The Family Program

There are 162 International students with a spouse and/or children in the ISA Family program at Memorial University. As with any changes in life, there are adjustments to be made. As a result, supports are available to assist international students arriving with their families to settle into a new home.

Drop by the ISA Office at Corte Real, Room 1000a to speak with the International Families Coordinator

The ISA Family Program can provide information on:

  • Family Health Care
  • Schools for Children
  • Daycares for Children
  • Family Tax Benefits
  • Work/Volunteer Opportunities for Spouses
  • ESL opportunities for Spouses
  • Local Community Supports and Services
  • Parenting Resources

Check out ISA Family Program video. See what other international student families are saying about life in St. John's.

1. Family Healthcare

Private Coverage

As a registered student, you are automatically covered by Memorial's Foreign Health Insurance Plan, however your dependents are not automatically covered under this plan. If your spouse and/or children are accompanying you to Canada, you can opt-in your dependents into the Foreign Health Insurance Plan by visiting the ISA office and completing an Opt-in form.

Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible to cancel your Foreign Health Insurance and transfer your health coverage to a student union plan if certain conditions are met.

Student union health insurance plans (MUNSU for undergraduate students and GSU for Graduate students) have different coverage than the Foreign Health Plan and are usually less expensive. For information about student health insurance plans, visit our health website. If you are covered by one of the student union health plans, you must contact them to find out how to Opt-in your dependents to their health plan.

Public Coverage - Medical Care Plan (MCP)

The program applies to any foreign individual issued an official study permit by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) before entering Canada. The student must be attending Memorial University for at least 12 months. The dependents of the student will also be covered under MCP, provided they are living in the province and have relevant documentation to support their application. The documents should be for a period of time of 12 months or greater. There is no coverage if less than 12 months. Coverage will become effective for eligible students and dependents on the date of full enrollment in full time studies at Memorial University.

For more information regarding MCP coverage, visit the Provincial Government of NL Department of Health and Community Services website.

2. Schools for Children

School Registration

The school year for children typically runs from September to June with children starting school at age 4 or 5 depending on their birth date. Schools within the St. John's area are represented by the Eastern Region of the Easten School District of Newfoundland and Labrador.

In order to enrol your child in school, you must contact the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District. You will be referred to the principal of a particular school in the area you reside. You should begin the enrolment process of your child as soon as you arrive in St. John's.

For your interview with the school principal, you may be requested to bring

  • your child's school records (translated in English if necessary)
  • proof of your child's age - a birth certificate (translated in English if necessary) or passport
  • medical information or immunization documents for your child (translated in English if necessary)
  • proof of address (copy of a bank statement, telephone bill or lease/rental agreement with your name and address
  • your visa and study permit

The principal will inform you of the exact documents you are required to provide.

Immigration Information for Minor Children to Study

For information, visit the Citizenship and Immigrtaion Canada website at

3. Child Care

The Childcare Centre at Memorial University offers on-campus child care in four program areas:

  • Toddler Centre (age 2)
  • Full-time pre-school (ages 3 - 6)
  • Part-time (ages 3 - 6)
  • Activity Centre for school-aged children (ages 5 - 12)

You should register you child as soon as you arrive at Memorial University as waitlist times can vary with each program. For more information, visit the Memorial University Childcare website.

Other Childcare Options

There are many other daycare facilities in St. John's. Typically, a daycare centre can charge between $30 - $60 per day, depending on your child's age and type of care required. Most daycares do not care for children under the age of 2 so check age requirements. It is recommended that you research several daycare centres to compare fees.

You can search for other daycares in the Yellow Pages of the phone book under Childcare services. You can search for Pre-schools under Schools-Academic-Nursery & Kindergarten.

Licensed childcare service providers must meet certain standards for staff training, facilities and programs. For more information about the provincial standards and helpful tips on how to find childcare, visit the Provincial Government of NLwebsite on Childcare services.

4. Family Tax Benefits

As a parent in Canada, you may be eligible to receive tax benefits after you have been in Canada for 18 months.

Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB)

The CCTB is a tax-free, monthly payment made to eligible families to help them with the cost of raising children (under the age of 18). The benefit amount is calculated using information provided on annual income returns. The benefit amount can be readjusted during the year in cases of change in family size or martial status.
For international student families to be eligible , you must:

  • be the primary caregivers of a child under age 18
  • be a temporary resident who has lived in Canada for 18 months and has valid permit in the 19th month

For further information regarding application and eligibility, visit the Canada Revenue Agencywebsite.

Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB)

The UCCB is a taxable, $100 monthly payment to families for each child under the age of six to help cover the cost of childcare. This benefit helps you pay for whatever childcare method you choose, including a nanny, baby-sitter, childcare centre, or a stay-at-home parent, no matter the cost.
Families already receiving the CCTB will automatically receive the UCCB. For further information regarding application and eligibility, visit the Service Canadawebsite.

5. Parenting Resources

Helpful links

Blog - St. John's Mom

Brighter Futures

Canadian Association of Family Resource Programs

Canadian Family Magazine

Children's Safety Association of Canada

Daybreak Parent Child Centre

Dietitians of Canada

Eastern School District of Newfoundland and Labrador

Healthy Canadians - Kids' Health and Safety

Life Literacy Canada

Parents Canada

Parents Matter

Public Health Canada - Child Health

Transport Canada - Child Safety

Today's Parent

6. Support for Spouses

Work and Volunteer Opportunities for Spouses

Spousal Open Work Permit

For information, visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canadawebsite.


Your spouse will need a resume to look for work in Canada and information regarding resume format and content is available.

Where are the Jobs?

Looking for a job can be stressful, especially in a new country. These websites list part time and full time job opportuntities that require a variety of skill and education levels.


This is a great way meet people, become familiar with the community and develop skills to include on a resume. Information regarding volunteering opportunities can be found on campus at the Student Volunteer Bureau or the Community Sector Council of Newfoundland and Labrador.

ESL Opportunities for Spouses

  • While you are busy with your studies, there are several opportunities (that are free) for your spouse to improve their English skills.
  • The Association for New Canadians (ANC) offers free evening classes to eligible newcomers. There are two types of classes available. The first is Clear Speech Concepts which helps those individulas with Englsh language fluency with accent reduction and pronounciation. The second class are the ESL classes in which individuals are assessed in one of three classes - Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced.
  • Refugee and Immigrant Advisory Council Inc. (RIAC) offers free English as a Second Language (ESL) classes on Mondays and Thursdays evenings. Everyone is free to join and no registration is required. Also offered is the Conversation Partner Program. It pairs those wishing to practice their English with someone who is fluent in English. This is a flexible program where both partners can chose when to meet, where to meet and how often they meet.
  • Teachers on Wheels is an adult literacy organization operating primarily in St. John's and the surrounding areas.
  • Through one-to-one tutoring with trained volunteer tutors, they aim to provide adults with a good educational alternative to the more traditional classroom setting. Lessons take place at times and locations convenient to the two.
  • Services are best suited to individuals with basic English skills. For more information, contact Tom Dawe at 738-3975 regarding eligibility and assessment.


Internationalization Office

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000