1. Students are expected to attend a minimum of 85% of their regularly scheduled classes.
  2. Students are responsible for reporting all absences to the school before the absence, or on the day of the absence. Unreported absences will be considered as a failure to comply and will be subject to Academic Penalty and / or Dismissal.
  3. Students are responsible for any homework, tests or assignments missed during their absence(s). It is at the teacher’s discretion whether or not make-up tests or assignments are accepted, and they MUST be requested accompanied by a doctor’s note.
  4. Attendance is recorded daily by the student’s teacher and submitted to the Academic Director weekly. If a student misses more than three (3) consecutive days, the absences are reported to the Academic Director immediately. If a student has failed to notify the school of their absence(s) within three days, the student will be contacted by the Academic Director, who will issue a
    1st warning advising the student that they will require special permission in order to return to their regularly scheduled classes. It is at the discretion of the Academic Director whether the student is allowed to return to class.
  5. If a student continues to be absent without notifying the school, a warning will be issued every three (3) business days for up to a maximum of three (3) warnings. After the student’s third warning, a Letter of Dismissal will be issued to the student and CIC will be notified.
  6. All warnings will be added to the student’s record and a copy made available to their agent (if applicable).
  1. Students are expected to be on time for the start of each lesson (including after breaks).
  2. Late arrivals are considered as an absence from that particular class.
  3. Three late arrivals constitute a full day absence and subject to the same warning system and penalties as Attendance.

If a student needs to take time off from their studies, the following Vacation Policy terms and conditions apply:

  1. All vacation requests must be submitted, in writing, at least two weeks in advance and must be a minimum of one week in duration, but no longer than four weeks, and must run from Monday to Thursday or Monday to Friday according to the student’s program. Mid-week to mid-week requests will not be approved.
  2. Vacation requests for longer than four weeks must receive special approval from the Academic Director. Students will be required to re-write the placement test if their vacation lasts more than four weeks.
  3. No refunds are issued for the tuition equalling the vacation time. Extensions to the student’s study time for vacation time taken are subject to availability and at the discretion of GILA.

All students will receive a final transcript on their last day of class. However, in order to receive a Certificate of Completion, you MUST first meet all minimum requirements. Please be aware of our Attendance and Punctuality Policies.


In order to ensure equal fairness to all students and the wholeness of the GILA programs, students are responsible for:

  1. Attending a minimum of 85% of their classes.
  2. Being punctual.
  3. Completing all assigned homework and any other criteria stipulated by their teachers.
  4. Refraining from talking or copying during test times.
  5. Being respectful of other students.
  6. Taking responsibility for their own learning and success.
  7. Demonstrating a genuine interest in being an active participant in their learning experience.
  8. Submitting original works that have not been copied or completed by others; copying work from either a published source or another student is considered plagiarism and is strictly forbidden. Students who are caught cheating, copying or plagiarising will
    automatically be awarded a score of 0 and are subject to a Disciplinary Meeting with the Academic Director. A Disciplinary Action Report will be added to the student’s file.
  9. A student who accumulates three (3) Disciplinary Action Reports is subject to dismissal from GILA.
  1. If a student is not in agreement with a grade that has been awarded, they must first bring their disagreement before their teacher, providing justification for their disagreement. Their teacher will make every attempt to consider the student’s appeal and reach a fair solution.
  2. If an agreement is not reached between the student and their teacher, the student can escalate their request by reporting to the Academic Director.
  3. The Academic Director will review the student’s original grade, consult with the student and their teacher and make their best attempt to reach a resolution. A resolution may include, but is not limited to:
    a) A re-evaluation of the original grade
    b) Special permission granted to rewrite the test or assignment
  4. Students have up to 5 business days to begin the Dispute Resolution process.
  5. Once an agreement has been achieved and the student agrees, the resolution is considered final and cannot be re-appealed.
  6. A copy of the Dispute Resolution will be added to the student’s file.

Students must be 18 years + and eligible to study in Canada on their first day at GILA. Students must be capable of functioning in an academic environment. Programming admission requirements may not be waived by the student or the institution. Please note that GILA operates in a Vancouver Heritage Building, we are not wheelchair accessible.
All students under the age of 19 are required to book homestay accommodation for the entire duration of their program. Custodianship can be secured through “Cypress Accommodations” in these instances.


