The Ontario school year begins during the first week of September, finishes at the end of June and consists of a minimum of 194 school days. In some boards, there are schools that use a balanced calendar school year, meaning that the start and end dates are different than the norm and the blocks of time for instruction and vacation follow a different schedule. With the exception of province-wide holidays, Professional Activity days and vacation periods, students attend school from Monday to Friday.
A number of holidays, such as Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas, Easter Monday and Victoria Day are designated by the Ontario government as province-wide holidays. All publicly-funded schools are closed on these days.
Professional Activity days give teachers the time needed to develop and maintain their curriculum course work. Schools are closed on these days and students do not attend class. Each school in Ontario is entitled to the same number of Professional Activity days and school boards decide when they fall during the school year.
Each school year contains two major vacation periods. The first occurs within the second half of December, and lasts for approximately ten school days. The second vacation period, known as March Break, is a weeklong holiday in mid-March, designed to give both students and teachers time to prepare for the final few months of the school year. Dates for these holidays may vary in schools that use the balanced calendar school year.