Immigration Minister Consults With Provinces About International Student Travel Exemption
As Canada slowly eases up on COVID-19 travel restrictions in place since March, International Students may soon be the next group to be granted an exemption that would allow them to travel to Canada.
According to a letter signed by Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino and Health Minister, Patty Hajdu that was obtained by CIC News, the ministers are looking to work with the provincial and territorial governments along with designated learning institutions (DLIs) on the matter. The goal is to determine whether they can safely welcome international students to enter Canada this fall for the purpose of going to school.
Why The Provinces Are Involved
Despite the fact that the issue of travel restrictions is a federal matter, Mendocino and Hajdu must consult with Canada’s provincial governments before deciding whether to grant international students a travel exemption.
The reason for this is that education falls under provincial and territorial jurisdiction, according to the Canadian Constitution.
This means that Canada does not have a federal education department, requiring the federal government to consult with the provinces and territories when it comes to decision making regarding international students.
In the letter, the ministers wrote that they recognize the importance of having international students studying in Canada, especially when it comes to fostering a strong learning environment, society, and economy. However, they also want to respect the jurisdiction of the provinces and territories when it comes to education, while also ensuring Canada’s coronavirus measures remain in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
For this reason, the ministers explained that federal and provincial governments, along with the DLIs “…must collectively commit to and adopt a coordinated, clear, and well-communicated approach to support the health and safety of students and the Canadian public.”
The federal government will also publish its own public safety recommendations on how Canada can begin welcoming international students again in the near future. These recommendations will include the expectations set for students, governments, and DLIs, such as a 14-day quarantine period.
It’s important to note that this letter does not officially confirm that Canada is going to exempt international students from current travel restrictions by the fall semester. However, it is a good indication that the federal government is moving in this direction.