Canadian schools reopening to international students

Shelby Thevenot
Published: October 21, 2020

Canadian schools with coronavirus readiness plans can start accepting new study permit holders, as of October 20.

Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) are now able to accept international students irrespective of the date the study permit was obtained. DLIs are colleges, universities, and other educational institutions approved by the government to welcome international students.

Before, the only international students that could travel to Canada were those who held a valid study permit as of March 18, 2020, the date that Canada's coronavirus travel restrictions took effect.

To be able to enter Canada as a student, you must meet these two requirements:

Your travel to Canada will be considered essential if you have all of the required documents and your DLI is on the approved list.

As a student, your travel to Canada won’t be considered essential if:

  • your study program has been cancelled or suspended
  • you’re entering Canada for any reason other than to study

Students still need to quarantine for 14 days once they arrive in Canada.

In order to welcome new international students, DLIs needed to have a coronavirus readiness plan approved by their province or territory. Plans should describe how they manage the mandatory quarantine period for students, including arrangements for transportation to the student's quarantine location.

Discover your options to study in Canada

They must also provide information and support to international students about how they can get the items they need for their quarantine, like food, medicine, and health insurance.

International students can contact their school directly if they have questions about their readiness plans.

Only students who are going to approved DLIs are allowed to travel to Canada. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) says more institutions will be added to the list of approved DLIs. The IRCC webpage has a complete list of approved DLIs, and will update as more come available. Canada will also remove DLIs if they no longer meet their provincial or territorial public health requirements.

Students who are not going to an approved DLI will not be allowed to board their flight if they try to travel to Canada.

Family members of students may not travel to Canada before the student.

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

All post-secondary DLIs are approved to open to international students in Quebec, however the government still recommends to check their list.

There are 39 post secondaries open in Alberta, and British Columbia. 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.

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 follow the health regulations set out by their province or territory.

All primary and secondary schools are approved to reopen to international students in Quebec.

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

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

Discover your options to study in Canada

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