Sunday, March 06, 2016

Your Child Has a Right to Go to School. You do not have to be Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident.


Because Study Visa Application is apparently the easiest way now to get a permanent residence in Canada, many clients are now considering this option.  With the right program and school, an applicant may actually bring his/her spouse to Canada and will be allowed to work full time.  This is of course still subject to Visa Office's approval.

The common question now is this: As International Student in Canada, can my dependent child study for free at the pre-school, primary or secondary level schools in Canada?
The answer is in Immigration and Refugee Protection Act of Canada Subsection 30 (2):
Every minor child in Canada, other than a child of a temporary resident not authorized to work or study, is authorized to study at the pre-school, primary or secondary level.
In Canada, the Provincial Governments are responsible and have the power to make laws about education.  But IRPA confirms the right of children to education.

Your Child Has a Right to Go to School.  You do not have to be Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident.
Image Credit: https://www.newcomerscanada.ca

For example, Section 82 of British Columbia's School Act provides that school boards must provide education free of charge to every student of school age if the student and the student's guardian are ordinarily resident in British Columbia.

And to clarify what Ordinarily Resident means, the British Columbia imposed a policy on the Eligibility of Students for Operating Grant Funding. Simply put, it provides the access for free education to dependents of Temporary Residents in Canada:

Other classes of persons for whom the ministry will provide operating grant funding–  In addition to those who have a clear entitlement to public education under Section 82 of the School Act, the minister will provide operating grant funding for school age students in the categories listed below if the board of education requests funding via Form 1701.  Boards are encouraged to seek their own legal advice should  circumstances warrant.
  • A student who resides in British Columbia and
  • who has made a claim for refugee status in Canada and whose claim has not yet been determined  or
  • who is detained in custody in a youth custody centre.
  • A student who is in British Columbia with his or her guardian if the guardian meets one of the criteria set out below.  Guardians must be able to provide documentation to substantiate that they meet these criteria:
  • has been lawfully admitted to Canada for temporary residence and is authorised to work for a period of one year or more, and is or will be employed for at least 20 hours per week;
  • has been lawfully admitted to Canada and is authorised to study for a period of one year or more, and is enrolled in a degree or diploma programme at a public post-secondary institution in British Columbia or in a degree programme at a private post-secondary institution in British Columbia 
  • has been lawfully admitted to Canada and is authorised to study for a period of one year or more and all of the following conditions apply:
  • The parent or guardian is enrolled in an English as a Second Language (ESL) program of up to a year in duration at an institution that has an Education Quality Assurance Designation (EQA).  The ESL adult student will be deemed resident for up to one year only. Beyond one year, children of an ESL student will be considered international students and districts may charge international student fees. 
  • The parent or guardian has been accepted to a degree or diploma programme at a public post-secondary institution in British Columbia, or a degree program at a private post-secondary institution.
  • The acceptance to the degree or diploma program is contingent upon the completion of an ESL program.
  • has been lawfully admitted to and is authorized to study in Canada, and has been awarded a multi-year scholarship that covers the cost of both tuition and living expenses for a post-secondary program that includes both an ESL component and a degree program component.  The ESL component must be completed at an institution that has an Education Quality Assurance (EQA) designation.
  • has been lawfully admitted to Canada and is participating in an educator exchange program with a public school in British Columbia. 
  • is carrying out official duties under the authority of the Visiting Forces Act or as an accredited diplomatic agent, preclearance officer, consular officer or official representative in Canada of a foreign government with a consular post in British Columbia.
So there. Your kids can study for free in British Columbia.  The same is most likely true in other provinces.

Interested to Study, Work and Live in Canada? Here's what you may do: