Canada Considering Allowing International Students to Return in September


Laurie LeBlanc, deputy minister of Ontario’s Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities, addressed a letter to Ontario’s designated learning institutions on July 29.

It explains how the federal government is “considering” changes to cross-border transportation regulations that “would allow international students to return to Canadian higher education institutions starting in September 2020.”

There was also a six-page set of draft guidelines describing the responsibilities of approved learning institutions in terms of aiding students who enter the country. Institutions will be required to assist students in understanding and managing existing health limitations and recommendations, including aiding them in developing quarantine plans before their arrival in Canada, as well as assisting them with hotels, homestays, custodians, and other accommodations. Institutions are also supposed to provide transportation from the airport or other point of entry into the local community to their quarantine facility. The institutions were given only one day to determine whether they could comply with the new criteria, however, they were encouraged to notify the government as soon as possible if they couldn’t make the July 30 deadline.

CIC News obtained a letter signed by Canada’s immigration minister, Marco Mendicino, and health minister, Patty Hajdu, at the end of July, with the goal of engaging in dialogue with provincial and territorial governments, as well as institutions, about how to safely welcome more international students to Canada during the fall semester. Institutions are currently figuring out how to make the required arrangements to securely welcome students back in such a short amount of time.

Throughout the Covid-19 crisis, Canada has attempted to remind international students that they are welcome in the country, however, this has been difficult to accomplish in practice. Canada said earlier this year that international students would be exempt from the travel ban if they had a valid study permit or had been accepted for one before March 18.

However, the Canadian government has since revised these laws, making it impossible for international students to enter the country unless they have a compelling cause to do so.

The decision by Canada to only accept individuals with a ‘non-discretionary or non-optional reason for traveling has sparked outrage among Indian students, who have been confused about flights and admittance into the country. More than 5,400 people have signed a petition urging the Canadian government to welcome all overseas students, even those who were accepted for a study permit after March 18.

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