Frequently Asked Questions for Students

Which legislation governs elementary and secondary education?

In Canada, education is a provincial responsibility. Elementary and secondary education in Ontario is governed by the Education Act and any amendments made to that Act. Ontario Statutes and Regulations are now available online. You can also obtain the Education Act on paper or CD-ROM from Publications Ontario, the Government of Ontario book store. In addition, provincial legislation may be accessed at all depository libraries, at many public libraries, and in the reference sections of those university libraries that are open to the public.

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What are the roles of the ministers, school boards, and teachers? And what about parents and students?

See Who's Responsible for Your Child's Education? for a description of the responsibilities of the various participants in Ontario's elementary and secondary school system.

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Can a student from outside Canada attend school in Ontario?

Yes, but in order to study here, an international student requires a valid student visa. Contact the Canadian embassy, consulate, or high commission in your country to apply for one. You will also need a letter from the school in Ontario, stating that a space is available. To find out which schools have openings for foreign students, you should contact district school boards and school authorities (for publicly funded schools) or the School Authorities (for publicly funded schools) or the private schools that interest you.

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Who determines the school curriculum?

The Ministry of Education sets curriculum policy and defines what teachers are required to teach and students are expected to learn in each grade and subject. A consistent, province-wide curriculum is thereby ensured. However, teaching and assessment strategies are left to the professional judgement of teachers, enabling them to address individual student needs and deliver the curriculum in a context that is locally meaningful.

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As an adult, how can I complete the requirements for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)?

There are several ways to complete your secondary school diploma. For example, secondary school courses leading to diploma credits are offered by correspondence through the Ministry of Education's Independent Learning Centre. More information on this program is provided in the ILC Course Guide. If you would prefer to take courses in a classroom with other adults, contact your local school board to discuss adult credit programs. Evening classes, as well as English as a Second Language courses for those who would like to improve their English skills, are also available through most Ontario school boards.

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Can I take my General Educational Development (GED) test in Ontario?

The General Educational Development test is an international secondary school equivalency examination program for adults. The GED tests cover what secondary school graduates are expected to know in mathematics, writing, science, literature, and the arts. Candidates who successfully complete the tests can earn the Ontario High School Equivalency Certificate. The GED tests are offered in English and French, and testing sites are located in Toronto, Mississauga, Sudbury, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, and Windsor. For detailed information, visit the General Educational Development page of the Independent Learning Centre.

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How do I get an official transcript from the secondary school I attended?

If you left a publicly funded school within the past five years, you will most likely be able to obtain your secondary school transcript (the Ontario Student Transcript) from the last school you attended. However, some school boards maintain records in a central office, so you may be referred to the board to obtain your transcript. If you left a publicly funded school more than five years ago, or if the school you attended is no longer in operation, you should contact the school board, rather than the school.

Contact information for publicly funded schools can be found through the School Information Finder. Refer to the School Board Finder to find the contact information of your local school board or school authority. If you are looking for the contact information of a private school refer to the directory.

If a private secondary school you attended is no longer in operation, you should contact:

Ontario Ministry of Education
Field Services Branch
315 Front Street West, 12th Floor
Toronto ON M7A 0B8

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How do I get an evaluation of elementary or secondary education documents from outside Ontario?

In Ontario, individual elementary and secondary schools evaluate the academic records of all new students. If you or your children are new to Ontario, please take your education documents (translated into English or French) directly to the school you or your children will be attending. The records will be used by the school to determine grade-level placement and the number of graduation credits still required.

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If you still require additional information or need other personal assistance, please continue to the comment or inquiry form to submit an e-mail message. Note that the ministry's objective is to answer all e-mail inquiries within 15 business days. Most inquiries, however, are answered in less time.

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