COVID-19: Find out about the latest measures

Updated on October 29th, 2020

Since declaring a state of public health emergency on March 13, 2020, the Government of Québec and the Government of Canada have implemented numerous measures to protect the health of residents and curb the spread of COVID-19.

We invite you to regularly visit the official pages of the Government of Québec and the Government of Canada to stay informed of the various government measures in the field of immigration, particularly with regard to international students.

Visit the FAQ section from the Government of Québec if you have any questions regarding your studies in Québec.

Immigration

Remember that, at all times, it is your duty to maintain your legal status in Québec and Canada.

Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ)

The Québec Ministry of Immigration, Francisation and Integration (MIFI) continues to process and accept new applications for temporary selection, such as the Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) for studies. For more information, visit the MIFI page. It should be noted, however, that delays are to be expected in the processing of such requests.

If you need to renew your Québec Acceptance Certificate, please refer to the following instructions.

Also note that the MIFI has announced that it will extend, until December 31, 2020, the duration of the Minister’s consent for the stay of international students whose CAQ for studies expires on or after April 30, 2020 and before December 31, 2020.

Since May 28, 2020, students can now submit their documents via the Arrima platform to complete their applications for the CAQ for studies. Please note that you must submit all your documents at the same time, as you will not be able to make any modifications later on.

However, if you wish to submit your documents in hard copy, you may do so. Obtaining the CAQ for Studies is the first step in obtaining your study permit for your studies in Québec.

Study permit

The Government of Canada has announced additional measures to support international students beginning a new program online this fall with a Canadian learning institution, if their institution is offering the program online.

International students who cannot submit all of the documentation needed to complete processing of their study permit applications, and who choose to pursue programs through distance learning, might be eligible to the temporary 2-stage approval process. The temporary 2-stage approval mean that once the approval-in-principle is issued, applicants can begin studying online abroad and have that time count towards their post-graduation work permit, provided they meet other criteria and that they eventually receive full approval of their study permit. This process is available to students starting a program in the fall semester who submit a study permit application before September 15, 2020.

To date, if you are an international student with a valid study permit or a letter of introduction indicating that your student permit application has been approved plus a valid letter of acceptance from a learning institution with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan, you may be exempt from the travel restriction to Canada, as long as you are seeking to enter Canada for an essential purpose.

Find out about what you need to do before you travel to Canada.

When you arrive in Canada, your health status will be checked before you leave the port of entry. You must have a plan to place yourself in quarantine for 14 days when you arrive in Canada. This is a mandatory measure, even if you have no symptoms.

If you are already in Canada, it is your obligation to have your status valid at all times. Please refer to the following instructions for the renewal of your study permit from within Canada.

Post-graduation work permit

If you have to take your online courses from Canada or abroad because of COVID-19, this does not prevent you from being compliant with the conditions of your study permit or from being eligible for a post-graduation work permit at the end of your studies.

In this respect, on August 26, 2020, the Canadian government implemented three new measures on post-graduation work permit eligibility for students starting online study programs from abroad:

  • Students may now study online from abroad until April 30, 2021, with no time deducted from the length of a future post-graduation work permit, provided 50% of their program of study is eventually completed in Canada.
  • Students who have enrolled in a program that is between 8 and 12 months in length, with a start date from May to September 2020, will be able to complete their entire program online from abroad and still be eligible for a post-graduation work permit.
  • Students who have enrolled in a program with a start date from May to September 2020 and study online up to April 30, 2021, and who graduate from more than one eligible program of study, may be able to combine the length of their programs of study when they apply for a post-graduation work permit in the future, as long as 50% of their total studies are completed in Canada.

To be eligible for these measures, students must have submitted a study permit application before starting a program of study in the spring, summer, or fall 2020 semester, or the January 2021 semester. All students must eventually be approved for a study permit.

For more information on the easing of eligibility conditions for a post-graduation work permit, please visit IRCC’s website.

Programme de l’expérience québécoise (PEQ – Québec experience program)

Some international students who graduated from Québec may be eligible to apply for permanent selection, the first step towards obtaining permanent residence for Québec. This is the Programme de l’expérience québécoise (PEQ – Québec experience program) for Québec graduates. We invite you to consult the eligibility conditions for the Programme de l’expérience québécoise (PEQ – Québec experience program).

As of July 22, 2020, new selection conditions apply to candidates applying under the PEQ. For international students who wish to apply, the charges relate in particular to the required work or internship experience.

From now on, international students who obtain a university degree, diploma of college studies, or diploma of vocational studies (DVC) from Québec will have to demonstrate work experience. This work experience varies according to the degree obtained and must correspond to a job classification. 

Work experience gained during a mandatory internship as part of a program of study will also be counted, up to a maximum of three months.

International students who have obtained a PEQ-eligible degree or who will obtain it by December 31, 2020, will be able to apply for permanent selection to the eligibility conditions in effect before July 22, 2020.

For more information on the reform. 

Travel

Air travel and border measures have been implemented to protect the health and safety of Canadians by restricting discretionary international travel.

