How to Register a Child in School in Quebec
The following is taken from the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom, section 23, and would be concerning saints from other provinces coming to Québec:
23. (1) Citizens of Canada
a) whose first language learned and still understood is that of the English or French linguistic minority population of the province in which they reside, or
b) who have received their primary school instruction in Canada in English or French and reside in a province where the language in which they received that instruction is the language of the English or French linguistic minority population of the province,have the right to have their children receive primary and secondary school instruction in that language in that province.
(2) Citizens of Canada of whom any child has received or is receiving primary or secondary school instruction in English or French in Canada, have the right to have all their children receive primary and secondary school instruction in the same language.
(3) The right of citizens of Canada under subsections (1) and (2) to have their children receive primary and secondary school instruction in the language of the English or French linguistic minority population of a province
a) applies wherever in the province the number of children of citizens who have such a right is sufficient to warrant the provision to them out of public funds of minority language instruction; and
b) includes, where the number of those children so warrants, the right to have them receive that instruction in minority language educational facilities provided out of public funds.
In turn, the following is taken from the Quebec Ministry of Education website, regarding education in English:
Under the Charter of the French Language, children in the following three categories may be enrolled in English-language schools:
- children who are permanent residents of Québec and who qualify for a certificate of eligibility for instruction in English
- children who are permanent residents of Québec and who are entitled to receive instruction in English under a special authorization
- children who are living in Québec temporarily and who qualify for a temporary authorization to receive instruction in English
Certificate of Eligibility
A certificate of eligibility is generally delivered to children:
- who did most of their elementary or secondary studies in English in Canada; or
- whose brother or sister did most of his or her elementary studies in English in Canada; or
- whose father or mother did most of his or her elementary studies in English in Canada; or
- whose father or mother attended school in Québec after August 26, 1977 and could have been declared eligible for instruction in English at that time.
In the first two cases, the father or mother of the child must be a Canadian citizen. In the third case the father or mother must be a Canadian citizen, unless he or she did his or her studies in Québec.
These are the most common situations that allow a child to receive intstruction in English.
The certificate of eligibility for instruction in English is permanent. In other words, there is no time limit after which it expires.
Children who are declared eligible for instruction in English under section 73, 76 or 86.1 may pursue their studies in French and still transfer their right to receive instruction in English to their children.
When a child is declared eligible for instruction in English, his or her brothers and sisters may also be declared eligible.
Children who are entitled to receive instruction in English under a special authorization fall into two broad categories:
- children with serious learning disabilities as defined in the government regulation included under section 81 of the Charter
- children admitted to receive instruction in English by the Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports by reason of a serious family or humanitarian situation, following a recommendation by the examining committee, after an assessment by a person designated by the Minister stating that the children's situation is not covered under any provision of the Charter
Children entitled to receive instruction in English under a temporary authorization fall into three broad categories:
First, the dependent children of persons living in Québec temporarily to study or work, including:
- the dependent children of foreign nationals who hold a Québec certificate of acceptance or an employment authorization or a student authorization issued in accordance with the federal Immigration Act, or who are exempted from holding such a certificate or authorization under a statute applicable in Québec
- the dependent children of Canadian citizens or permanent residents domiciled in another Canadian province or a territory of Canada living in Québec temporarily to study or work
Second, the dependent children of persons who are not Canadian citizens and who are posted in Québec temporarily as representatives or officers of a country other than Canada or of an international organization.
Last, the dependent children of members of the Canadian Armed Forces who are posted in Québec temporarily. The temporary authorization to receive instruction in English is delivered to the child and is valid for the same period as the immigration document issued to the parent or child or for the duration of the temporary stay as specified in a sworn declaration. It expires on June 30 of the school year in which the parent or child’s temporary stay ends.
A temporary authorization to receive instruction in English may be renewed provided that the applicant still meets the same criteria as in his or her first application.
However, the authorization cannot be granted to the children of foreign nationals who are claiming refugee status for themselves or their children, or of foreign nationals who choose to settle in Québec on a permanent basis and obtain a Québec selection certificate. If an authorization has already been granted, it expires on June 30 of the school year in which the selection certificate is delivered.
The Application Process
To have a child declared eligible to receive instruction in English, the parent or legal guardian of the child must apply to the school board or private school where he or she wishes to enroll the child.
The parent or legal guardian must complete the appropriate application form and attach all of the required supporting documents. The child’s birth certificate must be enclosed in all cases and must give the names of both parents. If a birth certificate cannot be provided, any other official document issued by a competent authority and attesting to the child’s date of birth, sex and filiation will be accepted.
The school board or private school forwards the application and supporting documents to a person designated by the Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports. This person will verify whether the child is eligible for instruction in English and will render a decision.
The parent or legal guardian of the child will be informed of the decision within one to three weeks, depending on the time of year at which the application was made.
If the parent or legal guardian wishes to contest an unfavourable decision of the person designated by the Minister, he or she has 60 days to file an appeal to the Administrative Tribunal of Québec. If the parent or legal guardian wishes to claim a serious family or humanitarian situation in support of an application following an unfavourable decision of the person designated by the Minister, he or she has 30 days to submit the application to the examining committee.
Concerning non-Canadians, the following was taken from the Immigration Quebec website, included is some general enrolment info:
Preschool, elementary and secondary school
French is the official language of Québec. Therefore, the Charter of the French Language stipulates that French is the language of instruction in preschool, elementary and secondary school, with some exceptions. Children of immigrants, regardless of their mother tongue, are usually required to attend a local school under the French school board until the end of secondary school.
French learning support
If your child does not speak French, he or she will need help to attend classes in this language. That is why non-francophone students in the preschool and elementary and secondary school system can take advantage of French learning support measures provided by the Ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport. By helping students to master the language of instruction, these measures ease and accelerate student integration into ordinary French classes. While these measures may vary depending on the school, each school is responsible for offering students the most appropriate support.
Procedure for applying for admission
In order for your child to attend a school, you must first apply for admission at your local school board. You will be required to provide originals or certified copies of the following documents:
- Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ – Québec Selection Certificate)
- confirmation of permanent resident status (issued by Canadian authorities)
- birth certificate
- report cards, if any.
Depending on the situation, either the school board or the parents register the child. If you are required to register your child, the school board will provide you with the necessary registration forms and the contact information for the school.
Each year, school boards issue a public notice regarding admission applications. The registration period begins in February or March, for the school year beginning a few months later, usually at the end of August. Although you can apply at any time, it is generally recommended that you register your child for preschool (kindergarten) before the end of June.