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Algoma University Homestay Program (AUHP)

The Algoma University Homestay Program (AUHP) is for Algoma University international students who are new to Canada and beginning their study in the English for Academic Purposes Program (EAPP) or Short-Term ESL Program (STEP). 

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AUHP helps students adjust to their new life and further their independence in Canada. International students have the opportunity to live as a member of a Canadian family. Students share in family activities, exchange traditions and participate in everyday life. This opportunity allows students to improve their English communication skills and confidence to be successful and independent adults during their time in Canada.

Can I apply for Homestay?

If you answer “YES” to two of the questions below, you are eligible to apply to be an AUHP student!


Why should I choose AUHP?

Living with a homestay family has many advantages, including:

  • meet your family at the airport. Your family will pick you up at the airport;
  • have your own private room, bed, bedding, dresser, desk and bath towels, ready for your when you arrive;
  • explore your new neighborhood with your homestay family; 
  • access common household items, such as the TV, the kitchen stove, the washing machine and the dishwasher; 
  • eat three meals every day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner); 
  • be included in day-to-day activities of your AUHP family and enjoy different cultural activities with them, too; 
  • have opportunities to experience life in beautiful Northern Ontario! 


Who are the AUHP Families? 

Before joining the AUHP, families are carefully selected  through a thorough interview process, Homestay Visitation/ Site Check and Criminal Record Check conducted by the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service. 

The AUHP proudly partners with Homestay families to provide a warm, welcoming and safe environment for new first-year students. 


How am I matched with an AUHP family? 

AUHP wants you to have the best home away from home experience while you are in Canada! To help match you with an AUHP family,  we consider many things. AUHP placement criteria assessment reviews a student’s:  

  • religious needs
  • preference toward domestic pets
  • family environment
  • dietary and medical needs
  • allergies
  • proximity to the city
  • overall preferences, hobbies and academic goals

When there is a suitable match, you will be contacted with information about the AUHP family and provided with their contact information. 


What are my responsibilities as an AUHP student? 

  • With each placement, if you are an EAPP student, you will make a four-month (one term) commitment to stay with the AUHP family. 
  • Pay the fees (*Effective January 1, 2019):
    • $3,200 Homestay Fee: ($800/month) 
    • $200 Placement Fee – one time only
  • Clean your room and clean after yourself
  • Do your laundry 
  • Follow the house rules set by your host family
  • Read, understand and agree to the Homestay Program Guidebook for Students 
  • Sign an AUHP contract upon arrival 


How do I apply to be an AUHP student?

Complete the AUHP Student Application Form  

One we receive your application, we will work with the Student Account office to add the applicable fees to your Student Account. 


Refunds and Deferrals 

  • Deferral: If a student’s visa is denied, the Application and all Homestay Fees can be deferred to the next term if this is requested by the student. 
  • Refund: A refund is available only if the applicant provides proof of visa denial. The Homestay Application Fee is non-refundable administration fee.*

*Once a student is living with their homestay family, the first three months of the Homestay Fee is non-refundable. The fourth month of the Homestay Fee is refundable.  To refund the fourth month Homestay Payment, the student must give the Homestay Coordinator four weeks notice before their planned exit date.‌

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 a 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 Families
  • Provide the student with a home environment that is safe and clean
  • Provide three healthy meals a day:
    • Breakfast and lunch materials to be provided for students to make their own meal.
    • 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:
    • A comfortable bed and bedding
    • A dresser and mirror
    • A desk
    • A closet
  • Provide laundry facilities (including a washer and dryer) and instruction for use, as well as detergent:
    • 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 homeowner insurance in place. Algoma University is not liable for damages to the home or property.
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.

Compensation for Host Families
  • The homestay host will receive a $700.00 payment per month from Algoma University at the beginning of each calendar month
  • The AUHP reserves the right to relocate 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. 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 student and the host family sign a new four-month contract.
About Homestay Placements
  • Number of Students
    • The need for homestay spaces depends on the number of new students arriving for any given session at Algoma University. Usually, a maximum of three students will be placed in an individual home.
    • If possible, we would avoid placing two students of the same nationality in the same 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.
  • New sessions begin in January, May, and September of each year. Generally, EAPP students arrive two to seven days prior to the start of their program of studies.
  • Short-Term English Programs (STEP) students mid-semester or during vacation periods.
  • Additional Consideration: We do our best to match students and hosts and to facilitate good relationships between them. Homestay placements take 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;
    • Student preference to be in a home with or without another homestay student;
    • Homestay host or student smoking or non-smoking;
    • Any other specific requests from either homestay host and/or student;
  • 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.
    • The Homestay Coordinator should be notified immediately of any problems between the student and the host, and request mediation if necessary.
Student’s Responsibility at Home
    • We encourage homestay students to help with household chores. However, students are not expected to do so beyond cleaning up after themselves. Nevertheless, participation in small chores such as setting up the table for a meal or clearing the table after a meal would be considered acceptable.
    • Students are not expected to supervise children at any time. 
    • Students are expected to follow the house rules set by the host family. We understand that each family is different. Hence, it is up to the host family to explain the rules upon the student’s arrival.
How to become a host family?

Please complete and submit the online Family Application Form. In addition, as part of the application procedure, your family will need to:

  • provide two references;
  • be interviewed by the Homestay Coordinator;
  • undergo an AUHP Home Inspection; 
  • submit 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. The host families are responsible for the costs. 

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


Phone Number:  (705) 949-2301, ext. 1035

Email: homestay@algomau.ca