Late in 2020, institutions were told by government that they had to put together Covid-19 readiness plans before they could welcome students to campuses, in an effort to “protect the health and safety of all students and the surrounding community”.

“Languages Canada appreciated the commitment by the Ontario Ministry of College and Universities (MCU) to find a solution”

These plans had to be approved by an institutions’ province or territory. The PIE News reported on how different provinces processed these plans at different speeds. 

Ontario, which has the most DLIs of any Canadian province, saw institutions waiting for long periods of time before their plans were approved. 

Recently, IRCC released data that showed there are now 490 DLI’s in Ontario that have had their covid readiness plans approved. 

The news was welcomed by stakeholders, including Languages Canada.

“Languages Canada appreciated the commitment by the Ontario Ministry of College and Universities to find a solution to overcome the bottlenecks in the readiness plan approval process and enable most of our private sector members to get on IRCC’s list of approved institutions as of January 12,” said Rachel Lindsey, director, International Affairs and Operations at Languages Canada.

“We continue to work with MCU to streamline policies and processes for the safe and controlled entry of international students into Ontario’s language programs,” she added.

However, Covid-19 readiness plans have been only one of the obstacles faced by international students who want to travel to Canada. 

Issues with visa processing times, and the collection of biometric data, have caused much concern amongst international students. 

Diego Sanchez, manager, international promotion and marketing at Languages Canada told The PIE that there are still some difficulties with the study permits as processing times can be a little longer in some countries as well as the availability to book a time at the VACs for collection of biometrics.

Students must also quarantine for 14 days when they arrive in the country.  Since January 7, 2021, the government requires international travellers to get a PCR negative test 72 hours prior to boarding their plane to Canada. 

Languages Canada has been operating a scheme to help students through this quarantine process called the Study Safe Corridor.

This quarantine package includes airport transfer, hotels and meals, insurance, mental health support, a Canadian phone sim card, and Study Safe Corridor documentation. 

Students are also able to book flights through Languages Canada. The TRAVEL SAFE package offers discounted rates with help from a certified travel agent, as well as 24-7 travel support available in multiple languages. 

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