Sharing the INS of a Montréal Education

Screen shot 2021-07-28 at 11.01.51 PM.pngImage source, Flickr: I've never been cooler than this day in 1988.

Whether you are new to Montreal or have lived here your entire life, finding the right school for you or your children to attend is not always an easy task. In order to ease this task, Montréalités Education provides a glimpse into the ins and outs of Montréal's educational system.

Throughout our pages, you will find a number of useful links and information to help you select a school. On our landing page, you can find information about the Montréal school boards, eligibility, public and private school options,
registration for international students, school rankings and links to public school information.



School Boards


Montréal's school boards are language based. This means that you have a school board for each of the official Canadian languages: French and English. Please note, just because English schools are available, it does not mean that your child will be allowed to attend one. In order to attend an English language school, one must have a Certificate of Eligibility.




Québec's laws make attending French-based language schools mandatory for all permanent residents. In order to qualify for English instruction in Quebec's public schools, students must meet certain eligibility criteria under the Quebec government's Charter of the French Language. The following link provides the eligibility requirements and procedures to acquire a Certificate of Eligibility to attend an English language school in Montreal. The following table provides the basic guidelines:

Factors Determining School Choice

Temporary Resident:   School of choice

Permanent Resident:   French language school or non-subsidized private school  

Canadian with a parent who attended an English language school in Canada:  School of choice


Public and Private Options

Once you have selected a language specialization, the next step is to choose between public or private schools. Some private schools receive government subsidies and charge relatively affordable tuition rates. For this reason, subsidized schools are a relatively inexpensive choice.  Many of the private schools adhere to the model of having a non-subsidized elementary school combined with a subsidized secondary school. This works with a legislative loophole that allows parents who have paid for three years of non-subsidized private schooling in the English language to attend an English language school.

Note: this law is currently being challenged in the courts.


Types of Schools

Public : French and/or English, including various specializations (See links below)

Private: Subsidized, non-subsidized, numerous language specializations, gender specific,  and other types of specializations  



Another factor determining school choice is your child's grade level. Elementary school in Québec includes grades kindergarten through sixth. Secondary school includes grades seventh through eleventh. Upon completion of secondary school, many students attend vocational training schools or CEGEPS, (Collège d'enseignement général et professionnel) public post-secondary education collegiate institutions, often two-year programs that prepare  students for the university.  


Living in the neighborhood or district of your school of choice will not guarantee entrance. Many public schools utilize an exam placement system or lottery to fill a select number of spots. In addition, it's not uncommon for a public school to expel  a school altogether based on a minor infraction of the rules or a general impression that your child is not a good fit. In addition, while your child might be required to attend a French school, an English-speaking child is not always welcome. For many grade levels, you will find that there is no system in place to help him or her integrate. 


Often, when inquiring about enrollment, you will be rejected offhand and receive the news that the school is full. A gentle pressuring often results in a reversal of this decision.



International Student Registration


In order to register as a foreign student in any of the Quebec schools or universities, you need to follow these procedures:


Obtain a letter of acceptance.

If you are planning to attend a public elementary or high school, bring the letter of acceptance to the EMSB (English Montreal School Board) at 6000 Fielding Avenue, Montreal, room 121 in order to receive a letter of admission.


Once you have a letter of admission to a Quebec university or letter of acceptance from the EMSB, you will need to obtain a Certificate of Acceptance of Quebec or CAQ.  The CAQ is an immigration document and can be issued for your entire stay as a student.


If you are attending a public school, bring the CAQ to the EMSB along with a translated birth certificate in English or French and fill out and obtain a Certificate of Eligibility to attend an English school in Quebec.



The following table and links will provide you with the most recent rankings of the Montreal schools.


Fraser Institute 2010 top-rated Quebec public schools:


École d'éducation internationale in McMasterville (on Montreal's South Shore).

Collège Saint-Louis, Montreal.

École Internationale de Montréal, Westmount.

École d'éducation internationale de Laval.

Royal West Academy, Montreal West.

Vincent Massey Collegiate, Montreal.

École secondaire de Rochebelle, Quebec City.

Académie de Roberval, Montreal.

St. Thomas High School, Pointe-Claire.

École secondaire Pierre-Laporte, Town of Mount Royal.


Fraser Institute top-rated Quebec private schools:


Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf, Montreal.

College Jean-Eudes, Montreal.

Collège Régina Assumpta, Montreal.

Collège Jean de la Mennais, La Prairie.

Collège Saint-Sacrement, Terrebonne.

Miss Edgar's & Miss Cramp's School, Westmount.

Pensionnat du Sain-Nom-de-Marie, Montreal

Collège Charlemagne, Montreal.

Collège Saint-Alexandre, Gatineau

Collège Sainte-Anne de Lachine, Montreal.

The Study, Westmount.

Collège Jésus-Marie de Sillery, Quebec.

Collège Saint-Joseph de Hull, Gatineau.



Public School Information on Montréalités Pages


If public schools are your choice, the following pages provide more in-depth information and specific links to the diverse and numerous public schools of Montreal:


1 Comment

We are an American couple planning to move with our twin 14-year-old boys to Montreal. Having spent a lot of time looking at the Fraser rankings, we still feel we know very little about the Montreal schools. Our wish is for our boys to learn French and would not object to having them attend a Francophone school. We prefer a progressive education and welcome recommendations for schools and programs that will help us integrate into the Montreal education system.

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