- Download our Moving to Toronto Guide (PDF)
Toronto has an extensive network of public schools, alongside an equally robust assortment of private schools.
Permanent residents and expats with work permits can enrol their children in public schools at no cost. Expats who don’t fall into these categories can send their children to public school but must obtain a study permit and pay school fees, which can sometimes equal some of the cheaper private schools.
Public schools in Toronto
In Toronto, although children can register at schools both within and outside their neighbourhoods, preference is usually given to those in the associated geographic catchment areas.
Parents can research schools’ academic and overall performance by consulting the publicly-available Fraser Institute rankings. Some parents may choose to first pinpoint the desired school for their child, and then coordinate their house hunt around this.
Private and international schools in Toronto
Private schools in Toronto are a different matter entirely. While there are scholarships for gifted students, private schools are expensive, with prominent international schools and boarding schools levying exorbitant fees. That said, these schools boast better infrastructure, state-of-the-art facilities and a wider selection of extra-curricular activities.
Some private schools in Toronto are faith-based and integrate religious values into the curriculum. These tend to be cheaper than other private schools.
There are also specialised private schools that follow an international curriculum, such as that of the US, the UK and the International Baccalaureate. Some international schools teach in languages other than English. These curricula are highly transferable worldwide, so expat parents planning a temporary stay in Toronto may benefit from this option.
Special-needs education in Toronto
The state of Ontario is committed to inclusion and equality for children with behavioural, communication, intellectual or physical needs that can't be met by the standard education system. Such students are identified officially as 'exceptional' via assessments completed by the Identification, Placement, and Review Committee. School boards are responsible for drawing up and reviewing an Individualised Education Plan (IEP) for each exceptional student, which details the interventions to support students.
Tutors in Toronto
Some of the reputable tutoring companies in Toronto include Tutor Bright and Teacher On Call.
►For some of the foreign-curriculum options available in the city, see International Schools in Toronto
"Canada has an excellent education system and parents will have a wide variety of options when it comes their kids' schooling. No matter which option you choose, your kids will get a good education. Our children go to our local public school and we are quite happy with the school."
Read more about South African expat Catherine's experiences in Canada.
Are you an expat living in Toronto?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Toronto. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
Cigna Global Health Insurance
With Cigna, you won't have to rely on foreign public health care systems, which may not meet your needs. Cigna allows you to speak to a doctor on demand, for consultations or instant advice, wherever you are in the world. They also offer full cancer care across all levels of cover, and settle the cost of treatments directly with the provider. Cigna is currently offering a 10% discount for seniors (over 60) on their Silver package.
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