Since October 20, you may enter Canada if you are travelling for essential, non-discretionary or non-optional purposes, and:

  • You have a valid study permit or a letter of approval for a study permit application
  • Your designated learning institution (DLI) appears on the list of DLIs with approved COVID-19 readiness plans

You will also need to prove that you are capable of quarantining upon your arrival

Your trip will be deemed essential if you are coming to study at a learning institution with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan and you have all the required documents.

As a student, if you want to enter Canada for any reason other than for study or if your study program is suspended or cancelled, your trip will not be considered essential and you cannot enter Canada.

Under certain conditions, members of your immediate family may travel with you if they are able to show that they are travelling for an essential purpose.

This applies to all international students, whether they are departing from the United States or any other country.

For more details on the points mentioned above and on the documents you need to have with you when travelling to Canada, please refer to the IRCC website.

This change doesn’t affect study permit holders already in Canada.

If you’re already in Canada, you can continue studying at any DLI. If you leave Canada, you may not be able to return if your DLI doesn’t have a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by the province or territory in which you live.

Also, find out about mandatory quarantine measures.

Mandatory quarantine

In the event that you are authorized to enter Canada, you must respect a 14-day quarantine starting from the day after you arrive in Canada, even if you show no symptoms.
In anticipation of your admission to Canada, you must produce a quarantine plan—it will need to be presented to the border officers when you arrive in Canada. The purpose of the quarantine plan is to explain, in the form of a written certification and supporting documentary proof, as applicable, how you would isolate yourself completely from other people, once you arrive at the airport and until the end of the minimum 14-day period. This quarantine plan must include, among others, the location where you will be housed for 14 days following your arrival, which method of transportation you would be using to get there, with whom you will be eventually living and how you will get groceries without leaving your home.

The minimum mandatory quarantine period is 14 days. If symptoms appear during that period, you must extend your self-isolation by an additional 14 days as of the date the first symptoms appear. You are required to report any symptoms to the public health authority (1-877-644-4545) and follow their instructions.

Upon your arrival at the airport, you may use a taxi, chauffeur-driven vehicle or a private vehicle—the government strongly advises against using public transit. You must go directly to your place of self-isolation (do not make stops midway) and you must wear a mask or face covering if you use a taxi or chauffeur-driven vehicle.

Your quarantine must be done at your final destination. For example, if you are transiting through another Canadian city, you do not need to put yourself in quarantine there.
You must fulfill the entire duration of your quarantine at the address indicated in your quarantine plan, in a single dwelling or in a common dwelling with other people. You should not share a dwelling with vulnerable individuals (people 65 years or older and people with chronic health conditions).

You cannot go out during your quarantine, therefore you need to have your groceries delivered, either by an online grocer or any other delivery service, or by an acquaintance who is not under quarantine.
During your quarantine period, you cannot go outside your home or have any visitors.

You may refer to the Canadian government site for more information about quarantining and to keep up to date on the latest instructions.

Work

As an international student in Canada, you can work without a work permit if you are a full-time student and your study permit states that you are allowed to work during your studies. You can work off campus for up to 20 hours per week during regular school terms/semesters and full-time during scheduled breaks during the school year. Visit IRCC’s website for more information on working during your studies.

Note that between April 22 and August 31, 2020, you were temporarily allowed to work more than 20 hours per week if you had a valid study permit that allowed you to work off campus and you worked in an essential service or function.

If this applies to you, you may have to prove, in a future application to IRCC, that you worked in an essential function or provided an essential service. You may have to ask your employer for a letter of support to confirm this. For more information, visit IRCC’s website.

Economy

2019 taxes: Additional time to file a tax return

The Agency is extending the payment deadlines for 2019 personal income tax returns and 2019 or 2020 corporate or trust income tax returns, as well as the deadline for making instalment payments, from September 1, 2020, to September 30, 2020.

For more details, visit the websites of:

Benefits and financial support

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) ends when you’ve received 28 weeks of benefits or on October 3, 2020, whichever comes first. For those who applied through the Canada Revenue Agency, the last four-week period for the CERB was August 30, 2020 through September 26, 2020. However, you can still apply for the CERB retroactively through CRA.

As of September 27, 2020, there are some temporary changes to the EI program to help you access EI benefits. These changes will be in effect for one year.

For more details, visit the Government of Canada’s Employment Insurance – COVID-19 section.

You can also obtain information on transitioning to new benefits after CERB.

Educational institutions: Financial support for students

A number of educational institutions in Greater Montréal have set up financial support programs. To find out if such support is available in your institution, please contact your institution.

French courses  with the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI)

MIFI French courses have resumed.

Because of COVID-19,you may be invited to take your courses remotely. You must attend and actively participate in your remote learning courses.

To register for French courses, please consult the offers from the Government of Québec.

Health

If you need to speak with a professional during this crisis, we remind you that most schools offer a psychological support service. There are various telephone services that you can reach, such as Tel-Jeunes or Revivre. Also, refer to the page from the Government of Québec.

For any questions concerning COVID-19, symptoms, screening and treatment, you can consult the official resources of the Government of Québec.