Financial Supports in Response to COVID-19
Federal and Provincial support for individuals
Information about Government of Canada programs to support individuals is available at: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan/covid19-individuals.html.
The Residential Tenancy Act has been amended to support renters and landlords during the provincial state of emergency and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Information is available at https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/residential-tenancies/covid-19.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
Information about the impact COVID-19 is having on IRCC clients and operations is available at: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/coronavirus-special-measures.html. This information includes questions and answers about the travel restrictions and other impacts of COVID-19, including:
- What should foreign nationals who are in Canada with valid temporary status as a visitor, worker or student do if their status is about to expire?
- What is the impact of the restrictions on international students?
Federal and Provincial resources for businesses
For details about Government of British Columbia COVID-19 support and information, visit https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support. Information includes the following:
- Some provincial taxes have been deferred, delayed or reduced
- What you must do if employees fall ill, are absent from work or your business is unexpectedly disrupted
- Economic resources for businesses
- Government of Canada support for businesses
- WorkSafeBC resources for employers
Global Affairs Canada Information for International Students
Global Affairs Canada’s International Education Division is pleased to provide the following information and guidance that may be of assistance to international students. The resources listed provide information on study permit-related issues, as well as travel restrictions and exemptions that may affect international students, and Government of Canada programs for which international students may be eligible.
Canada deeply values the international students that have chosen to study in Canada and the contribution they make to our educational institutions, our communities and our country. Although the current circumstances are challenging, we hope that you will feel supported by your Canadian host institutions and the communities in which you live as you navigate your own situation, whether you may be a first-year student, a soon-to-be graduating student, an exchange student or visiting researcher.
Individuals are encouraged to read through all the information available on each government web-site listed and to consult these sites regularly for the latest information relevant to their situation.
The information and guidance from the Government of Canada shared below is the most up to date information available, however, due to the rapidly changing situation, the information provided by the relevant Government of Canada authorities may change or be modified going forward.
- Immigration Status and Related Travel
- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has published detailed information on how the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is affecting immigration, refugees, citizenship and passport services. More information can be found at the following to IRCC links:
- The aforementioned sites include specific information, questions and answers related to, among others:
- Visitors, foreign workers and students;
- Post-Graduation Work Permit eligibilities
- Guidance in situations where a student’s status has expired, or is about to expire
- Travel restrictions and exemptions;
- Details on exemptions for certain international students
- IRCC offices and Visa Application Centres; and
- Visitors, foreign workers and students;
- For international students specifically:
- International students who remain in Canada can apply to renew their study permit, and can continue to study and work while their application renewal is being processed.
- At this time, international students who held a valid study permit granted before March 18, 2020, will be able to travel to Canada.
- If a study permit was issued to an international student on, or after, March 18, 2020, they are currently not allowed to travel to Canada.
- Eligibility for Government of Canada-funded benefits
- International students who meet the eligibility criteria laid out for either the Employment Insurance (EI) program, or the new Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program, may qualify to receive these financial supports. International students who are currently in Canada, who have worked the minimum number of hours and who meet the minimum income threshold can apply to these programs.
- Employment and Social Development Canada has published information on the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) introduced as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. This measure targets workers in Canada whose income from employment or self-employment has been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. More information can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/news/2020/04/canada-emergency-response-benefit-to-launch-on-april-6.html.
- For the most up-to-date information on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), including a list of frequently asked questions, please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html
- The aforementioned site includes questions and answers, such as:
- Can you receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit if you are not a citizen or permanent resident?
- To be eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, you must reside in Canada and have a valid Social Insurance Number.
- Workers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents – including temporary foreign workers and international students – may be eligible to receive the Benefit if they meet the other eligibility requirements.
- Applications for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be accepted as of April 6. Information on how to get ready to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit is available online: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/apply-for-cerb-with-cra.html
- More information on the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html.
- More information from Employment and Social Development Canada on Government of Canada benefits and services: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/notices/coronavirus.html.
- Information for Government of Canada-funded scholarship students
- Global Affairs Canada is in close contact with its scholarship program administrators to identify guidance and support required by scholarship recipients. Individuals with concerns should reach out to their host institutions in Canada as a first point of contact.
- International Scholarships deadlines: GAC has extended all open scholarship competition deadlines by three weeks. More information can be found at the EduCanada.ca website here.
- International students that are currently in Canada under one of the Student Exchange Programs, including the inbound portion of the Canada-China Scholars’ Exchange Program (CCSEP), have the option to return to their home countries and finish their studies online (if their school offers that option). There will be no penalties for doing so. If a student wishes to withdraw completely from the program, they will still receive a prorated amount of the scholarship.
- To stay up-to-date with the latest information on Government of Canada funded scholarships, please subscribe to the EduCanada RSS feed and visit our Facebook page @EduCanada.Official.
- Health Care, including Mental Health
- International students are encouraged to reach out to and remain in contact with their host institutions in Canada, in particular the international students’ office, and their health care coverage providers to receive information on measures and supports in place for international students at this time.
- GAC is in regular contact with Canadian education associations, representing Canadian education institutions across the country, and it is our understanding that Canadian institutions are proactively providing psychological and mental health support related to the pandemic to their national and international students.
- Students are also encouraged to consult regularly municipal and provincial/territorial public health resources for information on guidelines and supports that apply to their host communities.
- International students living on campus are encouraged to reach out to and remain in contact with their Canadian host institutions, in particular the international students’ office, to receive information on housing services and supports in place for international students at this time.
- Each institution makes its own decisions with regard to support and mitigation measures for their students.
- GAC is in regular contact with Canadian education associations, representing Canadian education institutions across the country, and it is our understanding that the majority of Canadian education institutions are keeping their campus dormitories open for international students and Canadian students who may not have other accommodations. Where campus housing is no longer available, institutions are working closely with international students to help them find housing.
Federal Supports for Post-Secondary Students and Recent Graduates Affected by COVID-19
The federal government has announced a package of new and enhanced financial supports for post-secondary students:
- Targeted supports for students who are ineligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit;
- Increased and expanded eligibility for student financial aid;
- Targeted supports for Indigenous students; and,
- Expanded supports for graduate students.
Federal Change to International Student Work Hour Limits
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has announced that effective immediately and until August 31, 2020, international students may work more than the 20 hours/week during their regular academic session to assist with delivering essential services or functions to protect life and property, such as the health care sector.
- International students and their employers should consult Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada’s Guidance on Essential Services and Functions during the COVID-19 outbreak to determine if the work the student is doing qualifies under this facilitation.
- For more information please consult the federal government news release.
Impacts of COVID-19 on Post-Secondary Students Survey (April 19 – May 1)
Statistics Canada is collecting data on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on post-secondary students and would appreciate your assistance in circulating the survey to students and student groups.
- All students are encouraged to take part as the results will help governments and other organizations evaluate the need for future services and assistance programs to support post-secondary students during and after the pandemic.
- To find out more and participate in the short questionnaire, students can visit www.statcan.gc.ca/COVID-students.
For general enquiries and technical assistance with the survey:
Contact Statistics Canada Monday to Friday (except holidays), from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)
- 1-877-949-9492 (TTY: 1-800-363-7629) or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for the important role you play in supporting the provincial COVID-19 response. Please share these updates broadly within your respective institutions.
- Guidance and recommendations from the Provincial Health Officer are available online at the COVID-19 Provincial Support and Information website.
- If you require advice regarding a potential COVID-19 case, please contact your local Medical Health Officer.