GILA believes in the right of every individual to have access to educational services. We ask that you provide us with any special needs’ requests during the application process, so that we can assess your situation accordingly. After reviewing your request, we will make all reasonable efforts to accommodate your circumstances. GILA reserves the right to refuse admission to applicants whose needs cannot be adequately catered to through reasonable efforts by our team.

Please be advised that despite our best intentions, we are limited by our school’s location and designation in Vancouver as a “Heritage Building”. As such, we are unable to modify the building for the purpose of adding accessible entry and exits for wheelchair bound individuals.

If a special needs case arises after the student’s acceptance at the school, GILA will take the appropriate action after discussion with the student and his or her parent/guardian/sponsor. If GILA is unable to make reasonable adjustments necessary to accommodate the student, GILA will make reasonable efforts to find a substitute provider that can tend to the student’s circumstances.

Disclosure of Information: Any information students choose to disclose to GILA regarding special needs will be held in strict confidence. If, for the purposes of accommodating the student, GILA is required to disclose such confidential information to the appropriate parties, GILA will first obtain the student’s consent for such disclosure.


At GILA we always encourage students to speak English on our school campus, during activities and in accommodation. Instructors and staff will use English as the language of communication with all students (except in counseling situations and in case of emergencies).
Students are asked to please respect their fellow students that come from all over the world to learn English here by following the English Only policy, as it’s the only way they will be able to get the maximum benefit from their program.


Students are reminded that their fellow students may not be from the same cultural background as they are. Therefore, everyone should be respected equally. If a student experiences a problem with someone, they must let one of the staff know immediately and a solution will be found. They should also remember to respect all staff and teachers equally, as they are here to help in any way possible. All students are encouraged to ask questions; our faculty and staff are always available to help.


Please be advised that under Section 61 of the Private Training Act, the Registrar is authorized to collect, use and disclose personal information in accordance with the Registrar’s regulatory duties under the Act. Accordingly, this institution is authorized to disclose your personal information to the Registrar for regulatory purposes. GILA will maintain student information both via paper records and the Cloud in order to store and protect students’ historical records. GILA will not disclose and/or share student information with any third parties, with the exception of the Cloud-based software, which will be used for the sole purpose of protecting and storing such information.


Every student is responsible for ensuring that they have legal status that allows them to study in Canada. GILA is not responsible for ensuring visa processing, extensions, or new visa applications for students. All students are responsible for overseeing their own visa processes. In addition to this, GILA cannot provide legal advice to students on IRCC processes, rules and regulations. Students must refer to the IRCC website or speak with a registered immigration consultant. Additional information can be found on the IRCC website at:


Students are required by law to have medical insurance while staying or travelling throughout Canada. It is highly recommended that students purchase medical insurance prior to their arrival in Canada. In the rare instance where a student is not able to secure health insurance in their home country, insurance may be purchased through Gastown International Language Academy (GILA). GILA is not responsible for any sickness, injury or loss of limbs incurred on school premises, during school activities, tours or in affiliated homestays.
Note: proof of medical insurance is required if purchased independently. Without proof of medical insurance, students will not be allowed to attend classes or participate in GILA organized tours/activities and/or those arranged through a 3rd party provider.


GILA will provide students with a Letter of Acceptance when the non-refundable Registration Fee of CAD$150 plus a tuition deposit of CAD$1,500 is received. If a student’s length of study is longer than six months, 50% of their tuition is due two (2) weeks prior to the start of classes with the remainder payable and due at the start of the second half of their program. Tuition for all classes less than 6 months in length is due in full, 2 weeks prior to the start of lessons.

The accepted methods of payment at GILA are: Wire Transfers, Debit, Major Credit Cards and Cash.

