Beginning your new academic life at the University of Toronto can be both exciting and overwhelming. We understand that being an international student can be a unique and enriching experience and that balancing the responsibilities and commitments of your family is equally as important. The Centre for International Experience (CIE) is the central hub for international students providing assistance with immigration, health insurance, English language competency, navigating the campus and connecting you with other students from all over the world. If you will be joining the University of Toronto Mississauga, then you may wish to contact the University of Toronto Mississauga International Education Centre (IEC), and for students joining the University of Toronto Scarborough, then you may wish to contact the UTSC International Student Centre.
If you are pregnant or are planning for pregnancy, we recommend you consider your prenatal health care options well in advance. In Ontario, prenatal care can be done by a doctor, a nurse practitioner, or a midwife. Midwives can deliver at your home, at the hospital and some midwives also deliver at the Toronto Birth Centre. Midwifery care is more individualized, appointments tend to be longer and can include up to 6 visits to your home after the delivery. For that reason, midwives tend to be in high demand. Should you decide to use a midwife, we suggest you contact a midwifery office as soon as possible in order to make necessary arrangements. To find a midwife, or for more information, please visit Ontario Midwives.
If you plan to use a doctor, please be advised that it can be a difficult to find a physician in Toronto who is able to take on new patients. Typically your family doctor is able to provide prenatal care and can offer a referral to an Obstetrician/Gynecologist usually when you reach the 4th month of pregnancy. Additional information can be found on our Becoming a Parent for Students tipsheet.
To discuss your pregnancy options in more detail, we recommend booking an appointment with Helen Reddy-Katz, our Family Care Advisor (Student Focus).
You and your partner may also want register for the fall or winter session of the Expectant Parents Group offered by our office.
There is home-based and centre-based childcare in Canada.
Home-based childcare can be provided at your home by someone you hire privately or with the help of a placement company (unlicensed) or at a caregiver’s home (can be licensed or unlicensed). Licensed home child care is monitored by the City of Toronto and the province of Ontario, setting a limit of 5 children per home child care provider, including the caregiver’s own children.
There is also centre-based care, provided at child care centres, all licensed by both the City and the province. Choosing the best child care centre for your child involves getting a list of centres in the neighbourhood you choose, calling the centres with a list of questions to short-list them and visiting them so you will be able to assess what you consider best for your child. Download our Choosing Childcare Tip Sheet, a document that gives a good overview of how to choose care for your child in Toronto, and visit the website Finding Quality Child Care — a Guide for Canadian Parents.
We also recommend you visit our childcare section to review the U of T affiliated child care centres. For more information on childcare in the City of Toronto, please visit www.toronto.ca/children. For more information on childcare in the City of Mississauga, please visit Child Development Resource Connection Peel.
*It is very important to note that there are long waiting lists (can be over one year) for child care centres, so we recommend you put your name on as many lists as soon as possible. When a spot becomes available they will call you. Please note that Ontario daycare centres cannot charge fees for parents to put their names on waiting lists any longer. Remember that each centre is managed independently and will have different ways of managing their waiting lists, so please ask how you would go about maintaining your name on it. Generally speaking, the cost for an infant space (children 0 to 18 months of age) can be over CDN $2000 for child care centres in the Greater Toronto Area, and home care agencies tend to be just a bit less expensive. Costs do decrease as the child gets older.
Child Care Subsidy
Child care subsidies may be offered by municipalities to help with the cost of child care. International families arriving in Toronto can apply for subsidy immediately, but once you file income tax you must then share your Notice of Assessment (NOA). Once you apply, you will be put on the wait list for a child care fee subsidy. When the child care subsidy office contacts you they will request a copy of The Notice of Assessment to consider your eligibility for subsidy in the City of Toronto. The Toronto child care subsidy office main information contact number is 416-338-8888 (press option #2 for child care).
Other municipalities generally will only offer child care subsidies to help Canadian citizens, landed immigrants or refugees with the cost of child care.
Please contact the Family Care Office if you require further information.
Enrolling Your Child in School
In Ontario, children can begin junior kindergarten in September of the year in which they turn 4 years-old. The Toronto District School Board starts registration in January-February of that year; when registering your child, it is important to indicate as soon as possible whether you require before and after school care to secure a space for your child.
The school your child will attend will be dependent on the neighbourhood you are living in; while you can apply for schools outside your neighbourhood, there is no guarantee that your child will be accepted. For Student Family Housing on the St. George Campus, the local school is Jessie Ketchum Public School.
For more detailed information on how to enrol your child in school, please download our Registering International Children in Schools tipsheet. For most international students currently enrolled as a full-time student in a degree granting program at the University of Toronto, the cost of school in the public system is free.
If you are living in Mississauga, or are interested in enrolling your child in a Catholic school, then please contact our office and we will provide you with information on enrolling your child in school.
For more information on schools in Ontario, please visit the Schools section of our website.
Health Coverage: UHIP
All international and exchange students are automatically enrolled in the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP). For more information, including how to enrol your dependants, please contact the Centre for International Experience (CIE).
Finding a place to call home does not have to be a daunting experience. You may want to consider living on-campus at Student Family Housing, if you will be attending school on the St. George campus. Priority is given to full-time undergraduate, graduate, and PhD students with families. You are encouraged to apply well in advance of your arrival. They offer a supportive and welcoming place to raise a child and are within walking distance from the university. The University of Toronto Childcare Centre on Charles is conveniently located downstairs; however, they do have a waitlist, so you are encouraged to apply early. For information regarding on-campus housing options on the UTM campus, please contact the UTM International Centre.
University of Toronto Housing Services offers information, resources and support to help you meet your housing needs.
Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto
Affordable and/or subsidized housing is available throughout the Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto. Contact the co-operative of your choice to apply.
Campus Co-op Residence has 4 family apartments available on Sussex Avenue. To be placed on the waiting list, please call 416-979-2161.
International Student Partners
Living in a different country can be both exciting and challenging. If you are an international student partner in Ontario, International Student Connect (ISC) is the place for you. The ISC project includes online support for international students and their partners in Ontario.