Elementary & Secondary Overview

Publicly funded elementary and secondary schools are administered by district school boards.  Working within the framework of the Education Act and its regulations, district school boards adapt provincial education policy to local situations.  Trustees, as elected members of the board, represent the local community, providing a link between electors and the education system.

In all regions of Ontario, the Ministry of Education governs both the Public School Board and the Separate (Catholic) School Board, which are run as separate entities.

In Ontario, all permanent residents between the ages of 6 and 16 must attend school.  Most students continue to attend after the required period, to receive a graduation diploma in their twelfth year of school.

Elementary schools provide Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten programs (for children aged 4 and 5) and programs for grades 1 through 8.  Secondary schools currently offer programs from Grade 9 through to Grade 12, as well as Ontario Academic Courses (OAC’s).  The high school program is based on a credit system.  Students must earn a total of 30 credits (one for every 110-hour course successfully completed) to obtain a high school diploma.  Eighteen of the credits are compulsory, earned in a specified number of courses from a list of subjects that every student must take.  The remaining 12 credits are optional, earned in courses that the student may select from the full range of courses offered by the school.  In Grade 9, most students will take a total of eight courses for eight credits.  Students must also complete 40 hours of community involvement activities and must pass the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test, which is taken in Grade 10.


In Ontario, all publicly funded schools follow The Ontario Curriculum.  It describes what students are expected to know and be able to do in each subject area by the end of each grade.

Due to the amount of detailed information on the Curriculum in Ontario schools, we were unable to provide all of it for you in this report.

Toronto District School Board


The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) was created on January 1, 1998 following the amalgamation of seven individual Boards of Education.  Serving almost 1.6 million electors of the City of Toronto, it is the largest school board in Canada and among the largest in North America.

TDSB has 583 schools which serve over 246,000 students.   More than 80 languages are represented in the board’s schools.  More than 80,000 (30%) of students were born outside of Canada in more than 175 different countries.

The TDSB is home to many special programs such as French Immersion and the International Baccalaureate Program.  French immersion offers students the opportunity to learn French through other subject areas and to enhance their skills in an intensive program.  There are different starting points for the French Immersion programs, depending on when you would like to start your child in the program.

There are currently 6 secondary schools within the TDSB that offer the International Baccalaureate Program, a diploma that gives students first year university credits and is recognized in over 125 countries.  The Baccalaureate program is centered on academic excellence and personal achievement in sports and the arts.  Students commit to 150 hours of activity divided among volunteer service, sports and the arts.

New to the Community

The Toronto District School Board operates using the boundary system.  Based on your address, your children will go to a designated school within the neighbourhood.  You can apply to attend a school outside your designated boundary through the Optional Attendance Program.  Each school is given a status of open, limited, or closed.  If the school you wish to register your children at is open, the school will be accepting new students up to the optimal enrolment level; if you wish to register them in a limited status school, there are a restricted number of students who will be accepted.  Schools that are deemed closed are not open for any optional attendance; they have reached their maximum optimal capacity.  Preference in all cases will be given to those students who live within the specified jurisdiction of the school.  To find out which school your children will attend, please call 416-394-7526 or visit the board website School Search tool.

To view a list of all the schools in the TDSB, please visit:

Registration for Elementary Schools

Elementary level students both from inside and outside Canada are assessed at the local school.  You will need to call ahead and make an appointment and bring with you appropriate documentation. To find your local school, visit TDSB Street Guide and enter in your street name, or call 416-394-7526.

Secondary Level Registration

Registration for secondary level students new to Canada will be administered at one of the following reception centers, based on your new address. At the centre, students will have an assessment done of their English proficiency and math skills.

Newcomer Reception Centre Locations

There are two Newcomer Reception Centres. Please access the location that is most convenient for you by calling to make an appointment.

West End Reception Centre
777 Bloor Street West, 4th floor
Toronto, ON (north side of Bloor St. at Christie subway station)
Phone: 416-393-0542

Georges Vanier Reception Centre
3000 Don Mills Road East
Toronto, ON (Don Mills Road East, south of Finch)
Phone: 416-395-9440

Documentation for Elementary & Secondary Level Registration

Before going to the school you will need to call ahead to better assist you and the office staff.  If you have any copies of current school records, samples of your child’s work, reports that may assist the school in program/placement of your child, you will need to take them with you at the time of registration.

