OCSB Family Welcome Center

The Ottawa Catholic School Board’s Family Welcome Centre is here to provide support and information to newcomer students and families of all faiths to help them transition smoothly into our school community. Newcomer students in grades 2 to 12 need an assessment before starting school. This helps us determine if they need support and how to help them.

Who should visit the Family Welcome Centre?

Students in grades 2 to 12 who meet one of the following criteria will meet with the Family Welcome Centre for assessment:

  • Newcomers to Canada
  • Students whose first language is not English and have moved here from out of province; or
  • Students whose first language is not English and have been studying in a language other than English (this includes French-speaking students transferring from French schools in Ottawa) or
  • Students whose first language is not English and who have been living abroad for 6 months or longer.

This includes permanent residents, refugees, international students, students whose parents have work or study permits, Canadian citizens and diplomats.

Do I need to be Catholic to attend school at the Ottawa Catholic School Board?

Children of all religions are welcome to join the Ottawa Catholic School Board. Our approach to educating your child is inclusive, honouring the dignity of every child and respecting all beliefs, in keeping with our Catholic social teachings.

Families of Children in Grades JK to 1 New to the OCSB

For families with a child (or children) entering Grade 1 who don’t have older siblings in the school board, please connect with your school’s Multicultural Liaison Officer (MLO). The school MLO helps newcomer students and their families integrate into the community and establish themselves in Ottawa. This list will allow you to find and connect with the MLO that is dedicated to your child’s school.

How to register and book an appointment with the Family Welcome Centre

Before you book an appointment, you will need to register your child. You can register by following the instructions on our Registration page. Once your child is registered, please contact us Monday to Friday between 8:30 am and 3:30 pm to schedule the assessment. You can reach us by phone at 613-233-5670 or by email at family.welcome@ocsb.ca.

If you need help with registration forms or don’t have a device, we can help you during your appointment.

Required Documents for Registration

During the registration process, it is necessary to provide supporting documents that verify your child’s age, immigration status, and address. Please ensure you attach these required documents at the time of registration.

Proof of Age

The following items are some examples of your child’s age.

  • Birth certificate
  • Passport

Proof of Your Child’s Status in Canada

The following items are some examples of your child’s status in Canada.

  • Permanent resident card or confirmation of permanent residency letter
  • Canadian passport of the parent (if the child is not a Canadian citizen)
  • IRCC refugee documents
  • Parent’s work permit
  • Parent’s diplomatic acceptance (in passport), and diplomatic ID card. Or, a letter from your embassy stating the length of your diplomatic term.
  • Parent’s study permit plus the letter of acceptance from your college or university.

Proof of Address in Ottawa

The following items are some examples of proof of address. Driver’s licenses and cell phone bills are not accepted. The date shown on the document must be recent, no more than 6 months old.

  • Rental or mortgage agreement
  • Property tax or utility bill,
  • Landline, internet or cable bill
  • Bank or credit card statement

Optional Documents

The following items are some examples of additional documents that can help with your registration but are not required.

  • Student report cards or transcripts
  • Individual Education Plan (IEP)
  • Baptismal certificate (Grades 1 to 8)
  • Other assessment documents and information (if your child requires special accommodations)

If you can not attach supporting documents online, bring the documents to your appointment. Contact us for assistance or more information.

What happens during your appointment with the Family Welcome Centre?

The appointment process includes an assessment that can take some time to complete. Usually, an hour for grades 2 to 8 and up to three hours for grades 9 to 12. However, depending on the circumstance, it can take longer. Please be sure to make time in your schedule to accommodate this.

Here is what to expect when you arrive:

  1. One of our educators will meet with you and your child to discuss your child’s school history, personal goals and general interests.
  2. The educator will assess your child’s oral, reading and writing skills in English. This is not a test, there is no need to prepare for this assessment. Students in grades 9-12 who have moved here from outside of Canada will also perform a math assessment to help with course recommendations.
  3. The educator will provide parents with the assessment results and share the assessment with the school that the child has registered to.
  4. The educator will then put you in touch with a Multicultural Liaison Officer (MLO). We work with MLO’s to help newcomer families integrate into the community through our partnership with the Ottawa Community Immigrant Settlement Organization (OCISO). They share resources for families new to Canada and provide information about the school system in Ontario to all families and students who are new to our board.

We look forward to welcoming you and your family to our community. Welcome to Ottawa!