  1. The mandatory Registration Fee of CAD$150 is non-refundable.
  2. If GILA receives tuition from the student, or a person on behalf of the student, the institution will refund to the student, or the person who paid on behalf of the student, the tuition that was paid in relation to the program in which the student is enrolled if:
    a. the institution receives a notice of withdrawal from the student no later than seven days after the effective contract date and before the contract start date;
    b. the student, or the student’s parent or legal guardian, signs the student enrollment contract seven days or less before the contract start date and the institution receives a notice of withdrawal from the student between the date the student, or the student’s parent or legal guardian, signed the student enrollment contract and the contract start date;
    c. the student does not attend a work experience component and the institution does not provide all of the hours of instruction of the work experience component within 30 days of the contract end date.
  3. GILA will refund the tuition for the program and all related fees paid by the student, or a person on behalf of the student, enrolled in the program if the student is enrolled in the program without having met the admission requirements and did not misrepresent his or her knowledge or skills when applying for admission.
  4. If a student does not attend any of the first 30% of the hours of instruction to be provided during the contract term, GILA may retain up to 50% of the tuition paid under the student enrollment contract, unless the program is provided solely through distance education.
  5. If GILA receives a notice of withdrawal from a student:
    a. more than seven days after the effective contract date and
        i.) at least 30 days before the contract start date, the institution may retain up to 10% of the tuition due under the student enrollment contract, to a maximum of $1,000.
        ii.) less than 30 days before the contract start date, the institution may retain up to 20% of the tuition due
    under the student enrollment contract, to a maximum of $1,300.
    b. after the contract start date
        i.) and up to and including 10% of the hours of instruction to be provided during the contract term have been provided, the institution may retain up to 30% of the tuition due under the student enrollment contract.
        ii.) and after 10% but before 30% of the hours of instruction to be provided during the contract term have been provided, the institution may retain up to 50% of the tuition due under the student enrollment contract.
  6. If GILA provides a notice of dismissal to a student and the date the institution delivers the notice to the student is:
    a. equal to or before 10% of the hours of instruction to be provided during the contract term have been provided, the institution may retain up to 30% of the tuition due under the student enrollment contract.
    b. after 10% but before 30% of the hours of instruction to be provided during the contract term have been provided, the institution may retain up to 50% of the tuition due under the student enrollment contract.
  7. GILA will refund fees charged for course materials paid for, but not received, if the student provides a notice of withdrawal to the institution or the institution provides a notice of dismissal to the student.
  8. Refunds required under this policy will be paid to the student, or a person who paid the tuition or fees on behalf of the student, within 30 days:
    a. of the date GILA receives a student’s notice of withdrawal,
    b. of the date GILA provides a notice of dismissal to the student,
    c. of the date that the registrar provides notice to GILA that the institution is not complying with section 1(c) or 2 of this policy, or
    d. after the first 30% of hours of instruction if section 3 of this policy applies.
  9. If an international student delivers a copy of a refusal of a visa to GILA, sections 2 (a), 2 (b), 5, 7 and 8 of this policy apply as if the copy of the refusal were a notice of withdrawal, unless the international student requests an additional letter of acceptance for the same program that was the subject of the refusal of a visa.
  10. A bank transaction fee of $50 will be deducted from all refunds sent by International Wire Transfer.

Students are expected to obey all Canadian laws and policies. These rules apply to all students while they are in British Columbia and at GILA (school + activities + accommodation).

Alcohol: In the province of British Columbia, the legal drinking age is 19. If a minor student is caught drinking, under the influence or in possession of alcohol, the police can be notified, as well as the student’s parents. Depending on the severity, the student may be sent back to their home country. It is also illegal to purchase alcohol for anyone under 19.
Tobacco: In the province of British Columbia, the legal age for buying tobacco products is 19. It is illegal to purchase tobacco products for anyone who is under 19.
Drugs: Drugs are not tolerated and are a serious offence in Canada. Police will be contacted if students are caught using, under the influence, or in possession of any illegal drugs. Students may be subject to fines, arrest or deportation by local authorities.
Marijuana: In the province of British Columbia, the legal age for buying marijuana products is 19 years old and all the rules for alcohol also apply for marijuana.
Fake Identification: If a minor is caught in possession of a fake ID, the student’s parents and authorities will be notified immediately and the minor will be sent back to their home country. Fraud is illegal in Canada.


