August 5, 2021

For international students: updates on travel to Canada

In recent weeks, member institutions have reported several examples of international students denied boarding due to inconsistencies in how airline staff have interpreted official government of Canada policies and guidelines.

As a priority, CICan is engaging directly with relevant federal officials on this issue. As a result, and to minimize issues going forward, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Transport Canada have, within the past 48 hours, reiterated the requirements to airlines, including what documentation is required and that a final determination as to whether a student meets the requirements should be made by a government official at the port of entry.

Though we had advocated for students to be allowed entry to Canada with ample time to quarantine and settle, we know that CBSA has issued guidance to airlines to the effect that students may be denied entry if arriving more than four (4) weeks prior to the official start of their program of study. They have also noted that some exceptions may apply to students who are unable to book travel within that 4-week window. Each case would be evaluated individually. We have asked that this guidance be issued publicly.

We will continue to engage with officials at CBSA and Transport Canada to ensure an effective communication with airlines and a consistent application of policies related to travel. You are welcome to share with us any examples of ongoing challenges that your students might face.