You will need to provide ALL of the following information to register your child for school:

  • Proof of child’s age – Birth Certificate or Passport

  • Proof of address – copy of offer to purchase/lease, copy of property tax bill, or copy of utility bill with your name

  • Children’s health card

  • Proof of citizenship – Birth Certificate, Passport, Record of Landing (IMM1000), or Permanent Resident Card

  • Valid work permit (must be 1 year minimum)

  • School transcripts

  • Immunization Record – proof that your child has been immunized, according to the recommended immunization schedule in Ontario, against Diphtheria, Mumps, Polio, Red Measles, Rubella, and Tetanus.

Contact Information

Toronto District School Board
5050 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON M2N 5N8
Phone: 416-397-3000


Toronto Catholic District School Board


The Toronto Catholic District School Board educates over to 91,000 students in 195 elementary and secondary schools.  Each of the schools offers a well-rounded, catholic curriculum.  In addition, some schools offer comprehensive programs for students with special talents.

Toronto’s Catholic schools follow the provincial curriculum as set out by the Ministry of Education; however the objectives of TCDSB schools are to enable students not only to reach their academic potential, but to develop spiritually and emotionally as well.  TCDSB strives to be true faith communities, where programs reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church and where students have opportunities to put their faith into action through their interactions with staff, their fellow students and the wider community.

The Religious Education Program enables students to develop a basic knowledge of their faith tradition, as well as attitudes that encourage a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Chaplaincy teams in the secondary schools play a role in the development of a sense of Christian community through peer support groups, mission groups, special needs projects and community outreach to the elderly and disabled.

All secondary school students are required to wear the uniform of the school they attend.  The uniform at each school has been developed in consultation with the school community. The policy for uniforms does not extend to the elementary school level.

Assessment & Education Taxes

As a Roman Catholic, whether you own or rent, you have the legal right to direct school support on your residential unit to the Toronto Catholic District School Board.  It is the responsibility of Catholic ratepayers to declare themselves as a Catholic school supporter on the appropriate school support form.  Otherwise, by default, school support is directed to the public school system.  If one partner is a Roman Catholic, school support may be directed to the Toronto Catholic District School Board through a school lease agreement.

New to the Community

The Toronto Catholic District School Board operates using the boundary system for the elementary level.  Based on your address, your children will go to a designated school within the neighbourhood.  You can apply to attend a school outside of the school boundaries if there are special circumstances, but can only attend a school of choice if there is space available.  Each circumstance would have to be reviewed by the school board.

Every effort will be made to place secondary level students in the closest school to their home; however, if the designated school is deemed full, they will then be redirected to the next closest school.  To find your home school, please visit: School and Bus Locator or contact the Admissions & Placement Department at 416-222-8282 ext 5320.

Registration for Elementary Schools

You can now apply online for TCDSB elementary school by visiting:   Once the form has been completed, parents will be invited to book an appointment with the school. You can also fill out the application form and submit it directly to your home school.  We do suggest that you contact the school first to ensure that they have someone available to handle your registration.

Registration for Secondary Schools

Secondary school admissions are under the provincially legislated Open Access and no child should be refused on religious grounds unless they are unwilling to respect the rites and practices of the Catholic school system. Students coming from out-of-province or country are required to make an appointment at the following location:

Orientation Centre
700 Markham Street                                    
Toronto, ON

Phone: 416-393-5500

Once your children have been registered at the Orientation Centre, they will provide you with your school options, based on your home address and the availability of schools in the area.  The TCDSB will try to place students as close to their home address as possible, subject to availability.

Documentation Required for Registration

You will need the documentation listed to register your child. If you have any copies of current school records, samples of your child’s work, reports that may assist the school in program/placement of your child, you should take them with you at the time of registration.

You will need to provide ALL of the following information before you can register your child for school (Original documents ONLY):

  • Proof of child’s age – Birth Certificate or Passport

  • Catholic Baptismal Certificate – for elementary level only. You must provide either the child’s or parent’s Catholic baptismal certificate

  • Proof of address – copy of offer to purchase/lease, copy of property tax bill, or copy of utility bill with the Catholic parents name.

  • Children’s health card

  • Proof of citizenship – Birth Certificate, Passport, Record of Landing (IMM1000), or Permanent Resident Card

  • Immunization Record – proof that your child has been immunized, according to the recommended immunization schedule in Ontario.

