COVID-19 INFORMATION FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

As COVID-19 continues, Blanche Macdonald Centre is committed to guide and support international students in starting their program of study. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada has implemented travel restrictions that limit the ability of foreign nationals to enter Canada and has mandated that travelers entering the country quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

Blanche Macdonald Centre will send international students the information required to:  create a successful plan to travel to Canada, quarantine upon arrival, and follow the BMC Covid-19 Safety Plan when attending the campus of study.

International students must submit a BMC Travel & Self-Isolation Plan, acknowledge reviewing the government regulations on “Self-Quarantine on return to BC” and agree to follow the BMC Covid-19 Safety Plan while attending the program of study.

Part A: Preparation and Travelling to Canada

Step 1: Check your travel eligibility

To assess whether you may be permitted to enter Canada or not, carefully review Travel exemptions and restrictions for international students on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

Designated Learning Institutions with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by their province or territory are able to reopen to international students who are currently outside Canada.

If you plan to come to Canada as an international student after October 20, 2020:

Your DLI must be on the list of DLIs with approved COVID-19 readiness plans before you travel to Canada.

You must have a valid study permit, or have been approved for a study permit.

This applies to all international students, whether you’re travelling from the United States or from any other country.

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.

Find out more information at the Government of Canada’s Update on travel restriction exemptions for international students

You may contact the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) directly for more information. A border services officer will make a final decision on your eligibility to enter Canada when you arrive.

Step 2: Plan for Self-quarantine

Once you have verified that you are eligible to enter Canada and have booked a flight, you need to plan for your mandatory 14 day quarantine upon arrival to Canada as required by the federal Quarantine Act. 

Review the following information for guidance as you create your quarantine plan.

Quarantine Accommodation

To better understand what kind of accommodation may be acceptable for your required 14-day quarantine read through IRCC – For travellers without symptoms of COVID-19 returning to Canada.

You may be able to complete your quarantine at a private residence or a hotel as long as the accommodation has space for you to be completely separated at all times and allows you to meet all government quarantine requirements.

Transportation from the airport

You must travel directly to your quarantine accommodation from the airport by personal car, taxi, limousine, or rideshare service. A mask or other face covering should be worn during this entire trip.

Taxis are available at the taxi stand located outside the International Arrivals area at Vancouver International Airport. Ridesharing services or premium limousine services are also available. 

If you plan to stay at a hotel that operates a complimentary airport courtesy shuttle, you may be able to use that service (check with the hotel in advance).

Do NOT use public transportation from the airport to your quarantine accommodation.

Food and other necessities

Since you are not allowed to go out to shop during quarantine, you must have a plan for making sure you can access food and any other items that you may need.

If you have family or friends in the area that are willing to support you, then you may be able to depend on them to deliver these items to you. 

If you are planning to quarantine at a hotel, check if they offer meals by room service.

If you will depend on delivery services it is important to have access to a credit card that you can use in Canada should you need to order any items. This is especially true since many businesses are not accepting cash at all due to the COVID-19 risk.

Companies that deliver groceries or prepared meals include:  Instacart, Skip the Dishes and DoorDash.

Step 3: Submit a Blanche Macdonald Centre Travel & Self-Isolation Plan

As part of Blanche Macdonald Centre’s COVID-19 readiness plan, all international students who plan to travel to Canada must submit a mandatory BMC Travel & Self-Isolation Plan. 

This includes new students as well as continuing students who left Canada temporarily during their studies in Canada.

The required elements of the plan will be referenced in an email sent directly to you. 

You must complete and submit the plan at least 7 days prior to arriving in Canada.

Step 4: Prepare your documents

Before traveling to Canada, prepare and double check that you have all of your important documents including:

Carry these documents with you at all times and do not put them in your checked luggage. 

You may not be allowed into Canada if any of your documents are missing or if any of the information on your application or letters of reference is incorrect.