Every student at GILA, no matter their age, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity, has a right to freedom from sexual violence and misconduct and the right to a secure and safe learning environment. GILA will not tolerate any form of bullying, harassment, discrimination, sexual misconduct or sexual violence under any circumstances. This applies to both verbal and physical interaction, interpersonal and electronic communications (touch, email, texts, handwritten notes, photographs and videos).

GILA takes bullying, harassment, discrimination and sexual misconduct very seriously. GILA has adopted this anti-bullying, antiharassment, anti-discrimination policy to ensure ethical and respectful employment practices and treatment for all students and employees of the institution alike. The objective of this policy is to provide and create a climate of understanding where each person feels safe and a part of the GILA community. GILA has a zero-tolerance policy for harassment or bullying.

Procedure to handle situations of abuse:

  • If a student is or is a witness to an instance of harassment, they must inform the Academic Director immediately.
  • All complaints will be treated with sensitivity and confidentiality.
  • Complaints will be resolved as quickly as possible.
  • All parties involved will be treated impartially.
  • Confidentiality will be maintained to preserve the dignity and self-respect of everyone involved and to protect all parties against any unsubstantiated claims.
  • Confidentiality does not equate with anonymity; the person being accused of harassment, bullying or sexual misconduct has the right to know the identity of the person making the complaint.
  • In extreme cases, GILA reserves the right to call in authorities.

Every student has the right to learn in a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment and every member of the staff and faculty is entitled to the same. To maintain the integrity of the school and programming, all members of the student body, teaching and administrative teams are required to adhere to the GILA Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct consists of a set of acceptable behaviours that are to be observed and practiced by all. They include showing respect for oneself and others by:

  • Acting in a safe manner and ensuring the safety of others.
  • Actively participating in lessons and activities
  • Being on time and maintaining regular attendance.
  • Adhering to all federal and provincial laws.
  • Always applying one’s best effort.
  • Be accepting of individuals regardless of age, colour, heritage, physical or mental disability, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, identity or expression.
  • Resolving conflict through peaceful means.
  • Refraining from consuming or being under the influence of any alcohol and cannabis on the school’s property.
  • Respecting the privacy and property of others.
  • Using school property in the manner it was intended for and following guidelines for use.

Students are expected to meet and adhere to the GILA Code of Conduct at all times while completing their course of study. Students who violate the Code of Conduct will be subject to the following procedures and disciplinary actions from the school. If students are unclear, they should seek advice from the Academic Director and/or other GILA staff.


  1. All concerns relating to student misconduct shall be directed to the Academic Director. Concerns may be brought forward from students, staff as well as the public.
  2. The Academic Director will arrange to meet with the student(s) to discuss the concern(s) within 5 school days of being notified of the complaint. If the conduct is serious in nature, an immediate dismissal may be warranted. The Academic Director will meet with the student as soon as possible. *
  3. Following the meeting with the student, the Academic Director will conduct further inquiry or investigation necessary to determine whether the concerns are substantiated.
  4. Any investigations will be conducted within 5 school days of the initial meeting with the student.
  5. The Academic Director will meet with the student and do one of the following:
       –  Determine the concern(s) were unsubstantiated
       –  Determine the concern(s) were substantiated, in whole or partially, and either:
          A) give the student a warning and establish consequences for further misconduct; or
          B) set a probationary period with appropriate conditions; or
          C) dismiss the student from GILA.
  6. The Academic Director will report all findings to the Executive Director and will prepare a written summary of the situation and verdict. A copy will be placed in the student’s file and a copy will be provided to the student.
  7. If the student is issued a warning or placed on probation, the Academic Director and the student will both sign the written warning or probationary conditions and the student will be given a copy. The original document will be placed in the student’s file.
  8. If the recommendation is to dismiss the student, the Executive Director of the institution will review the recommendation and accept or reject it. If the recommendation is accepted by the Executive Director, the Academic Director will meet with the student to dismiss them from their studies at GILA and will deliver to the student a letter of dismissal and calculation of refund and/or tuition owing, as outlined in GILA’s Tuition and Refund Policy.
  9. If a refund is due to the student, GILA will ensure that a refund is forwarded within 30 days of the dismissal date.
  10. If the student owes tuition or other fees to GILA, GILA may seek to collect the amount owing.
 *Sexual assault, physical assault or other violent acts committed on or off campus against any student or staff, verbal abuse or threats, vandalism of school property and theft will result in immediate dismissal without a warning letter or probationary period, and police will be summoned, as required.

