How to Register a School in Ontario

Interested in starting a school and feeling a bit lost on the details? Then OFIS’ PSP Pt. 1: Foundations of Independent School Operations in Ontario course is the right place to start!

Click here to see upcoming dates and register.

Before Schools Open Their Doors…

1. Must register their school with the Ontario Ministry of Education – Ontario Private Schools – Policies & Procedures Manual -Section 2
2. Ensure their school meets/exceeds the standards for independent schools defined in the province’s Education Act

Learn More About Independent School Reporting Obligations
“Education Act By The Numbers For Independent Schools” – Independent School MOE Reporting Obligations Broken Down Line By Line – click here

Private Schools Policies & Procedures Manual – Ministry of Education – A manual for all private schools has been created to provide private school owners, principals and teachers with information regarding the policies, procedures and legislative requirements of the Ministry of Education regarding the operation of private schools in Ontario – click here

Ontario Schools Policy & Program Requirements – K-12 – A manual for all schools in the province that sets out the requirements of the Ministry of Education that govern the policies and programs of all public schools. OFIS encourages all member schools to achieve those same standards while recognizing the unique niche of education they represent – click here

Government Requirements for Registering a School

The Ministry of Education provides a list of private elementary and secondary schools that operate in Ontario. The list includes general information about each school, such as religious affiliation, the availability of residential facilities, and, whether or not the school offers credits towards the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). The Minister of Education has the sole authority to determine the courses of study that a student must complete in order to obtain the OSSD. All private schools that wish to operate in Ontario are legally obliged to register with the Ministry of Education and to provide the ministry with annual statistical reports.

All schools must be governed by a board or an owner who is obliged to register the school with the Ontario Ministry of Education by annually completing a Notice Of Intention To Operate (NOI), and must operate it in accordance with the provisions of the Education Act (Section 16) namely:

  • 5 or more compulsory school age (6) children must be in attendance
  • an identified principal must be in charge of the school
  • control of quality of instruction and evaluation of student achievement
  • control of content of the program or courses of study
  • a common school-wide assessment and evaluation policy
  • a common procedure for reporting to parents
  • a common school-wide attendance policy
  • a central office for the maintenance of student records with respect to attendance, Ontario Student Information System (ONSIS) and Ontario Student Records (OSR)

*A school must also also meet zoning, fire, health, and building code requirements in force in the municipality.
*Schools are subject to site inspection by the Ministry of Education, upon request.

The Ministry of Education will inspect all independent secondary schools that want to grant credits in subjects leading to the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). Inspections are made only on the standard of instruction, not on items such as premises, health and safety practices or matters relating to staffing. Independent secondary schools are authorized to grant credits only after a ministry inspection and this authority may be revoked following an inspection. The credit granting status of a school is noted on the Ministry’s website.

MOE Documents – To Download

Download the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Private Schools Online Directory 
!!!MOE no longer displays a directory of provincial private schools, but a list of schools regularly updated by MOE, is available for download!!! 

Contact Information – MOE

Contact Your Regional Education Office – click here
Contact The Private Schools/International Education Field Services Branch – Public Inquiries – 416-325-1981 or 

OnSIS – Ontario Student Information System

All schools must submit regular reports on the Ontario Student Information System (OnSIS) according to the data Submission Schedule either electronically or manually. The due dates for the submissions are as follows:

October Submission covers activity from July 1st to October 31st – REQUEST DATE: November 1 – DUE DATE: December 31st-
March Submission covers activity from November 1st to March 31st – REQUEST DATE: April 1 – DUE DATE: May 31st
June Submission covers activity from April 1st to June 30th – REQUEST DATE: July 1 – DUE DATE: September 30th

Find OnSIS OnLineclick here

View OnSIS FAQ`s for Private Schools – click here

Contact – Call Toll-Free – 1-888-275-5934

Ontario Student Records (OSR)

Private schools are not obligated to use OSRs but must still demonstrate accurate student record-keeping practices upon request of the Ministry, like issuing and keeping report cards

All schools that choose to establish and maintain OSRs must do so in accordance with these guidelines – Ontario Student Record Guideline

To order OSR (Ontario Student Records) and OST (Ontario Student Transcript) forms, private schools must register – LMG website