Designated learning institutions reopening to international students

Author: Johnson Varughese | | Categories: Canada Immigration Consultant , Immigration To Canada , Work Permit Renewal Canada

Blog by Life Ashore Immigration Consultancy Inc.

Canadian Schools with Approved COVID-19 Readiness Plans

As of October 20, 2020, Canadian designated learning institutions (DLIs) with a government-approved COVID-19 readiness plan can begin welcoming back international students who are not currently in Canada. To be eligible to come to Canada, students must:

  • Be studying at a DLI with an approved readiness plan
  • Have a, or have been approved for, a valid study permit
  • Be coming to Canada for a non-discretionary or non-optional purpose.

If a student is enrolled at a school without an approved COVID-19 readiness plan, the student cannot travel to Canada at this time.

What Is a COVID-19 Readiness Plan?

A COVID-19 readiness plan outlines how a DLI will:

  • Protect the health and safety of all students and the community
  • Manage the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for international students, including arrangements for transportation to where students will quarantine
  • Provide information and support to international students on:
    • How they can obtain necessities during quarantine, such as food and medications
    • Health insurance
    • Staying healthy while in Canada

How Do I Know Whether a School Has Been Approved?

To find out if a DLI has a government-approved readiness plan, you can:

  1. Visit Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (  
  2. Select the school level (Primary or secondary or Post-secondary school) from the dropdown list
  3. Choose the province or territory where the DLI is located to find out whether the primary or secondary school is approved to welcome international students not currently in Canada.

The IRCC will update the list regularly as more COVID-19 readiness plans are approved and encourage students to check back frequently.
The updated DLI List is provided on this link:

Do Students Need a Letter of Support?

A letter of support is not currently included among the required documentation for international students to enter Canada. However, some schools are still providing them. 

What is Non-Discretionary Travel?

International students studying at a school with an approved readiness plan and with the appropriate documents to come to Canada will be considered non-discretionary and non-optional, unless there is evidence to the contrary that the student is entering Canada for a discretionary or optional purpose, such as tourism.

Can Immediate Family Members Travel With a Student to Canada?

Immediate family members, such as a spouse or common-law partner, a dependant, or parent or legal guardian (if the student is a minor) may be allowed to accompany the student to Canada, granted their reason for travel is non-optional or non-discretionary. Please note, these individuals can’t enter Canada prior to the student.
Any accompanying family members will also have to abide by the mandatory 14-day quarantine period on entering Canada, as well as all other public health measures.

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