Canadian Schools Reopening to International Students

Starting October 20th, Canadian schools with coronavirus readiness plans have started accepting new study permit holders. Regardless of the date the study permit was obtained, Designated Learning Institutions, or DLIs, can accept overseas students. Colleges, universities, and other educational institutions approved by the government to welcome international students fall under the bracket of DLIs.

Prior to this, only international students who held a valid study permit as of March 18, 2020, were allowed to travel to Canada. This was the date that Canada’s coronavirus travel restrictions took effect.

In order to enter Canada as a student, you must meet these two requirements:

  • You must have a valid study permit or a letter of introduction that shows you were approved for a study permit.
  • You must be attending a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by its province or territory.

If you have all of the required documents and your DLI is on the approved list, only then will your travel to Canada be considered essential.

Please note that as a student, your travel to Canada won’t be considered essential either if your study program has been canceled or suspended, or you plan to enter Canada for any reason other than to study.

On entering the country, students will need to stay under quarantine for 14 days.

DLIs who wish to admit overseas students should have a coronavirus readiness plan approved by their province or territory. This plan should clearly outline how they are managing the mandatory quarantine period for students, including pick up and transportation to the student’s quarantine location. Students should also be informed about how they can obtain the items they need for their quarantine, like food, medicine, and health insurance. If they have any questions, students can contact their school directly.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) plans to add more institutions to the list of approved DLIs. Only students who are going to study at one of the approved DLIs are allowed to travel to Canada, and if their college is not on the list they will not be allowed to board the flight. Also, family members of students may not travel to Canada before the student.

On the IRCC webpage, you can find a complete list of approved DLIs, which will be regularly updated. DLIs that no longer meet Canada’s provincial or territorial public health requirements will be removed from the list.

How many post-secondary schools have approved COVID-19 readiness plans?

This depends on the territory or province.

Even though all post-secondary DLIs are approved to open to international students in Quebec,  the government still recommends to check their list as it can be continually updated.

In Alberta and British Columbia, there are 39 post secondaries open; while there are 10 Manitoba schools, 13 in New Brunswick, three in Newfoundland and Labrador, 14 in Ontario, five in Prince Edward Island, seven in Saskatchewan, and one in the Yukon.  As yet, post-secondary schools are not approved to reopen to international students in Nova Scotia, Nunavut, or North West Territories.

Primary and secondary schools by province

Primary and secondary schools in Canada will be following the health regulations set out by their respective provinces or territories.

All primary and secondary schools are approved to reopen to international students in Quebec, while all public and private primary and secondary schools are approved to reopen in the provinces of Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, New Brunswick, and British Columbia.

In the provinces and territories of Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Yukon, Nunavut, Nova Scotia, North West Territories, as well as Newfoundland and Labrador, primary and secondary schools are closed to international students.

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