Assistance for School Supplies

Even with public schools, going back to school is often synonymous with additional costs for families, be it school supplies, transportation, day care, meals, etc.

To help families for whom these purchases can be an obstacle, many community organizations developed programs aimed at providing school supplies to elementary and high school children. Whether it’s backpacks, notebooks, pencils, rulers, binders or other items, these organizations provide the required supplies.

BE CAREFUL: In most cases, enrollment in these programs happens long before the start of the school year, from May to July. 211 receives a lot of calls from families looking for assistance purchasing school supplies during the month of September when the distribution is almost over.

Map of organizations with a school supplies assistance program

School Supplies Donation Programs

Different organizations collect donations and provide school supplies to their community, but there are also some regional programs. Here are the main ones:

Magasins-Partage de la rentrée scolaire - Opération Sac à Dos (City of Montreal)

Since 2002, Magasins-Partage stores have distributed school supplies to children and families in need throughout 19 Montreal neighborhoods.

WHEN? During the third week of August, children are asked to choose their backpacks, supplies and an insulated lunch box.

WHO? This service is offered free of charge to any family going through a difficult financial situation. Each registered household will be individually met by a case worker who will be assessing their needs and their situation. More than 6,600 children were helped in 2020.

WHERE? In one of the participating Magasins-Partage stores. You can call Regroupement Partage at 514 383-2460 to learn more.

Opération Bonne Mine (OBM) — Société de Saint-Vincent-de-Paul (SSVP) – Montreal, Laval and MRC de L’Assomption

Link to the program Société de Saint-Vincent de Paul Opération Bonne Mine

Since 1994, the Société de Saint-Vincent de Paul (SSVP) has helped families with low incomes have a positive back-to-school experience by reducing the financial burden associated with the new school year.

Each year, from July to September, SSVP distributes vouchers that can be redeemed:

  • In all participating schools for tuition, child care, transportation fees, supplies, uniforms, lunches, etc.
  • In all participating Jean Coutu pharmacies and bookstores for the purchase of school supplies only.

This service is offered free of charge to any family in a difficult situation. In order to be assessed for the help you are entitled to, you may need to provide certain documents such as proofs of address or income.

To get help, a request must be submitted to your local SSVP Help Center (only in Montreal, Laval and the MRC de l’Assomption): A volunteer will give you an appointment and explain the procedures. Here is the link to find a help center. Certain neighborhoods are not served by the SSVP. This is the case for the residents of Pointe-Saint-Charles who may call the Clinique communautaire de Pointe-Saint-Charles for help in getting school supplies.

Sign up early! Registration is on a first-come first-served basis until the depletion of vouchers.


More Organizations Helping families get School Supplies

Other organizations in each region of Greater Montreal offer school supplies. Each organization has its own eligibility criteria and gives either vouchers or school supplies to families.

To locate organizations distributing school supplies, consult the map shown above.

Financial assistance from the Quebec government for school supplies

Special Back-to-School Allocation

In August, families eliglble for last-resort financial assistance are entitled to a special benefit for dependent children attending school. This benefit applies to children aged between 6 and 16 years old. Click here for details on the special benefit.


The Quebec government gives $108 per school-age child (ages 4 to 16) each year in the month of July. No application is required, the amount will be automatically added to the Family allowance.