March 31, 2020

The latest on COVID-19

As the federal government’s response to COVID-19 continues to evolve daily, we remain committed to monitoring and sharing updates in order to better serve our members and be your voice in Ottawa. Visit our new webpage gathering all of our most recent updates.  Be sure to check in often as we are constantly updating the content as information becomes available, including our advocacy with the federal government and freely available teaching and learning resources.

We also invite you to join our weekly webinar series for updates on our efforts in Ottawa and to share amongst yourselves how the situation is evolving in your various regions and what approaches you are taking to tackle the challenges. Join us every Friday at noon and don’t forget to add it to your calendar! This Friday, April 3, we will be joined by our partners at Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL) to discuss topics including student eligibility for emergency funds, changes to work-integrated learning programs, and program details related to student loans.

Between webinars, our members can also engage in a new pan-Canadian online forum we’ve launched to share information on how you are all responding to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and to learn from each other. Discussions will also inform our ongoing advocacy efforts with the federal government.

For international students and departments, we  continue to engage on your behalf  with IRCC  to ensure that your concerns, and those of your students, are being heard and addressed in a timely manner and with as much flexibility as is possible:

  • Regarding travel and border closures:  IRCC  confirmed tha t exemptions to the air travel restrictions will include international students who held a valid study permit, or had been approved for a study permit, when the travel restrictions took effect.
  • Regarding online courses and eligibility for post-graduation work permits: IRCC has confirmed that courses of study being delivered online on an exceptional basis due to COVID 19  will not affect Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Program eligibility. We are still seeking to clarify that this will also apply to international students starting courses or completing a semester online from abroad.
  • We anticipate that international students  who were eligible to work on or off-campus, can continue to do so even if they have been forced to drop to part-time studies or take a break in studies.
  • Regarding study and work permit processing: IRCC staff continue to process permits and have extended deadlines for applicants to provide required documentation. We continue to advocate for IRCC to remain flexible and consider alternative means for bio-metric  data  collection and to demonstrate  language proficiency.

For more information, and to remain up to date, check  How COVID-19 is affecting business at IRCC  regularly.

We are working with officials at NSERCCanada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and Innovation, Science and Industry (ISI) to ensure they understand the impact of COVID-19 on college and institute applied-research operations and partnerships, including reporting and upcoming grant applications for the College and Community Innovation Program, the College and Community Social Innovation Program and the College-Industry Innovation Fund. View our full applied research update online.

We also received a request from the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Industry, Science and Innovation, to share a message thanking post-secondary institutions for their leadership and research effort to help understand, combat, and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19; and a call for support in providing medical equipment and access to 3D printers capable of produce critical supplies in times of shortage. The call to action was later echoed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

This is a challenging time that calls upon each one of us to act in the best interests of all Canadians, and citizens around the world. Keep up the good work we’ve seen from coast to coast to coast. Subscribe to our Perspectives newsletter for our most recent updates, resources, and information on how we can each do our part.