Are Canadian universities welcoming international students during Covid?

Posted by in CIC News, on December 22, 2020

Canada has recently updated and added new Designated Learning Institutions (DLI’s) to its approval list for the international students who wish to study in Canada during the Covid-19.

A DLI is a school, university or college which hosts the international students to come and study at their campuses. Canada had earlier introduced travel restrictions to non-essential travel to control the spread of COVID-19.

The Canadian travel restrictions had first included new international students and only those students who had a study permit or an approval issued on or before March 18 were allowed to travel to Canada. But, Canada has started to ease out restrictions and has begum to allow more international students to pursue their education in the country.

All the Institutions who wish to make the list should present a COVID-19 readiness plan and get it approved from their provincial or territorial government.

Thus, the students who are enrolled in one of these approved DLIs are exempt and can travel to Canada and will likely be granted entry to Canada by a border official upon arrival.

Many prominent Ontario-based institutions have been added, such as the University of Waterloo, Ryerson University, OCAD University and the University of Windsor.

All the travellers entering Canada, including all the international students, are required by law to quarantine themselves for 14 days upon arrival. If they do not comply with these instructions, the Government will impose hefty fines on the individuals.

In addition, all the travelers coming to Canada, particularly by air need to install the ArriveCAN application and show at the airport.  You will be required to submit your travel and contact information, your quarantine plan, as well as a daily COVID-19 symptom self assessment.

A quarantine plan should include the address where you will quarantine, and how will you obtain necessary items such as groceries and medicine.

Drop in international enrollment

Many universities across the country like in British Columbia and Ontario, have seen an increase in the domestic enrolment and a drop in international enrolment. This is according to a survey conducted by CourseCompare, a platform that helps connect students to courses and training programs.

Not all universities saw a drop in international enrolment. There are some exceptions. For example, UBC Okanagan saw a nine per cent increase in international undergraduate enrolment. Overall, however, the study shows a nine per cent drop in international enrolment across Canadian learning institutions. This is based on official figures by more than 50 institutions across the country.

One possible explanation for this is that many Canadian colleges and universities are looking to extend their online education into next semester. Some students, particularly international students who pay higher tuition fees, may be reluctant to enroll, until classes revert to being on-campus.

In addition, many international students are enrolled in more practical hands-on programs such as acting, nursing and lab-dependent programs such as electrical engineering and film production. Such programs may be considered to be the most negatively impacted, since it is very challenging to present the courses online. An alternative is to present the courses on-campus with physical distancing procedures. In some cases, the courses can be suspended altogether.

When it comes to domestic students, however, universities and colleges in Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic Canada and B.C. saw a significant increase in enrolment, many of whom are adult learners. This may be down to higher unemployment levels.

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