Canada works on making the country safe for foreign students

Canada lift int. student restriction

Canada has started considering the easing of travel restrictions for international students who have not been allowed to enter the country since March 18, 2020. Only students who come to study in Canada with a valid student permit that was valid as of that date were allowed entry.

A few days back, students from the US were included in the list of exemptions with conditions.

A letter signed by Marco Mendicino, Canada’s immigration minister, and Patty Hajdu, Canada’s health minister, was drafted lately. It communicated matters regarding bringing international students to Canada.

The letter attempted to initiate a dialogue between the two ministers and Canada’s territorial and provincial governments. This was about ways to ensure a safe welcome of international students to the country. The dialogue will also be conducted with DLIs (Designated Learning Institution). DLIs are educational institutions including universities and colleges. They have permission to welcome international students from federal and provincial governments.

Canada’s educational management is organized differently when compared with other countries. It doesn’t have a federal education department. Education comes under provincial and territorial jurisdiction as per the country’s constitution.

Canada’s policies for international students are spread across more than one department. For making any decision on international students, consultation with the provinces and territories for their inputs is necessary.

But this is different in the case of travel restrictions on students. The federal government has the say on that as it is a step taken to ensure the well-being of everyone in the country. The provinces and territories cannot supersede the decision and welcome international students.

In the letter, the ministers have expressed solidarity with the provinces and territories. They understand the importance of international students to their economy, society, and environment. The ministers stated that they are looking to strike a balance between provincial and territorial jurisdictions regarding education and preventive measures undertaken to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

They called for a collective commitment and adherence. That must be directed to a clear, coordinated, and well-communicated approach and action plan. It will support the health and safety of students as well as the Canadian public.

To realize this, the federal government will issue public safety guidance. It will detail the ways the country can welcome more foreign students. The expectations for governments, DLIs, and students in supporting the objective is outlined in the safety guide. The Canadian provinces and territories, and the DLIs are to comply with it and the orders issued in its regard.

Mendicino and Hadju have sought for information from the letter’s recipients. This is to confirm if the particular jurisdiction is prepared to be host to a new group of international students. The students’ immediate family members will also be welcomed. The family members could be:

  • parents and step parents,
  • guardians,
  • dependent children,
  • common-law partners, and

The information they asked for includes:

  • A list of approved DLIs in each jurisdiction according to the public health requirements and plans to host students and resume business for operation
  • Confirmation of DLIs having protocols intact to actuate and monitor Canada’s mandatory 14-day quarantine to ensure that students have:
    • information on physical and mental health supports available to international students
    • quarantine accommodation will enable physical distancing with protocols for preventing infection put in place
    • no contact with vulnerable individuals
    • a proper place to quarantine (with access to food, prescriptions, supplies, and other necessary support)
    • appropriate transportation to the DLI
  • Each jurisdiction’s responsibility and readiness to comply with the requirements of provincial and local public health authorities
  • A risk mitigation plan that involves testing, tracing, and isolation of COVID-19 infection and preventing its spread
  • Report on active outreach and communication with DLIs and respective communities about roles, responsibilities, and expectations to enforce public health guidelines
  • A commitment for collaboration and sharing information between the two levels of government so that COVID-19 related risks of international students in Canada can be monitored and managed.

The ministers have also brought out a relevant point. They noted that the pandemic is evolving. Hence, the stakeholders involved will likely need to go on to adjust their approach. This will make sure that the health and safety of international students eligible to study in Canada and Canadian citizens are ensured.

The letter from Mendicino and Hadju communicates Canada’s determination to exempt more international students from the travel restrictions existing now. But it also prioritises the need to ensure that the beneficiaries are safe when they arrive in Canada after being exempted.

Canada will maintain its current travel restrictions till July 31, 2020.

If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate to Canada, talk to Y-Axis, the World’s No.1 Immigration & Visa Company.

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Anshul Singhal

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