New to Canada

welcome banner

This centre provides information and support services for parents and students who are new to Canada, or Ontario, and who are new to our school board.

If this is your first time attending school in Canada or Ontario, your first stop is the Welcome Centre.

Please book an appointment by calling the Welcome Centre
at 905-641-1550 Ext. 54152,
or email: 

International Students should contact:

Yuexin Wang 

Our Location:Welcome Centre for Newcomer Families
District School Board of Niagara
191 Carlton Street, St. Catharines, Ontario L2R 7P4
Tel: 905-641-1550 Ext. 54152

During a visit to the Welcome Centre you will receive:

  • bookThe DSBN Welcome Guide for Newcomer Parents. This guide explains all areas of public schooling from Kindergarten to Graduation. It is available in many different languages.
  • Information about our English as a Second Language Program
  • Support in making important decisions about your child’s future
  • Encouragement to maintain and develop student’s home language
  • A parent interview and student assessment that will decide what level of extra language support your child will need
  • Help from a settlement worker

Student Assessments


question "Why is an assessment necessary?" 

The purpose of an initial assessment is to determine the student’s level of English and mathematics skills. Based on the results, the teacher will recommend the best type of program.

questionWho needs to be assessed? 

  • Any student who is new to the DSBN and whose first language is not English
  • All students who attended schools where English was not the language of instruction
  • All international/VISA students (longer than 3 months) on study permit
  • Canadian born students who arrive at school with limited English
  • Any English language learner who is new to DSBN and who was receiving ESL support with a previous board

You should come to the Welcome Centre for an assessment (test) before you register at a school.
For more information on ESL Programs, please click here.

If you have already registered at a school, you may still come to the Welcome Centre for an assessment. The school will arrange this for you.

What to bring to the Welcome Centre passport


Newcomer Students (Non fee paying)

checkImmigration Documents proving status in Canada (i.e. refugee claimant I.D., Notice of Decision, Protected Person Status Document, Confirmation of Permanent Residence, Permanent Residence Card, Canadian Citizenship Card)

checkCustodial documents/Guardian letter (if applicable)

check Canadian Health Insurance 

check Immunization Records 

checkProof of Permanent Residence Application (Copy of application, proof of application fees paid, proof of mailing of letter from lawyer stating this has been done on family’s behalf)

checkPrevious school transcripts, if available 

Visa/International Students (Fee paying)

 checkCustodial documents from parents in home country and Canadian guardian for all students 18 years and younger (if parents are not in Canada)

checkStudy permit
checkValid passport
check Canadian Health Insurance
check Immunization records
check Tuition fees 
checkPrevious School transcripts, if available

For additional information about International Education, please click here.

question "What if I don’t have all of these documents?" 

Please call the Welcome Centre to speak with a Settlement Worker, or VISA/International Student Admissions, who can advise on how to acquire the required documents. 905-641-1550 ext. 54152