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Educating your children in Quebec

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Quebec places restrictions on the language in which your children may study. To educate your child in English, you must apply for a Certificate of Eligibility, even if your desired English school offers a French immersion program. Students attending private schools not subsidized by the Quebec government are exempt from this rule.

Quebec's Ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport website states:

"In 1977, Québec’s National Assembly adopted the Charter of the French Language (Bill 101), which states that all children must be educated in French until the end of their secondary studies, whether in a public school or a subsidized private school."

If your child's maternal language is not French, but you wish him or her to attend a francophone school, the CSDM offers a welcome program to help ease the transition into a French learning environment. You can learn about the "Accueil des nouveaux arrivants" program on the CSDM website.

Public schools

Montreal has both French- and English-language public school boards: the CSDM (French) and the EMSB (English) cover the central portion of the island, while the Marguerite-Bourgeoys (French) and Lester B. Pearson (English) boards cover the west island and the CSPI the eastern tip. In addition to public schools, there are a number of affordable private schools in Montreal. All the boards' websites have searchable directories of local schools, including boundary maps and school bus information.

Registration for public primary schools usually takes place in late January. Contact your local school for more information.

Many parents choose to enroll their children in public high schools.  To decide on the right high school, parents usually start attending Open Houses while their children are in Grade 5 of primary school. To find out a list of high schools in your area, and the programs that they offer, you can visit the website of the school board in your neighborhood.

Private schools

To find a private school for your child, visit the Quebec Association of Independent Schools website for a directory of private schools in the Montreal region.

If you are considering sending your child to a private high school, it is important to note that admission requirements vary by school. It is best to contact the school directly.