Useful Links

  • Global Experience Ontario
  • Learn English or French
  • Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program
  • How to apply

International Students

Settling In

You are now settling into life on campus. As you ease into your school year, here are some things you may need to know:

  • Emergency numbers
    These three-digit phone numbers connect you to essential services.
    • 911 - Emergency Services (police, fire and ambulance)
    • 211 - Social Services (housing, child care, food banks, etc.)
    • 311 - Municipal Services for most cities in Ontario (garbage collection and recycling program, city events and festivals, recreational programs, etc.)
    • 411 - Residence and business telephone numbers (restaurants, banks, friends, etc.). Fees apply.
  • Campus safety
  • Banking - ATMs, banks on campus, where you can make money transfers
  • Budgeting (Cost of living and expenses)
  • Food - Where to buy food? Meal plans offered by your college or university
  • Health Insurance Plan
    Health coverage is mandatory for international students. It is offered through your college or university. It is important you enroll your spouse/partner and your children who are accompanying you to Canada into the plan so they also have coverage. There may be a late fee charge if you delay.
  • Telephone, Internet and Television - Overseas, Long-distance calls and Skype
  • Transportation


    This is the logo of the Documents checklistSo you do not forget anything, you can download a list of Useful things to know about.

  • Academic and personal counselling - Get more information from the Student Services Office at your college or university
  • Adjusting to a new culture
    • What you should know about living in Canada
    • Support groups - Discussion forums, multicultural groups and organizations
    • Find out about Student clubs and organizations
    • Sports and recreation on campus
    • Find out about student services (Learning skills services, LGBT support program, psychological services, services for students with disabilities, writing support centre, etc.)
  • Information on Canada’s three levels of government and their respective responsibilities.
  • Public Holidays and special events - See Statutory holidays in Ontario, Celebrations and commemorations in Canada and the yearly calendar of events

Spouses and Partners

Spouses and partners of international students are often welcome to attend events and take part in some of the different programs and services offered by the International and Exchange Students Centre.

A spouse (non-student) of a full-time international student may obtain an open Work Permit to work for any employer. A specific job offer is not required to obtain an open Work Permit. The open Work Permit will have the same expiry date as their spouse's Study Permit.


It is important you enroll your spouse/partner and your children who are accompanying you to Canada into your health insurance plan. Do not delay; get the information when you arrive. Late fees could apply.

Your spouse or common-law partner will need to include with the application:

  • a photocopy of your Study Permit
  • a letter from the college or university confirming your enrollment as a full-time student
  • a photocopy of your marriage certificate or proof of common-law status.

School-Age Children

International students studying full-time with a valid study permit at a publicly assisted Ontario university or college can send their school-age children to Ontario schools for free, according to the Ontario Education Act.

Please note that you will also have to submit a study permit application from your country of permanent residence for your children. Pre-school and kindergarten children do not need a study permit.

You can choose to send your children to private schools. There are also before and after school day cares available to you. The fees for these private institutions vary. Contact the schools directly.

Play groups and support groups for parents of young children

There are various playgroups and support groups for parents with young children in Ontario. Ask your International and Exchange Students Centre for information of services and programs in your community.

Financial Aid

Some bursaries and scholarships are available to International students. See Scholarships for International Students, for information on scholarships. Each college and university offers various scholarships, awards and bursaries based on academic achievement and financial need. Contact your college or university's scholarships and awards office for more information.


Read about the changes to the International Student Program that took effect on June 1, 2014.


Ontario has employment standards that set out the minimum standards - like minimum wage - that employers and employees must follow.


If you attend a publicly assisted college or university and are registered as a full-time student, you may be able to work at your institution without a work permit. The jobs on campus are limited and it may be difficult to get one of them.

Universities and colleges may also offer specific on-campus employment to upper-year undergraduate international students.


Full-time students pursuing an academic, professional or vocational training program at a designated learning institution are eligible to work off campus for up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions, and full time during scheduled breaks.

Co-op and Internship Programs

If you are enrolled in a program that requires that you complete a work component to graduate, you will need to obtain a Co-op Work permit. This Work Permit is different from the Off-Campus Work Permit and will require documentation from your faculty. Your co-op or internship employment cannot form more than 50% of the total program of study.

Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP)

Once you complete your program of study at a participating post-secondary institution, you can apply for a Post-Graduate Work Permit within 90 days of graduation. This open work permit is designed to provide students with Canadian work experience. The permit will be valid for a maximum of three years. Determine your eligibility.

Social Insurance Number (SIN)

You need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) – a nine-digit number – to work in Canada whether you are an on or off-campus employee or a teaching or research assistant.


Ontario universities and colleges often offer FREE Tax clinics for International students.

Income Taxes

Any money you earn while in Canada, including income earned from employment, scholarships, bursaries, assistantships (TA or RA), or fellowships, is subject to Canadian Income Tax. The deadline to complete and mail your Income Tax forms is midnight on April 30 of each year. The Canadian tax year runs from January 1 to December 31.

You may want to file an income return even if you did not receive income from a Canadian source since you may be eligible for some tax credits.