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Getting an English certificate for Bill 101 in Québec for Homeschooling Children: The Process & Eligibility

So, I had to try and obtain what I call an “English certificate” from Québec to be able to homeschool Little Bun in English.

Long story short, I wanted to send him to French school in Québec but because of COVID-19 fears, and that children and/or caregivers needed medical exemptions with VERY SPECIFIC health issues (e.g. lung disease, etc) were the only ones to be able to do schooling remotely.

I was out of luck unless I wanted to move back to Ontario and put him through schooling there, which was offered both in-school and remotely, but not in Québec. (WHY!)

So.. I guess I am homeschooling in English in Québec at least for Grade One.

The process was not as easy to understand. I’ll tackle getting the homeschooling portion first.

I am writing this guide only as a parent who found it stressful and difficult to navigate how to homeschool in English because of COVID-19.


It is your right as a parent, at any time, to take your child out and do homeschooling.

You must inform the government within 30 days of doing so, or before September 30th. Or if you take your kid out October 1st, you have to inform them within 30 days that you have done so, or face possible criminal charges for child neglect.

It is your right to homeschool but you cannot simply just take your child out and not inform anyone.


You have to fill in a form that states your intent to homeschool here.. and there is a great homeschooling overview, and FAQ on the whole homeschooling business.

After you fill in the form and email it, you have to create a learning plan.

In Québec, you must homeschool in French, unless you obtain the English Certificate / Exemption.

So in the form, if you are schooling in ENGLISH, you must check that you have the English exemption if you plan on schooling in English, but obviously, first you have to get the English exemption certificate (see my notes below).

The learning plan template is here to fill in.

You can then choose for evaluation, either you submit a body of work stating what your child did all year (assignments, exams, activities), or have a professional evaluate your child based on what they should have learned.

There’s a site called the AQED that helps homeschooling parents here, however if you want to become a member and obtain their templates for each grade, it’s $8 a month.

I just filled it in the way I thought it should be done. The less detail the better, the AQED suggests otherwise they will evaluate your child on EVERYTHING listed on there.


You must bring a bunch of documents, and they vary depending on what your status is as a Canadian resident or citizen is, your child’s status and eligibility.

Only very specific groups of people can obtain this exemption, everyone else must send their kids or homeschool in French.

Once you get the certificate, you have to renew the document yearly as well.

The eligibility standard requirements are all listed here for admissions of various flavours from Canadian residents, to parents who are just studying in Canada, to citizens, to immigrants, etc.

Look at which one you fall into / qualify for and then read the documents required, CAREFULLY.

With COVID-19 you must now make an appointment if you are a new registrant at this number:

(514) 483 – 7200 (extension 7254)

How to dial an extension:

Once you hear the speaker, just dial the extension 7254 to be transferred to make an appointment.

I was schooled in Ontario for all of elementary, high school and university

The only schools they care about for this eligibility are ELEMENTARY schools in this case. High schools/secondary schools and universities DO NOT APPLY.

Ontarians, also need at least FIVE YEARS in elementary schooling done in 100% English to qualify. The other provinces need only 4 years.

Also, If you did French immersion, you do not qualify for the certificate.

For the letter from the Ontario school board, you need to obtain an “OSR” (Ontario Student Record). Just search “OSR” for your school board, and see what they say in terms of how to get one.

It would also greatly help that your school board will write a letter stating CLEARLY that the language of instruction was done 100% in English.

The documents I had to bring were:

  1. Letter from my Ontario school board stating my grades, years I went to school, elementary schools I went to, and them clearly stating what percentage of my education was in English or French.
  2. My Canadian passport (birth certificate also qualifies), but they have to be ORIGINALS not copies
  3. My driver’s license or utility bill, or tax bill that showed my address in Québec with my name (cellphone bills do not qualify)
  4. My son’s birth certificate (the long one that shows both parents’ names NOT the one that shows the short one)
  5. My immigration papers to show the date I landed in Canada as a child (IM90)

They will photocopy and stamp all of these documents.


If you have applied to homeschool above, you must send the emailed Acknowledgement from the government or the “Accuse the réception” of the document of intent to homeschool to the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) via email to them.

(The form asks for the English Exemption certificate first, but we actually checked off we had it, knowing we’d get it, and then got the English Exemption afterwards within 2 weeks).

You must also send the learning plan that you have completed once it is done (September 30th is the deadline in most cases, or 30 days after you declare your Intent to Homeschool).

