Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program: Registering Your Children in Public Schools in British Columbia

The Canadian Start-Up Visa (SUV) Program has been a beacon for entrepreneurs and their families worldwide, with many choosing British Columbia (BC) for its varied economy and high quality of life. For SUV applicants with dependent children, their children’s education becomes a significant concern.


As the Start-Up Visa program gains momentum, now is the perfect time for prospective clients to leverage Eterna’s expertise. Eterna has recently accelerated work permit approvals for its Start-Up Visa Program clients within three months. For your clients who are seeking to expedite their journey to Canadian work permits and permanent residency, Eterna stands as the optimal partner.


Considering the Canadian Start-Up Visa (SUV) Program’s appeal to global entrepreneurs and their families, many choose British Columbia (BC) for its diverse economy and high quality of life. For SUV applicants with dependents, their children’s education becomes a vital concern.


Parents aiming to enroll their children in BC’s free public schools should know some critical points. It’s important to note that to excel in the SUV program, applicants must demonstrate a solid commitment to developing their start-up in Canada. They should be actively involved in the growth of their business and provide detailed documentation to show significant business progress when needed. Thus, SUV applicants are anticipated to obtain a work permit to operate their business in Canada while waiting for their permanent residence application to be evaluated by IRCC.

Registering Your Children in Public Schools in British Columbia

Eligibility for Free Public Education in British Columbia

To be eligible for free public school education in BC, the parent and their children must be “ordinarily resident” in BC, as per section 82 of the School Act. If the parent holds a work permit, the permit should be valid for a minimum of a year, and they should be working at least 20 hours per week. The duration of the work permit issued by IRCC to SUV applicants can differ; sometimes, it may be less than a year. If the SUV applicant plans to move to BC with their dependent children, they should ensure that the work permit is granted for a minimum of a year to make their children eligible for public school education.


However, due to the newest improvement of the SUV program, the open work permit that the IRCC issues in the future could last for a maximum of 3 years. After the improvement, the SUV applicants and their families will find accessing free public school education in BC easier.


The documents necessary for enrolment include birth certificates, passports, a valid work permit for at least a year, and proof of address. If the parent’s work permit is less than a year, they need to establish that they are “ordinarily resident” for section 82 of the School Act. The term “ordinarily resident” is not defined in the Act.

According to the Ministry of Education and Childcare’s Policy, the applicant must show a regular, habitual lifestyle in the community with adequate continuity. The school board will consider several factors to determine whether the parent and their children ordinarily reside in BC. These include:

  • Ownership or long-term lease of a dwelling
  • Residence of spouse, children, and other dependent family members in the dwelling
  • Legal documents indicating BC residence
  • Provincial driver’s license
  • Local employment
  • Parent or guardian filing income tax returns as a BC resident
  • Provincial registration of an automobile
  • Canadian bank accounts or credit cards
  • Community connections through religious organizations, recreational and social clubs, unions, and professional organizations
  • Life or health insurance subscriptions like MSP coverage
  • business relationships within the community

Parents under the Canada SUV Program considering enrolling their children in BC’s free public schools should familiarize themselves with the eligibility criteria and the required documentation for a smooth enrolment process.

Furthermore, your children can access the higher-education institutions in BC and other provinces of Canada without a Study permit, which is a better way for your children to access high-quality education in Canada.

Eterna stands ready to assist SUV applicants in navigating these complexities and ensuring a smooth transition to Canadian residency and business success. For more information about the Canada SUV Program, visit HERE to learn about Eterna SUV service. As always, seeking expert advice tailored to your specific circumstances is essential.

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