Contact Information

Catholic Education Centre
80 Sheppard Ave. E.                        Website:
North York, ON M2N6E8                   Phone: 416-222-8282


School Rankings


In grades 3, 6, 9 and 10, students write standardized tests that are produced by the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO).   The test are based on The Ontario Curriculum and are designed to provide information about how well students across the province are learning to read, write and understand English and learn mathematics.  The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) ensures greater accountability and better quality in Ontario’s publicly funded school system. A branch of the provincial government, EQAO provides parents, teachers and the public with accurate and reliable information about student achievement. EQAO also makes recommendations for improvement that educators, parents, policy-makers and others in the education community can use to improve learning and teaching.

The Grade 3 and Grade 6 Assessments of Reading, Writing and Mathematics are based on the reading, writing and mathematics expectations in the Ontario Curriculum for Grades 1–8. These assessments provide both individual and system data on students’ achievement. Every student who writes the Grade 3 or Grade 6 Assessment of Reading, Writing and Mathematics receives an Individual Student Report.

The Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics is administered in January to students enrolled in first-semester mathematics courses and in May/June to students enrolled in second-semester and full-year courses.

The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) is administered in March each year for Grade 10 students to assess students’ reading and writing skills.

Students should be scoring at least a level 3: meets provincial standards, level 4 means students are exceeding provincial standards.

When you are considering a school for your children, please keep the following in mind when reviewing the EQAO results:

  • EQAO results do not measure the school overall – extracurricular activities, sports, student and teacher relationships, student life, etc.

  • Some schools have their students study and prepare for the EQAO testing while others have their students to write the test with no formal preparation.

  • You must also consider the number of students who write the test and are new to Canada or ESL (English as a second language) students

As the EQAO tests students at key points in primary, junior and secondary levels, it is important to follow this process.   When picking a school, find their current grade 6 scores, and then go back three years to when this same group of students was in grade 3.   This will show how these students are learning based on the EQAO scoring from grade 3 to grade 6.

All Ontario elementary and secondary school EQAO results can be obtained at:

2015 Labour Action

Labour action by the Ontario teacher federations affected the administration of the primary and junior assessments for the 2014-15 school year.  As a result, there may not be an assessment for many schools.

Fraser Institute Report

The Fraser Institute is an independent research and educational organization.  Their work is financed by tax-deductible contributions from thousands of individuals, organizations and foundations.  To protect its independence, the Institute does not accept grants from government or contacts for research.

The Fraser Institute publishes yearly report cards on Ontario’s Elementary and Secondary Schools. The reports rate English and French, private, public and separate  schools based on key indicators derived from province-wide tests of reading, writing and mathematics skills administered by the province’s Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO).

Like the EQAO, the Fraser report is a great tool to assist in finding a school.  These reports will not give you the final word on whether a school will be a good for your children, but they are a good starting place.   The Fraser rankings don’t just reflect pure test scores but whether a school has been ‘pulling up its socks’ over time.


Private Schools in Toronto

Private schools also provide elementary and secondary education.  They are independently operated and do not receive funding from the government.

Application procedures for private schools differ from school to school.  An entrance test and interview with the child are generally required.  There is not always availability at your private school of choice and your child’s name may be placed on a waiting list for entrance during the school year or subsequent years.  It is a good idea to source out private schools well in advance to ensure you submit  your application before the deadline.

For a detailed list of the private schools in Toronto please visit:


Post Secondary Schools

Ontario’s publicly-funded postsecondary education system is made up of 20 universities, 24 colleges of applied arts and technology and other facilities. Ontario has some of the best programs, offered by renowned experts, in the world.


Colleges offer a range of programs: certificate programs that are one-year or less, two- to three-year diplomas, apprenticeships, and degrees. Some colleges also offer programs in partnership with a university to grant both a degree and a diploma.

Admission requirements

Students who have an Ontario Secondary School Diploma can apply for college programs. If you didn’t attend high school in Ontario, contact the college directly.

If you haven’t completed high school, but are at least 19 years old, you’re eligible to apply for college programs. Some programs and schools may have additional requirements. Check before you apply.

A list of Ontario colleges can be found at Ontario Colleges.


Publicly funded universities offer three and four-year undergraduate degrees, as well as post-graduate and professional programs.

Some universities offer partnerships with a college to grant a degree and a diploma concurrently. Co-op programs are also available.

Admission Requirements

Each Ontario university sets its own admission standards. For an idea about what marks schools are looking for, visit the Council of Ontario Universities’ Common University Data website.  For information on applications, please visit the Ontario University Application Centre.

A list of the Universities in Ontario can be found by visiting: Ontario’s public universities.

210 - 2285 Av Francis-Hughes, Laval, QC, H7S 1N5, Canada

Toll free: 1 877 777-0790

Phone: 514-382-0790

Fax: 450-667-5289

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