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Canada issues COVID-19 guide for arriving international students

Canada has published COVID-19: A Guide for International Students in
Canada Arriving from Abroad
, outlining a consolidated set of guidelines to support the return of international students and outline the roles and responsibilities of Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs), Provinces and Territories (PTs), and the Government of Canada. DLIs are universities, colleges, and other educational institutions that are approved by federal and provincial government to admit international students.

COVID-19 Guide for International Students document provides information on the COVID-19 pandemic, and outlines the roles and responsibilities of DLIs, Provinces and PTs, and the Government of Canada with respect to their coronavirus-readiness and the safe arrival and stay of international students in Canada.

Coronavirus travel exemption for Canada international students became effective on October 20, 2020. Designated learning institutions (DLIs) whose COVID-19 readiness plans have been approved by their provincial or territorial government began to welcome international students back to their schools.

What you need to know before leaving your country

The following are some of the keynotes for international students. Please review the official COVID-19 Guide for International Students documents for comprehensive information and explanations at COVID-19: A Guide for International Students in Canada Arriving from Abroad.

Any international student and accompanying immediate family members with symptoms that could be associated with COVID-19 will not be allowed to board their flight to Canada. NOTE that Canada previously announced that starting November 21, air travellers whose final destination is Canada must submit their information through ArriveCAN before boarding. This includes travel and contact information, quarantine plan (unless they are exempt), and a COVID-19 symptom self-assessment.

If symptoms possibly associated with COVID-19 are present upon arrival in Canada, a health assessment will be performed by a PHAC quarantine or screening officer and the individual(s) may not be allowed to enter Canada, or if necessary, the individual(s) may be transported to a hospital for a medical examination.

Among other requirements to be granted entry to Canada, an international student will be required to demonstrate to a border services officer that they are entering Canada for non-discretionary purposes and that they are studying at a listed DLI. If these requirements are not demonstrated by an international student upon arrival, they may be refused entry.

Immediate family members may also be allowed to enter Canada to accompany international students. This could include a student’s spouse or dependent child(ren), or in the case of a minor who is coming to study in Canada, a parent or legal guardian who will provide care during the quarantine period and/ or remainder of stay in Canada. They must show that their reasons for travel are non-discretionary/ non-optional, for instance, helping the student get established in Canada.

International students should remember that it is a requirement to enter Canada with a plan for quarantining for at least 14 days in advance of their first day of their program of study or primary or secondary school curriculum in order to be in compliance with the existing Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act, requiring mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival. It is the student’s responsibility to respect the following guidelines and that there are appropriate arrangements in place during their quarantine, which includes:

  • ensuring they have individual accommodations,
  • monitoring for symptoms,
  • avoiding public and shared spaces,
  • arranging to have access to basic necessities (e.g., food and medicines),
  • physical distancing from others, and
  • avoiding contact with people who are at higher risk for severe illness (i.e., older adults, individuals who have underlying medical conditions or are immunocompromised).

Hostels and residences with shared living accommodations are not acceptable for quarantine or isolation. International students living with a homestay provider, host family or a custodian will need to self-isolate from other members in the accommodation or home, which would involve having a separate bedroom and washroom (if possible), physical distancing from all household members, and frequently disinfecting high-touch surfaces.