The Ontario Secondary School
Diploma (OSSD)

The achievement of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) is what our students are aiming for. The OSSD and the student’s final transcript is what will allow them to gain admission to universities and colleges worldwide. In order to achieve the Ontario Secondary School Diploma, students must successfully complete a total of 30 credits (18 of which are compulsory and 12 that are electives), the Ontario Literacy Test and 40 hours of community service. A credit is passing (50% and above) a 110-hour course.


30 Credits

Of the 30 credits that are required for graduation, 18 are compulsory and are shown below

4 English (1 per grade)

3 Math

1 Health and Physical Ed.

0.5 in Civics

2 Science

1 Arts

1 French

1 Canadian History

1 Canadian Geography

0.5 in Career Studies

  • + 1 additional credit in English, or a third language*, or Social Sciences and the Humanities, or Canadian and World Studies, or Guidance and Career Education, or Cooperative Education**
  • + 1 additional credit in health and physical education, or the arts, or business studies, or cooperative education**
  • + 1 additional credit in science (Grade 11 or 12), or technological education, or computer studies, or cooperative education**
  • + 2 (at least) online learning credits
12 elective credits

The elective courses will be selected from Canadian Independent College’s course offerings based on the Ontario Ministry of Education curriculum.

  • * A maximum of 3 credits in ESL or ELD may be counted towards the 4 compulsory credits in English but the 4th must be a credit for a Grade 12 compulsory English course.
  • **A maximum of 2 credits in cooperative education can count as compulsory credits.
  • ***The 12 optional credits may include up to 4 credits earned through approved dual credit courses.

The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test

The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) is the usual method for assessing the literacy skills of students in Ontario for the purpose of determining whether they meet the provincial secondary school literacy requirement for graduation. The test thus identifies students who have demonstrated the required skills in literacy; as well as those who have not demonstrated the required skills and will need to do further work. The test identifies the specific areas in which these latter students need remediation. The test is scheduled by and administered through the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) once each year, usually in the spring. Please click on the links to view practice for the OSSLT.

The power point presentation link below was
created by St. Mary’s High School in Kitchener, Ontario

Community Service

Click Here to download a form that you must used to track your hours.

As stated in Ontario Secondary Schools, Grades 9 to 12: Program and Diploma Requirements, every student must complete a minimum of 40 hours of community involvement activities as part of the requirements for an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). Effective July 1, 2011, students are able to start accumulating community involvement hours in the summer before they enter grade 9.

The purpose of the community involvement requirement is to encourage students to develop awareness and understanding of civic responsibility and of the role they can play and the contributions they can make in supporting and strengthening their communities.The work to fulfill this requirement can begin at any time after a student enters grade nine. These activities must be completed outside scheduled class time; they must not be part of a credit course; they must be unpaid activities; they must total a minimum of forty hours; and they must be completed by the end of grade twelve.

The Ministry of Education has developed a list of activities that may not be chosen as community involvement activities and that are therefore ineligible activities. An ineligible activity is an activity that:

  • Is a requirement of a class or course in which the student is enrolled (e.g. Cooperative Education, job shadowing, work experience).
  • Takes place during school hours, except during the student’s lunch break or spare periods.
  • Takes place in a logging or mining environment, if the student is under 16.
  • Takes place in a factory, if the student is under 15.
  • Takes place in a workplace other than a factory, if the student is under 14 and is not accompanied by an adult.
  • Would normally be performed for wages by a person in the workplace.
  • Involves the operation of a vehicle, power tools, or scaffolding (eg. snow blower, power mower, hedge trimmers, etc.)
  • Involves the administration of any type or form of medication or medical procedure to other persons.
  • Involves the handling of substances classed as “designated substances” under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (eg. asbestos, lead, dangerous chemicals, toxic materials, etc).
  • Requires the knowledge of a tradesperson whose trade is regulated by the provincial government.
  • Involves banking or the handling of securities, or the handling of jewellery, works of art, antiques, or other valuables.
  • Consists of duties normally performed in the home or personal recreational activities.
  • Involves activities for a court-ordered program (e.g. community-service program for young offenders, probationary program).

Additional Ineligible Activities:

In addition to those that the Ministry of Education has listed the following are ineligible:

  • Any activity that provides direct financial benefit or gain to the students or to the student’s immediate family.
  • Any association with an organization or an organizational activity that does not comply with the ethical standards, policies, procedures and regulations of the Ministry of Education and Canadian Independent College.
  • Simple membership in a school or community club.


The following guiding principles, read in conjunction with the list of the ineligible activities, are intended to assist the student and parents/guardians to determine whether a planned activity is within an approved area for the completion of the community involvement requirement:

  • An event or activity designed to be of benefit to the community;
  • An event or activity to support a not-for-profit agency, institution or foundation that conforms to the ethical standards of Canadian Independent College and the Ministry of Education;
  • Any structured program that promotes tutoring, mentoring, visiting or coaching, orwhose purpose is to assist others who require the benefit of that assistance;
  • Participation in an event or activity that supports ethical work of a global nature;
  • Participation in an event or activity that promotes positive environmental awareness;
  • Participation in an event or activity that contributes to the health and well-being ofany ethical group that conforms to the community standards of morality and conduct, including school-based activities;
  • Participation in an event or activity affiliated with a club, religious organization, arts or cultural association, or political organization that seeks to make a positive and ethical contribution in the community.

Where an event or activity does not clearly fall within the guidelines, the Principal of the student’s school has the discretion to approve or reject any activity or event that does not conform to the guiding principles and ethical standards for approved areas of involvement for students.

Specific Areas of involvement may include:

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