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Bringing Your Family

International students who bring their families to Canada while they are studying need to consider some important factors. With the amount of time that students will have to devote to their studies and research, serious thought should be given to the activities of the spouse and family during the study period.

This page will examine some of the options available and considerations that must be addressed before you decide to bring the family for a prolonged stay. A family

If you are asking for temporary immigration status for your family members who will be accompanying you, be sure to provide personal information about each individual and evidence of the financial means to support them. You should also include your common-law partner or spouse in your McGill International Health Insurance Coverage; opt for a Dependent coverage. Accompanying children under 18 years of age are eligible to be covered by Quebec's provincial health insurance plan, Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec(RAMQ). However, you may still elect to add your children to the international health insurance plan. 

After reading the information below, join us for an interactive webinar to learn more about the process and ask your questions to an immigration advisor.

Want to learn more about the community of students with families at McGill?  

Check out the family care website!


Spouses of full-time international students coming to Canada who are not full-time students may seek employment on or off campus. An Open Work Permit must be obtained PRIOR to employment. For this Open Work Permit, the applicant must provide supporting documents to confirm that:

  • He/She is the legal spouse or common-law partner of the student
  • His/Her spouse holds a valid Study Permit, is a full-time student at a post-secondary institution in Canada and is studying in either: 
    • a master’s or doctoral degree program in a university or polytechnic institution, or
    • one of the following professional degree programs at a university:
      • Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS, DMD)
      • Bachelor of Law or Juris Doctor (LLB, JD, BCL)
      • Doctor of Medicine (MD)
      • Doctor of Optometry (OD)
      • Pharmacy (PharmD, BS, BSc, BPharm)
      • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM)
      • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN, BSN, BNSc)
      • Bachelor of Education (B. Ed.)
      • Bachelor of Engineering (B. Eng., BE, BASc)

The spouse Open Work Permit can be obtained once you and your family have arrived in Montreal. For more information, visit the Immigration Canada website.

Spouses wishing to study at a university or college will require a CAQ and Study Permit (except when enrolling in study programs that are completed in less than 6 months). There are also interest courses available for adults that do not require immigration approval.


If your child will be entering Canada to attend elementary or secondary school (grade 1 or higher), he/she will need a CAQ and Study Permit before entering Canada. If you child is going to kindergarten(maternelle in Quebec) or daycare (i.e. is 5 years old or less), he/she can simply come to Canada as a Visitor (after which he/she can continue on to elementary school without needing a CAQ or Study Permit - see details on the Immigration Canada website). 

Obtaining a CAQ & Study Permit for your children

It is very important to keep in mind that all students who will have children with them in Canada and intend to send them to school, MUST obtain a CAQ and Study Permit for each child before coming to Canada.

School registration can be done once you have arrived in Montreal. In the province of Quebec, elementary and secondary education is governed by regional school boards. Parents should contact the appropriate school board to find out where the nearest school is located and to obtain information about registration procedures. For more information, please visit the Quebec English School Boards Associations website.

Parents who wish to send their children to private schools should contact the individual schools directly. Tuition fees vary, but are quite substantial. For more information, visit the Quebec Association of Independent Schools website.

Daycare Facilities

McGill does offer students a daycare facility. For further information, please visit the McGill Childcare Centre website. However, in order to qualify for services offered by the McGill Childcare Centre, you must meet the following two eligibility criteria:

  1. Be the recipient of the PBEEE/Quebec Merit Scholarship & DE/DS for Foreign Students. For more information, visit the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website.  
  2. The second parent holds proof of full-time student or employment status.

Only those families that meet the above two criteria may benefit from the services. Please note that the waiting period to secure a spot for your child ranges from 6 months to 3 years.

If you do not qualify for the McGill Childcare Centre, you may opt for private daycare, home-based daycare or babysitting facilities for younger children. Usually, there is a long waitlist for enrolment; therefore you should apply as early as possible. Although the provincial government subsidizes daycare costs for Quebec residents, international students are not eligible for the $7/day daycare services except students who are awarded the PBEEE/Quebec Merit Scholarship & DE/DS for Foreign Students. You may be expected to pay $25 to $50 per day to access daycare services.

For a complete list of daycares and interesting parenting information, please visit the La place 0-5 website.

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