Canadian universities
Some Canadian universities are now ready to welcome new international students. Source: Daniel Slim/AFP

The Canadian government has reopened the country’s borders to international students, but only selected Canadian universities are ready to welcome new and returning foreign students for their fall semester.

The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced that the amended travel restrictions will allow international students to enter the country beginning Oct. 20, 2020 if their designated learning institution (DLI) has an approved COVID-19 readiness plan in place.

IRCC said only DLIs listed on their website are approved to reopen to international students who are travelling to Canada. “If a DLI on the list has multiple campuses, all campuses in that province or territory are included in the DLI’s approval,” it said. 

Students must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

Which province or territory are ready to receive international students?

IRCC keeps a list of learning institutions that are ready to receive international students.

As of Nov 2, 2020, the list includes post-secondary DLIs in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Yukon. There are no approved post-secondary DLIs in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut or Nova Scotia.

IRCC said, “If international students’ DLI isn’t included in the list, you can’t travel to Canada to study at this time. If you try to travel to Canada when your DLI isn’t included, you may not be allowed to board your flight or you may be turned away at the port of entry.”

Any DLI that no longer meets its provincial or territorial public health requirements will be removed.

Nova Scotia is expected to be on the list soon.

The Government of Nova Scotia announced in a press statement that it will resume welcoming international students to its post-secondary institutions in early November, with almost two dozen institutions ready with additional COVID-19 precautions.

“The Nova Scotia institutions are expected to be on its next updated list, which will be published on Nov. 3,” it said.

All international students arriving to Nova Scotia from another country must quarantine for 14 days while DLIs are required to have oversight responsibility for international students during their quarantine, whether on or off-campus.

Canadian universities with a COVID-19 readiness plan

IRCC notes that to enter Canada, international students must have a valid study permit or a letter of introduction that shows they were approved for a study permit and must attend a DLI with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by its province or territory.

Students’ travel to Canada won’t be considered essential if their study programme has been cancelled or suspended. Border services will also look into students’ reason for travelling to Canada, as well as their ability to complete a 14-day quarantine period as soon as they arrive at their final destination, if they can either have time to complete their quarantine before physically attending classes or if they can study online during their quarantine.