Gastown International Language Academy reserves the right to take and produce images of students be it in the confines of the school or through many of the extracurricular activities offered through GILA. During activities or school events, GILA’s staff and partners may take many photos to be published in our brochures, website, social media and other marketing materials as needed.

Students will be asked to sign a Photo/Activity Release on their first day (some activities will require an additional waiver). This photo and activity release grants Gastown International Language Academy and its affiliates, the right to reproduce, use, exhibit, display, broadcast, distribute and create derivative works of photographic images which may be taken during attendance at the school, for use in connection with the activities of the school or for promoting , publicizing or explaining the school or its activities. If you do not wish to be photographed, please indicate this to our staff members on or before your first day of classes.

Signing of the Photo Release Policy inherently allows and includes, GILA, without limitation, the right to publish such images in the school’s PR/promotional materials, such as social media, marketing admissions, publications, advertisements, fund-raising materials and any other school-related publications. These images may appear in any of the wide variety of formats and media now available to the school and that may be available in the future, including but not limited to print, broadcast, videotape, websites, podcasts and other electronic/online media. 

If a student does not wish to have their images reproduced in any capacity, either at the school or associated activities, a staff member should be advised. If any of the student’s images appears without their consent, they must alert a staff member and the image will be removed.

Additionally, this waiver covers all activities provided by Gastown International Language Academy, as described in the school brochures or other materials, or as may be offered from time to time by the school and its employees or representatives.

Please refer to the following in conjunction with signing the activity release form:

  1. That many of the school activities require a certain degree of skill and physical fitness and that participating in such activities exposes students to certain risks of accident or injury.
  2. As part of the activity release, any and all claims are waived, both in present and future, against the school, its employees and representatives. This does not include any claims as a result of wrongful, negligent or unauthorized act or omission on the part of the school or its employees.
  3. The school, its employees, and representatives will be released from any and all liability for any loss, damage, expense, personal injury or death, that students may suffer or that heirs, next of kin, executors, administrators, families or representatives may suffer as a result of any cause, condition or event whatsoever beyond the direct control of the school.
  4. This waiver shall be effective and binding upon the next of kin, executors, administrators, families or representatives in the event of death or incapacity.
  5. This policy shall be governed by and interpreted in accordance with the laws of the Province of British Columbia

If a student cancels an overnight tour:

  • More than 30 days in advance for tours that are 2-3 days in duration, a full refund will be applied minus a $50 nonrefundable administrative fee per passenger. If the student cancels within 30 days prior to departure, the tour is 100% non-refundable.
  • More than 60 days in advance for tours 4+ days in duration, a full refund will be applied minus a $50 non-refundable administrative fee per passenger. If the student cancels within 60 days prior to departure, the tour is 100% nonrefundable.

If a student cancels a day tour:

  • More than 14 days in advance, a full refund will be applied minus a $25 non-refundable administrative fee per passenger.
  • Within 14 days prior to departure, the tour is 100% non-refundable.

If a student fails to show up at the meeting spot on time and misses the tour, no refund will be issued. Students are asked to please check the map and transit schedule well in advance to ensure that they can get to the meeting spot on time.


The homestay program is provided by “Cypress Accommodations”.

Placement Fee: This mandatory non-refundable fee covers the expense of finding a suitable host family for each student. The fee also includes any necessary pre and post-arrival counseling. The Placement Fee must be paid during the registration process. If an international student delivers a copy of a refusal of a visa to GILA thirty (30) days prior to the start of the course, the Placement Fee will be refunded.

Homestay Month: A month is defined as a four (4) week period resulting in twenty-eight (28) days. All homestay periods less than twenty-eight (28) days will be calculated on a daily basis. Any homestay period that exceeds twenty-eight (28) days will also be calculated on a daily basis. Students are welcome to arrive on Saturday or Sunday before their program begins and depart on Saturday or Sunday after their program finishes. If students are planning to arrive during the week (Monday to Friday), they need to check availability first.

