Family Reception Centre

The Family Reception Centre is here to welcome families to the OCDSB.

Registering your child for school is an important step to help adjust to your new life in Canada. 

Whether you are new to this country or if this is your first time attending an English-speaking school, we are here to help.

Who we support:

The Family Reception Centre supports students wishing to enroll in grades 1-12 who have attended school outside of Ontario, in a language other than English and/or whose first or primary language is not English.

This includes:

  • Permanent Residents (also known as Landed Immigrants)
  • Refugees
  • Children of diplomats who do not speak English as their first language
  • Children of parents who have a work or study visa
  • Students whose first and/or dominant language is a language other than English, or who speak a language other than English at home. This may include students born in Canada.
  • Students who have attended a private school where the primary language of instruction is other than English.
  • Students who have previously attended an Ontario school district, and then study abroad for 1 year or more in a primary language other than English.
  • Students who are transferring from other provinces (e.g., Quebec, northern territories/provinces) where the primary language of instruction is other than English.
  • Students with an Early Literacy Development (ELD) designation from other Ontario school districts.
  • Secondary age students without any school documents (e.g. report cards, transcripts), even if English is their first language, in order to better assist the schools in the placement of these students.

Please note a study permit is required if a student is 18 years of age and over. Refugees and children of parents who have a work or study visa must contact the Admissions department first.

Students can register directly at their local school if they are in Kindergarten or from a French-language school board in Ontario.

What we do:

  • Assessment: Family Reception Centre staff meet with parents and students to learn more about the student’s past education, answer your questions, and help you to register for school.
  • Support: We can help families find additional support to adjust to life in Ottawa. This can include connecting you with local agencies and community resources. The Family Reception Centre staff also provides resource materials to help educators to understand the needs of diverse students.

The Education Assessment

Important: Appointments can only be made once children have arrived in Canada.

Booking your appointment 

As soon as the child has arrived in Canada, a parent or guardian should call to book an appointment: 613-239-2416. 

There is no fee for registration.

Assistance for families with limited to no English

We work with multicultural liaison officers to help families whose first language is not English. These officers speak a variety of languages. This includes, but is not limited to: Arabic, Bengali, Mandarin, French, Russian, Somali , Spanish, Urdu, and Vietnamese.

The assessment

This assessment will be used to help schools be prepared to support your child as they begin learning in the OCDSB.

We will meet with the parent and student to determine the student’s level of English in reading, writing, listening and speaking. In addition, we will also review their level of mathematics. 

The assessor will interview the parent(s) and the student to gather information about their student’s past educational experiences. 

  • Academic strengths and weaknesses
  • Educational history
  • Exceptionalities (for example, does the child have a learning disability?)
  • Interests and goals
  • Issues that could affect schooling

What you need to bring: 

You must bring the following documentation with you to the appointment:

  • Immigration documents
  • Immunization records
  • School records (if available)
  • Proof of address in Ottawa (such as a bill, rental agreement, or identification with your address)

Additional details:

At least one parent/ legal guardian must be present with the student(s) at the time of the appointment.

Length of appointment:
Elementary students: 2 hours
Secondary students: 3-5 hours

Bring a peanut-free snack and some water for your child, if you wish

Adult High School, 300 Rochester St. room 202
Ottawa, ON K1R 7N4

Parking is available in the Adult High School parking lot in the spots marked with white lines. If the parking lot is full, use City of Ottawa parking available at several locations nearby.

Orientation Classes for Students 18 – 21 years of Age

We also offer an Orientation Class which is designed for newly-arrived students who are between the ages of 18 and 21 years of age and require English literacy development. Orientation Class can last several semesters and provides both English language and math support. 

The class is meant to prepare students for entry into the Adult High School or other programs offered in the OCDSB, as well as entry into the workforce. Please call the Family Reception Centre for more information.

Contact Us


    Family Reception Centre

    300 Rochester St. room 202
    Ottawa, ON K1R 7N4



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