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Canada may lift international student travel restrictions

28 July 2020 No Comment

According to a letter that has been obtained by CIC News, Canada may lift travel restrictions for international students in time for the fall 2020 semester.

International students have not been able to enter Canada since March 18, unless they held a study permit that was valid as of that date. Students from the U.S. were added to the list of exemptions some days ago, although they have to meet certain criteria to be allowed to enter Canada.

The letter which is signed by Canada’s immigration minister Marco Mendicino, and health minister, Patty Hajdu, asks recipients to reply by Friday, July 24, 2020.

The purpose of the letter is for the two ministers to take part in a dialogue with Canada’s provincial and territorial governments and designated learning institutions (DLIs), about ways to welcome more international students to Canada safely in the coming months.

DLIs include the universities, colleges, as well as other educational institutions that are allowed to welcome international students by federal and provincial governments.

Unlike other countries, Canada does not have a federal education department so education falls under provincial and territorial jurisdiction, meaning that Canada’s international student policies are spread across different federal departments. If the federal government wants to make a decision on international students, it has to consult with the provinces and territories to get their input.

In this case, the federal government has imposed travel restrictions, which falls under its jurisdiction. The travel restrictions, meaning to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, impede the ability of provinces and territories to safely welcome international students.

However, in their letter, ministers Mendicino and Hajdu write that they recognize the importance of international students to the country’s learning environment, society, and economy. Therefore, they are trying to strike a balance between respecting the jurisdiction of the provinces and territories over education, at the same time maintaining the country’s special coronavirus measures to limit further spread of COVID-19.

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