Step 5: ArriveCAN App and BC Government Self Quarantine Plan

The government of Canada requires international travelers to provide certain information. We suggest that students download and complete the ArriveCAN App before departing for their trip.

In addition to the federal ArriveCAN Application, travellers arriving in B.C. are encouraged to complete a self-quarantine plan.  Completing the plan will help you prepare to self-quarantine successfully.  It’s important to consider:

  • The location of your 14-day self-quarantine
  • How you will travel to your quarantine location
  • Arranging the necessary supports:
  • Food
  • Medications 
  • Child care
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Pet care
  • Social or family support

Here is the link to the plan:  https://travelscreening.gov.bc.ca/

When you arrive at a Canadian port of entry, you will meet a Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer who will verify your documents and ask you questions about the purpose of your visit to Canada. 

See When you travel to Canada for more details.

If you are issued a study permit by the CBSA officer, quickly double check that your personal information and validity is correct, and that there are remarks about working eligibility if that is important to you. 

It is much simpler to correct any errors on your study permit while you are still with the CBSA officer. Otherwise, you may have to submit a request to amend your study permit later, which may take several months to process.

Part B:  Complete your self-quarantine

Carefully review IRCC – How to quarantine (self-isolate) at home when you may have been exposed to COVID-19 and have no symptoms to understand how to successfully complete your quarantine. 

It is important to understand that failure to comply with the federal Quarantine Act could result in serious punishments including a maximum fine of $1,000,000 and up to 3 years in prison.

A staff member from the Blanche Macdonald Centre will be your point of contact and will check in on you and provide support throughout your 14-day quarantine. 

You can expect to receive an email from them by the time you arrive in Canada.

Please make sure to read this important message and to reply as soon as possible to let them know that you have arrived safely.

You should be in touch with your point of contact immediately if during your quarantine you have any:

  • Difficulty accessing food or other necessary items
  • Possible symptoms of COVID-19
  • Questions about BMC, resources for students, or the local area.

If it is determined that you do not remain in quarantine for 14 days, BMC will contact the provincial health authority and you will be subject to the penalties for not complying with the Quarantine Act.

Travelling to begin a study program, especially during this challenging time, can make you more anxious and/or vulnerable than usual.

Mental Health Support:

Please reach out to the following resources if you need any mental health support:

Here2TalkThis a free and confidential 24/7 mental health support service available for BC post secondary students.

Canadian Mental Health Association and Crisis Centre of BC:  This association provides information on mental health resources as well as information on stigma and prejudice.

Please remember your Admission Director is also available for connection, to welcome you into the community, to share the BMC culture and provide resources during your Self-quarantine period.

After you successfully complete your 14-day quarantine, we encourage you to continue to take all precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 when around other people.

International students will need to apply for British Columbia’s Medical Services Plan (MSP) once they arrive in BC, but will also need to have temporary basic private medical coverage during their MSP coverage waiting period. 

It is very important that international students understand:

  • That BC MSP coverage is required by law for residents of BC who stay for over six months, including international students
  • That new arrivals to BC must apply for BC MSP as soon as they arrive in BC with a resident status
  • When private basic medical insurance coverage would be necessary, such as during your MSP waiting period
  • What the difference is between basic and extended medical insurance coverage

Please follow the link for more information on BC’s provincial health care system including how the coverage waiting period works and how to apply online:  www2gov.bc.ca

Part C:  BMC Covid-19 Safety Plan

It is essential that all international students review and agree to follow the Centre’s Covid-19 Safety Plan: https://www.blanchemacdonald.com/safety/

The Centre follows all Covid-19 requirements issued by the BCCDC and the Provincial Health Authority.

In the event of a robust outbreak of Covid-19, the Centre will follow all directives as issued here:  Updated: Public health management of cases and contacts associated with COVID-19 – Canada.ca

We are looking forward to welcoming you to our BMC Canadian learning experience.  Safe travels. 

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