa
InfoService, Tabaret Hall
75 Laurier Ave. E
Phone: (613) 652-5700

Algonquin College 
Woodroffe Campus
1385 Woodroffe Avenue
Phone: (613) 727- 4723

St. Paul University 
223 Main
Phone: (613) 236-1393

Evaluating your Education and Work Skills:
For assistance, contact World Skills, listed at the back of this booklet.
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 documents compare to diplomas or certificates issued in Canada.

You may wish to contact directly:
Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials

English and French Language Training – LINC
Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) is available to immigrants and convention refugees over the age of 17 through funding from Citizenship and Immigration 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:

YMCA of Ottawa-Carleton
Language Assessment and Resource Centre
240 Catherine Street, Suite 308
Ottawa, Ontario K2P 2G8
Phone: (613) 238-5462

English and French Language Training – Other
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.