Grace Period: After arriving, students will have one (1) week of experience in the homestay. Students are contacted during their first week to see how they are doing, though of course they are welcome to contact Cypress Accommodations at any time. If anything does not match the Cypress Accommodations Quality Standards and rules, students must inform the Homestay Department in the first week; otherwise they will not be able to move until the end of the first four (4) week period. Changing homestays will be discussed with the student on an individual basis and the final decision is at Cypress Accommodations’ discretion. Please note that students will receive an invitation to participate in Cypress Accommodations orientation. This is part of the Grace Period follow up and attendance is mandatory.

Change in Homestay: If there is a change in the homestay, the fee will be calculated according to the number of days (if less than 28 days) and the remainder of the homestay fee will be paid to the new homestay family.

Homestay Refund Policy: The first four (4) weeks are non-refundable. Any request for a refund of unused homestay fees must be made within six (6) months of leaving the program. Any refunds not claimed during that period will be forfeited to Cypress Accommodations. To get a full homestay refund, we require four (4) weeks’ notice for cancellations. A $ 115 cancellation fee is added to any cancellation request.

Homestay Payment Policy: Students are required to pay in full for their homestay accommodation within six (6) weeks prior to their program start date. Homestay is only guaranteed once total payment is received.

Homestay Extension Policy: Please note that when a student has booked accommodation for a shorter duration than their study period, we cannot guarantee that this same accommodation will be available if they choose to extend after they arrive. Our families are very popular and have limited availability. If the student wishes to extend his/her stay in the homestay, it is his/her responsibility to inform Cypress of that. We will contact the host family and check if the room is still available; if it is, the student must make the payment for the next period not less than seven days before the current homestay period expires. If the payment is not made within this period, a late fee of 1% per day over the total Homestay fee will be applied until the payment is made. Students must move out the day their Homestay expires.

Students who have pre -paid for their accommodation, have booking priority, even if they have not yet arrived in the country. If an extension in the same homestay is possible by cancelling a future booking, a replacement fee of CAD$ 115 will be charged to the current guest. Replacement decisions are at Cypress Accommodations’ discretion. If a student decides to extend and the same home is available, a CAD$ 12.50 admin fee per week is charged.

Homestay Date Change: A change fee of $ 50 will apply. If there is a change in the date that affects the current invoice issued, the current fee at the time of the arrival/year, will apply.

Homestay Location: If a student’s school is located in downtown Vancouver, they may be placed up to sixty (60) minutes from their school address. Please note that the commute time is based on regular school hours and does not include possible delays such as traffic, accidents on the road and construction disruptions.


All students under the age of 19 are required to book homestay accommodation for the entire duration of their program. Custodianship can be secured through “Cypress Accommodations” in these instances. A Custodianship fee of CAD$130 must be paid during the registration process.


Vancouver is located in an active earthquake region that could be impacted by an earthquake at any moment and without any warning.
How students can protect themselves during an earthquake:
If indoors, stay indoors – do not run outside during an earthquake. The ground is moving, which can result in a fall and injury due to debris or glass on the ground. At the same, glass, bricks, and other building materials may be falling. It is important to stay calm, and do not panic.
The best way to protect oneself during an earthquake is to immediately “drop, cover, and hold on”.

  1. Drop — Drop to the ground
  2. Cover — Take cover, by getting under a sturdy desk or table
  3. Hold on — Grab the legs of a desk or table, and hold on until the shaking stops

If there is no table or desk nearby, students should not try to run to another room to get under a table. Instead, they should stay where they are, cover their face and head with their arms, and crouch in an inside corner of the room. It is also important to stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall such as lighting fixtures or furniture.


If the fire alarm rings during school hours, everyone must leave the building immediately. An instructor will lead the students to a designated waiting area outside. Once staff and students have left the building, the fire wardens for the school will make sure each room has been checked and that everyone has vacated. They will then proceed to the designated meeting point and confirm that each instructor and all students have been accounted for. Everyone must wait at the designated meeting point until the all clear has been given and it is safe to return to the building.

GILA is well equipped with emergency fire extinguishers and the school has designated fire wardens in charge of the school safety in the event of a fire.