Good luck!


  • Tricia Lynn Rawnsley

    “In Québec, you must homeschool in French, unless you obtain the English Certificate / Exemption.”
    This is inaccurate. Homeschooling isn’t subject to Bill 101. A family CAN ABSOLUTELY homeschool in English without English eligibility, they just cannot alert & get resources from an English school board without eligibility.

  • Tracy

    There is an error in your info. Homeschooling can be done in the language of your choice in Quebec, no eligibility certificate needed. French can be taught as a second language.

  • Dublincalling

    Hi. From a discussion with some of my younger friends and former colleagues it appears that the private schools have implemented mandatory masks, temperature taking, erected physical barriers between each desk ie on three sides and of course their classes were already smaller to begin with from the average public school among other more stringent measures. I just saw a news brief showing how a specialized school in Sherbrooke (private) that has a specialized music program was able to come up with a very protected way of allowing the kids to play their musical instruments which are borrowed for the whole year. The same news show had parents of public schools in NDG asking why temperature taking was not mandatory for public schools among other things like making it obligatory for kids of all ages to wear masks. It also appears that the neglect in our public schools that has been allowed to accumulate over the years is a real issue as many schools have very poor ventilation systems or windows that cannot even open to let air circulate.
    This is just widening the gap between private schools and public schools and putting people at risk.
    I wish you the best for the homeschooling but from what I have read so far it looks like your son is quite advanced in many subjects already. Is he able to have virtual play dates via Skype with his friends from daycare or similar aged cousins etc? That would also be great to give you a brief break and give him increased interaction. Hope your IG situation resolves itself soon!

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      It’s frustrating that a private school thinks of all of these things ahead of time and we can’t take a page from their example and do it in public schools. It makes me think even more of children who are underprivileged and don’t go to private schools. We aren’t underprivileged but I did make a conscious choice to NOT put him in a private school partly for the fact that I did not think it was worth the value of the money at a younger age, but also that I wanted him to see what the rest of the world was like, and not be in a bubble.. or at least, that’s how I felt.

      I really feel quite strongly as you have said – the gap is widening. I even saw an article of children who don’t have money, trying to study by taking free wifi from Taco Bell because they were about to be evicted from their one-bedroom and didn’t even have the internet. Wow is all I can say.

      He’s pretty advanced – I do not need him to really learn much this year, except a few concepts, but I also don’t want it to be a wasted year.

      That’s a nice idea if he can maybe Skype with some family members or friends. The thing is, he doesn’t really have any friends. He didn’t make any from the daycares that he wanted to really do playdates with (I asked) and he is a bit of a lone wolf. The cousins are also much older than him, and not similarly-aged, except for the one in France.. I will definitely have to see if we can schedule something because it may be good for him to see some other kids, even just virtually.

      Thank you <3

  • Gail

    Wow–you are on top of this. In Canada can LB take a test to place him in 3rd or 4th grade or whatever he is ready for? That would be great.
    Good wishes. I think you will enjoy the process, too.

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I don’t really want him to go to a higher grade because of his age. I think being the same age might be socially more beneficial than always being younger and missing out on the same emotional developments everyone is going through, you know? I fear for that. I am just letting him learn what he wants to learn with very little pressure.

  • Gail

    You are ambitious. Does this mean you cannot accept any contracts in the whole coming school year, though? This is quite a commitment. You will do well, though. You know your child best, and he will be most enjoyable to teach being so very bright and interested. If I can predict, he will be beyond going to 2nd grade in a year. More decisions, but good ones. Good luck and admiration!

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Not at all. I will still be able to work from home.

      Truth be told, he doesn’t need Grade One or even Grade Two. I checked a few new school guidelines for learning and for math for instance, he only needs to do mental math with numbers totalling no more than 10.

      He already has started doing mental math with double-digits (e.g. 79 – 54) and even triple digits like (724 – 222), and has been testing himself there.

      The only thing I may falter on is the French part, and getting him to learn more French than eh knows now but he has self-started on his own with more apps in stories and is very eager to learn the similarities and differences between the languages.

      Then, maybe some provinces and territories with capital cities, and I will follow the current Grade One book we have, as ‘proof’ of his work / knowledge, and he will likely also get tested once he goes back to school.

      I know what he is missing on, and I just have to fill in the gaps this year, and add some more advanced pieces into the beginning of Grade Three for subjects he is very keenly interested in like Math and Coding.

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