International Student Families

If wanting to speak with a Family Care Advisor at the Family Care Office before coming to Toronto, please register for one of our Online Chat for Student Parents and their Partners/Spouses listed on our events page.

Check out the latest addition to our Oral History Project to learn how one international student navigated her way through U of T with a 7 year old and a new baby on the way. Watch the video!

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. If you will be inviting your spouse, common law partner, children or parents to join you in Canada, please be aware that family members must apply for a visa. For more information on the necessary steps, please visit the Centre for International Experience (CIE). The 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.

Pregnancy

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 he 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/Gynaecologist usually when you reach the 4th month of pregnancy. Additional resources can be found in the Student Pregnancy section on our website.

You may also want to consider hiring a Doula for additional support. A doula is someone who provides non-clinical support (will not perform medical tasks) and care to a woman (and her partner) during childbirth and postpartum. A doula that assists the mother postpartum may provide breastfeeding support, meal preparation, light housekeeping, and laundry. Costs will vary depending on the care and services. More information can be found at Association of Ontario Doulas (AOD).

You and your partner may want register for the fall or winter session of the Expectant Parents Group offered by our office.

To discuss your pregnancy options in more detail, we recommend booking an appointment with Maria Jardim, our Family Care Advisor and Outreach Coordinator. She can be reached at: 416-946-5999 or maria.jardim@utoronto.ca

Childcare

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 (PDF), 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 homecare agencies tend to be just a bit less expensive. Costs do decrease as the child gets older.

You may also want to consider applying for childcare subsidy and benefits to reduce the cost of childcare. The Family Care Office has compiled a tip sheet (for both Toronto and surrounding areas) that outlines the eligibility requirements and contact information to help get you started. Please contact us if you need more information about applying.

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 whether you require before and after school care to secure a space for your child.

Determining which 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 tipsheet.

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).

Housing

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.

 

Off-Campus Housing

University of Toronto Housing Services offers information, resources and support to help you meet your housing needs.
Other options:

  • Campus Co-op Residence has 4 family apartments available on Sussex Avenue. To be placed on the waiting list, please call 416-979-2161.

Other Resources