COVID-19: Find out about the latest measures

Updated on July 15th, 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

If you are an international student returning to Canada from any country other than the United States who has a valid study permit or who has been notified in writing before noon on March 18, 2020, that their application for a study permit has been approved, you will be exempt from travel restrictions. Find out about what you need to do before you travel to Canada.

If you are an international student returning to Canada from the United States, the officer will determine your admission based on the essential nature of your stay in Canada. While this decision is up to the border officer, Immigration Canada indicates that travel for study purposes could be considered essential. In this situation, make sure that you have all the documentation necessary to demonstrate compliance with this requirement.

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 your classroom courses are changed to an online format as a result of COVID-19, this will not affect your eligibility for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP).

If you have a study permit or your application for a study permit has been approved for a program that begins in May or June, but you cannot presently travel to Canada due to travel restrictions, you are also still eligible for the PGWPP.

If this situation applies to you, you can:

  • Start your classes while you are abroad;
  • Complete up to 50% of your program while you are abroad, if you are unable to travel to Canada sooner.

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

Some international students who graduated in Québec may be eligible to apply for permanent selection under the PEQ if they have been awarded, by an educational institution in Québec, within three years of the date of submission of their application, one of the following:

  • A university diploma attesting to a bachelor’s, a master’s or a doctoral degree
  • A college diploma for technical studies or a vocational diploma at the secondary level, with or without attestation of vocational specialization, obtained consecutively, attesting to 1800 hours or more of consecutive study and leading to a trade

Please note, however, that additional delays are to be expected in the processing of such requests.

For more details on eligibility requirements.

Travel

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

The Orders grant certain exemptions from travel restrictions, including to foreign nationals who are from a country other than the United States and who hold a valid Canadian study permit or were issued a letter of invitation dated on or before noon, March 18, 2020. Find out more about what you need to do before you travel to Canada.

International students who were already enrolled at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada or had been accepted by a DLI and made arrangements to travel to Canada to study before the travel restrictions were put in place.

These international students may declare to the air carrier at the point of boarding that they are exempt under this provision by presenting one of the following documents:

  • A valid study permit;
  • A letter of introduction from IRCC dated March 18, 2020 or earlier.

For more details on other exemptions to travel restrictions.

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

Your study permit may allow you to work off campus under certain conditions. Some of these conditions have been reassessed by the Government of Canada.

For international students providing essential services, you are temporarily allowed to work more than 20 hours if you are normally allowed to work off campus and that you provide a service that is considered essential.

Economy

2019 taxes: Additional time to file a tax return

The due date for filing 2019 personal income tax returns has been extended to June 1, 2020. Any new income tax balance owing, or instalments, have also been deferred until after August 31, 2020, without interest or penalty.

For more details, visit the websites of:

Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

The Government of Canada provides a taxable benefit of $2,000 every 4 weeks for up to 16 weeks.
Workers who meet all of the following conditions are entitled to the CERB:

  • Residing in Canada and at least 15 years of age;
  • Have stopped working due to COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) regular or sickness benefits;
  • Have not voluntarily quit their job;
  • Have earned an income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months preceding the date of application.

For more details on your eligibility.

On April 15, the government announced certain changes to the eligibility rules:

  • Allowing individuals to earn up to $1,000 per month while receiving the CERB;
  • Extending the CERB’s scope to seasonal workers who have exhausted their entitlement to EI regular benefits and who are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work due to the COVID-19 outbreak;
  • Extending the CERB’s scope to workers who have recently exhausted their entitlement to EI regular benefits and who are unable to find employment or return to work due to COVID-19.

Employment Insurance (EI)

It is not possible to apply for EI and the CERB at the same time. Employment Insurance claims will be redirected to the CERB program, where the rules of the latter will apply. The effect of this is to change the usual rules surrounding eligibility for Employment Insurance, including: removal of the one-week waiting period, persons in quarantine will not be required to provide a medical certificate, and the possibility of backdating claims to cover the quarantine period.

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

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 in the classroom have been suspended until further notice.

During the period of suspension, teachers will continue to teach remotely. Student participation and regular attendance are required.

Participation allowances are maintained for those who were present in a group when the courses were suspended. However, allowances for childcare and transportation were suspended on March 30, 2020.

New students are invited to submit an application at any time. However, registration for new students has been suspended until face-to-face courses resume.

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.