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The following questions and answers have been prepared by staff at the Ministry of Education, in consultation with Citizenship and Immigration Canada, to assist school boards in understanding the provincial and federal policy related to the new Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada). For legal interpretation and clarity, boards are encouraged to consult their own legal counsel and/or to contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada directly (

Questions and Answers

1 Question: When did the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada), hereafter referred to as "IRPA", come into effect?
  Answer: IRPA received Royal Assent on November 1, 2001 and came into force on June 28, 2002. IRPA is administered by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and replaces the Immigration Act (Canada).

For more information on IRPA, boards are directed to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website at or are advised to contact their local CIC office.

2 Question: Is it true that IRPA has introduced new statuses to identify people coming to Canada legally as non-immigrants?
  Answer: Yes, under IRPA and the regulations made under it, statuses have changed. Boards should seek their own legal advice on these questions. The information available appears to indicate that people coming to Canada legally as non-immigrants will have temporary resident status.

There are essentially three classes of temporary residents: students, workers and visitors. Members of these classes are authorized, respectively, to study, work, or visit in Canada.

A fourth class of temporary residents are holders of temporary resident permits (previously referred to as Ministerial permits); these permits are issued by CIC on a discretionary basis. Members of this class are allowed to study and work in Canada, with the expectation that their stay may be for a long time.

3 Question: What are some of the new terms used in IRPA compared to the old act?
Old Act IRPA
Student authorization Study permit
Employment authorization Work permit
Ministerial permit Temporary resident permit
Immigrant Foreign national
Landed immigrant Permanent resident

4 Question: Are school boards required to admit to their schools children who are in Canada as temporary residents?
  Answer: Yes, if under the Education Act they have a right to attend and their attendance is otherwise lawfully permitted. Rights to attend Ontario schools are set out in Part II of the Education Act. Fees may be applicable depending upon the circumstances.

5 Question: When might a school board not admit a child to one of their schools when that child is in Canada as a temporary resident?
  Answer: There are a number of situations that may result in a child not being admitted to a school of the board. Those situations are listed below.

a) The child has not completed the program of vaccination against communicable diseases as required by the Immunization of School Pupils Act ("ISPA"), and the reasons why the child has not completed the immunization program are not valid and acceptable reasons as per ISPA.

b) Under Subsection 265 (1)(l) of the Education Act, the principal may refuse admission to a child who the principal believes is infected with or exposed to a communicable disease requiring an order under section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act, until furnished with a certificate from a medical officer of health or of a legally qualified medical practitioner approved by the medical officer of health that all danger from exposure to contact with such child has passed.

c) Subject to an appeal to the board, the principal may under Subsection 265 (1)(m) of the Education Act refuse admittance to the school if a child's presence in the school or classroom would be in the principal's judgement, detrimental to the physical or mental well being of the pupils.

d) Persons who are in Canada as temporary residents and to whom subsection 49(6) of the Education Act applies are required to pay "tuition fees". Based upon the relevant fees regulation and the tuition fee policies of the school board, full or partial tuition fee payment may be a requirement before admission.

For more information go to the question and answers for Fees.

6 Question: Are children of persons illegally in Canada permitted to attend school?
  Answer: Under Subsection 30(2) of IRPA, "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."

This is consistent with Section 49.1 of the Education Act which provides that "a person who is otherwise entitled to be admitted to a school and who is less than 18 years of age, shall not be refused admission because the person or the person's parent or guardian is unlawfully in Canada."

7 Question: Are medical examinations a requirement for school-aged children applying for a study permit?
  Answer: The answer depends upon which country the child has resided in for the 12 months preceding entry to Canada. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is responsible for setting procedures and policies for when foreign nationals coming to Canada will be required to undergo medical examinations. For details on the procedures consult Questions in this area should be directed to CIC.

8 Question: Has the Education Act been updated to reflect the changes brought about by the IRPA?
  Answer: Yes. On November 26, 2002, the province passed legislation (Bill 179) to amend subsections 49(6) and (7) of the Education Act as a result of the newly introduced IRPA.

The amendments were to change the references and terminology from:

  • Immigration Act (Canada) to - Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada)
  • Department of External Affairs to - Citizenship and Immigration Canada
  • Visitor to - temporary resident
  • Student authorization to - study permit
  • Employment authorization or ministerial permit to - work permit or temporary resident permit


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