With the start of a new school year comes a number of expenses. School fees, supplies, student transportation… It’s not always easy for parents to know what’s free and what they have to pay out-of-pocket. Test your knowledge here!
In Quebec, public school is free from kindergarten to high school, until the age of 18. For people with a disability, it’s free until the age of 21.
However, you may have to pay certain fees for specialized programs. For example, you may be charged for certain services if your child is enrolled in a sport-study, arts-study or International Baccalaureate program.
Did you know that you can choose your child’s public school? You’re not required to enroll them in their local school. However, the school you choose must be a part of your child’s school service centre. That being said, the school may refuse your request if your child’s enrolment would cause it to exceed its maximum capacity.
If you decide to enrol your child at their local school, know that they may be denied a spot for the same reason. Sometimes, the number of enrolments exceeds the number of places available. To the extent possible, your child will be transferred to another school close to their place of residence.
Some school supplies such as textbooks, reference materials and technological tools, including computers and graphing calculators, are free. Musical instruments, physical education equipment and art supplies are also free.
But students must pay for their personal materials. This includes pens, notebooks, sportswear and running shoes, for example.
Student transportation before the beginning of classes and after the end of classes is free of charge when provided by the school service centre. But if these rides are handled by a public transit agency, the school service centre may charge you for a portion of the transportation cost.
Bear in mind that if you enroll your child in a school other than their local school, they may lose their right to free transportation.
You must pay for childcare. Normally, the maximum amount you’ll be charged for childcare outside of school hours is $8.95 per day. However, if you use this service for more than five hours in a day, the amount could be higher! You may be charged up to $3 per hour for every extra hour of childcare.
The Quebec government offers financial support in certain cases. For example, parents of children with a severe disability may be eligible for a refundable tax credit if they use childcare services.
To learn more about the financial support available, visit the Ministère de la famille’s website (French only).
You must usually pay for them. But the Quebec government does offer school service centres funding for cultural outings connected to a classroom lesson. So, some field trips may be free for this reason.