Canada offers guide for international students arriving during coronavirus

Shelby Thevenot
Published: November 15, 2020

The federal government has released a guide for international students who are coming to Canada, and navigating travel restrictions.

It's called "COVID-19:  guide for international students in Canada arriving from abroad." The government outlines the roles and responsibilities of DLIs, provinces and territories and the government of Canada in supporting international students.

The guide is aligned with health advise from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Here are some of the important points. International students can view the guide on the government webpage.

What to know before coming to Canada

Any international student or their accompanying family members with symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to board their flight. If symptoms show up upon arrival in Canada, a health Canada officer will perform a screening and the person may not be allowed to enter, or transported to a hospital for a medical examination.

International students are allowed to come to Canada to go to school at an institution that has a coronavirus-readiness plan. The list of approved institutions are kept up-to-date on the government webpage.

Discover your options to study in Canada

International students need a study permit or study permit approval, but this is not a travel authorization in and of itself. IRCC will communicate with students once the travel authorization has been granted. This authorization may be cancelled if there are any changes in circumstances at their school, or the province or territory.

In order to be given access to come to Canada, international students need to show the border services officer that they are entering Canada for non-discretionary purposes, and that they are studying at one of the approved DLIs, among other requirements. International students may be refused entry if they do not meet these requirements.

Immediate family members may be allowed to accompany international students. This would include students' spouses, dependent children, or their legal parent or guardian if they are a minor. Family members must also show border officers that they are travelling for a non-optional, non-discretionary reason, such as helping the student get established in Canada.

Quarantine plans

International students and their accompanying family members must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. They need to wear a mask or face covering during travel, including to their place of quarantine.

Before coming to Canada students need to make a quarantine plan. Border officers will also consider this plan, when determining if the student can enter the country.

While in quarantine, students should ensure that they have individual accommodations, and that they monitor themselves for symptoms. They should avoid public and shared spaces. They also need to arrange to have access to basic necessities like food and medicine. In addition to physical distancing, they need to avoid contact with people who are at higher risk for severe illness, such as older adults, and people with underlying medical conditions, or who are immunocompromised.

Places with shared living accommodations, such as hostels, are not acceptable for quarantine or isolation. International students living with other people, such as with a host family or homestay provider, will need to self-isolate from other members in the accommodation or home. This means having a separate bedroom and washroom if possible. It also means physical distancing from other household members and frequently disinfecting surfaces.

Minors must also undergo mandatory quarantine. Parents or guardians must ensure that appropriate arrangements have been made for their child before they leave for their home country.

Also, international students are asked to confirm their eligibility for heath-care coverage and Canada. If they are not covered, they can get private insurance that includes COVID-19 coverage before departure.

The penalties for breaking quarantine can include a fine of up to $750,000, and six months in jail. If someone causes bodily harm or risk of imminent death as a result of breaking quarantine, they can be fined up to $1 million, and face imprisonment of up to three years.

Discover your options to study in Canada

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