Family Guidelines

Welcome to the Algoma University Homestay Program (AUHP)! As a host family for the AUHP, you play a vitally important role as you are the primary caregiver and support system for an international student who has made the decision to move to Canada to study and learn about Canadian culture.

This cross-cultural experience will be very rewarding and a wonderful chance for your family to learn about a different way of life because international students bring so much to your home. In return, your family will have the opportunity to share your own culture and language with your student.

Becoming a homestay host requires a commitment to providing a beneficial living experience to the visiting student as well as room and board. Homestay hosts are chosen for their keen interest in other cultures and for being able to provide a supportive environment to their students. Applicants may be a single person or a family unit, with or without children.

The mandate of the Algoma University Homestay Program is to provide safe, clean, comfortable, English speaking home for international students studying at Algoma U. The program reserves the right to choose hosts using this criteria and to remove hosts from the program who fail to continue to meet the criteria

Requirements for Homestay Hosts
  • Provide the student with a home environment that is safe and clean.
  • Provide three healthy meals a day:
  1. Breakfast and lunch materials to be provided for student to make their own meal.
  2. Dinner prepared by a host member.
  • Provide a fluent English-speaking environment.
  • Provide a private, comfortable bedroom for each student in an area which meets all safety requirements* (see below) and privacy considerations. This will include:
    1. A comfortable bed and bedding
    2. A dresser and mirror
    3. A desk
    4. A closet
  • Provide laundry facilities (including a washer and dryer) and instruction for use, as well as detergent:
    1. If the host is living in an apartment with shared laundry facilities or does not have laundry facilities, the host is required to pay laundry costs for the student.
  • Provide cleaning supplies for the student to keep their private living space clean.
  • Be open and honest, tolerant, and respectful in communicating with the student.
  • Pick up the student at their arriving point (airport, bus terminal, or train) and arrange for transportation for their departure.
  • Orient the student to Sault Ste. Marie, their neighbourhood, including matters such as public transportation, banking locations and procedures, nearby stores, and recreational facilities.
  • Allow the student full use of the household including telephone, television, and living areas. This includes helping the student understand appropriate use or time of use.
  • Provide high-speed Internet access in the student’s bedroom. Wireless is preferred.
  • Invite the student to join host and AUHP activities whenever possible, and help the student to feel at ease in your home.
  • Assist the student’s adjustment to Canada and encourage the student to learn about Canadian culture, lifestyle, activities, and family life.
  • Respect the rights, privacy, and culture of the student including religious and political beliefs.
  • Attend orientation or cultural training opportunities, as they are made available.
  • Ensure you have adequate home owner insurance in place.
Applications and Fees

Please complete and submit the online Family Application Form.

As part of the application procedure, your family will need to provide two references, be interviewed by the Homestay Coordinator, and undergo an AUHP Home Inspection.  In addition, a Level Three Police Criminal Record Check (PCRC), which includes a Vulnerable Sector Check, must be provided for all members of the household over the age of 18. This includes any friends and/or relatives who are staying long-term at your residence.

The cost for the PCRC is $40.00 CAD. If fingerprints are required, there will be an additional cost of $25.00 CAD.

For more information about PCRC, please visit the Sault Ste. Marie Police Services website.

Safety Requirements

Basement Bedrooms

The Ontario Fire Code ( stipulates that:

Any bedroom located in the basement must have one point of exit to the outside of your house on the same level. If you do not have a door (to the outside of your house) in the basement you must have one egress window that is accessible to your student. For the egress window to be compliant it must provide an unobstructed opening with a minimum area of 0.35m² (3.77ft²) and at the same time no horizontal or vertical dimension / opening can be less than 380mm (15”).

*Typical dimensions of windows meeting this requirement are: 920 mm x 380 mm (36.2 in x 15 in) or 592 mm x 592 mm (23.3 in x 23.3 in).

It is further recommended that the bottom of any egress window opening or sill not be higher than 1.5m (5ft) above the floor. If your window is higher than 1.5m (5ft) some means of built-in furniture below the window to assist in the event of an emergency is needed.

Smoke Alarms

Working, approved electrical smoke alarm (hard wired) or/approved battery-operated smoke alarm, properly installed, and within the expiry date of the product on every level of your home within 5m of any bedroom area [Ontario Fire Code, Effective March 1, 2006].

For homes built since 1987, if more than one smoke alarm is required, they are required to be electrically interconnected so that if one sounds they all sound.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Working approved CO alarms (or look for the CSA Blue Flame Mark), properly installed, and within the expiry date of the product, on each level of your home adjacent to any sleeping areas.

To find more information about protecting you, your family, and your homestay student from Carbon Monoxide poisoning, please visit the Carbon Monoxide Safety website.

Additional Information

Number of Students

  • Usually, a maximum of three students will be placed in an individual home.
  • We expect to be informed if a student from another homestay program is placed in your home at the same time as one of our students.


  • The homestay host will receive a $650.00 payment per month from Algoma University.
  • As part of the application process, the visiting student pays the first four months Homestay Fee to Algoma University, which is then paid to the host at the beginning of each calendar month.
  • If difficulties arise, and the student must be moved, the amount paid will be adjusted to reflect the date the student moves out of the home.
  • After four months, the visiting student and the parent will sign a new four-month contract.

Placement Adjustments

  • Please be advised that a student may be placed in a homestay but not arrive due to complications with Visa arrangements or other unforeseen circumstances. In such situations, the AUHP will try to place another student with the host.
  • Although we expect students to stay with the homestay host for the full term we cannot assume that the student will not choose to move out.
  • Students are requested, but not required by law, to give the host one month’s notice before leaving.


  • Neither the AUHP nor Algoma University is liable for:
    • Telephone bills.
    • Damages to the home or property.


  • Students are not expected to do household chores beyond cleaning up after themselves. However, participation in household routines such as clearing the table or shoveling the sidewalk would be considered good habits.
  • Students are not expected to supervise children.

Guidelines and Relationships

  • The AUHP has established guidelines for both visiting students and homestay hosts.
  • We do our best to match students and hosts and to facilitate good relationships between them.
  • The AUHP encourages hosts to keep open channels of communication with the student.
  • The Homestay Coordinator should be notified immediately of any problems between the student and the host, and request mediation if necessary.
  • The AUHP reserves the right to re-locate a student because of incompatibility. This will be done with consideration of all parties to the best of our abilities; however, it may happen without notice.

Homestay Space Need and Student Arrivals

  • The need for homestay spaces depends on the number of new students arriving for any given session at Algoma University.
  • New sessions begin in January, May, and September of each year.
  • Generally, students arrive two to seven days prior to the start of their program of studies.
  • Students may also arrive for Short-Term English Programs (STEP) mid-semester or during vacation periods.
  • Interested in hosting for a specific term?
    1. You are encouraged to submit your application at least two to three months prior to the start of that term.
    2. If you are informed that your application has been approved, we will do our best to place a student with you; however, we cannot guarantee that you will have a student placed in your home at any given time.
Other Considerations

In addition to meeting the general requirements for homestay as outlined in the Guidelines, homestay host applications will generally be processed in the order they are received, and taking into consideration the following factors:

  • Proximity to Algoma University (within walking distance, or on a direct bus route requiring no transfers).
  • Willingness to host male or female students.
  • Willingness to host a student from any country.
  • Any dietary practices/restrictions observed by either the homestay host and/or student.
  • Student allergies and/or preference to be in a home with or without pets.
  • Student preference to be in a home with or without children.
  • Homestay host or student smoking or non-smoking.
  • Any other specific requests from either homestay host and/or student.