Return to Canada: Is your university an approved designated learning institution?

approved designated learning institutions
Eager to return to university in Canada? Check the list of IRCC-approved institutions first. Depicted: University of Manitoba. Source: Shutterstock

As international students gear up to return to Canadian universities, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is updating the list of approved designated learning institutions (DLI). Each DLI must have an approved COVID-19 readiness plan in place before welcoming international students back — a prerequisite to the federal government’s decision to open the borders to international students on Oct. 20, 2020.

Cindy McIntyre, assistant director, international relations at Universities Canada, told “The PIE” that her organisation is “very pleased that the vast majority of Canadian universities have now been approved to welcome international students”.

However, Languages Canada (LC), an organization of accredited English and French language education providers to over 150,000 international students, has pointed out that only 53% of its member universities have been approved. Many more are still awaiting approval in Ontario and British Columbia (BC). A letter to its members stated: “While our feedback has been well received, more pressure needs to be applied by those directly impacted by the inability to welcome back students, particularly in Ontario and BC, where there is the greatest concentration of LC members and the largest backlog of plans awaiting approval.”

Last week, the federal government released a set of guidelines to follow throughout all stages of the return. If you’re already in Canada, you can continue studying at any DLI.

How to check approved designated learning institutions in Canada

A total of 1, 548 DLIs are listed in the official IRCC list, across all provinces across the country except Nunavut. Each of these institutions must be individually assessed before they are listed as ‘approved’ on the official IRCC site.

As of November 17, 427 out of 436 institutions in Quebec have had their COVID-19 readiness plans approved. On the other hand, out of the 482 institutions in Ontario, only 56 have had their plans approved. In British Columbia, 81 out of 266 DLIs have approved plans.

While there are plans pending federal government approval, certain universities may not have submitted their COVID-19 readiness plans for approval yet. Check if your university is on the latest list of approved DLIs here or look out for the latest news on the official IRCC website. The next update is scheduled for Dec. 1, 2020.