Due to social distancing directives, until further notice, ISA appointments will take place by email or a pre-scheduled Zoom meeting. Students can make appointments by emailing international@umanitoba.ca with their name and student number.

International students can also contact these offices for additional support: Student Counselling Centre, Student Advocacy and Case Management, and Spiritual Care.  Please call or email these units directly to determine the best way to access their services.

Information for incoming international students

Considerations before you travel to Canada

There are many factors to consider before you travel to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please read through the following information carefully and contact an advisor at the International Centre to discuss your individual situation if you require further information. To be connected with an advisor at the International Centre, please email international@umanitoba.ca with your name and student number. 

Foreign nationals, including United States (US) citizens, can travel to Canada only if they’re eligible.

The Government of Canada also currently has travel restrictions in place for all non-essential (discretionary) travel from the United States

The Government of Canada has travel restrictions in place for foreign nationals travelling to Canada from outside of the United States. 

There are very limited exemptions to these travel restrictions for some international students

However, even if you are an international student who is exempt from the current travel restrictions, this does not guarantee your entry into Canada, as you must still demonstrate that you are travelling to Canada for an essential purpose. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has outlined important information to review before making a final decision to leave your home country. 

Please note that it is your responsibility to determine if you are a) exempt from the current travel restrictions to Canada and b) are travelling to Canada for an essential purpose before you depart from your home country. 

If you meet the aforementioned requirements to travel to Canada, there are some important resources for you to review to help you prepare for your arrival in Canada so you know what to expect when you land at the port of entry:

Upon arrival in Canada, you will meet with a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer at the Port of Entry (POE) who will determine if you are coming to Canada for an essential purpose.

  • Please note that the Fall 2020 term at the University of Manitoba will be delivered remotely, with the exception of a very small number of courses that require in-person delivery. It is important that you confirm if there will be any in-person requirements for the courses that you register for in the Fall 2020 term. 
  • You will need to have a detailed and confirmed plan regarding how you will be able to meet the mandatory 14-day quarantine upon your arrival in Winnipeg, even if you don’t have any symptoms of COVID-19.

Considerations for landing in Canada

Upon arrival in Canada, you will meet with a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer at the Port of Entry (POE), who will determine if you are coming to Canada for an essential purpose.

  • Please note that the Fall 2020 Term at the University of Manitoba will be delivered remotely, with the exception of a very small number of courses that require in-person delivery.
  • You will need to have a detailed and confirmed plan regarding how you will be able to meet the mandatory 14-day quarantine upon your arrival in Winnipeg, even if you don’t have any symptoms of COVID-19. 

It is also important to review the general information that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has on its website to help international students prepare for their arrival in Canada.

Considerations for your arrival and quarantine in Winnipeg

Quarantine: 

As of June 23, current directives from the Government of Canada indicate that, if you are allowed to enter Canada, all international travelers are subject to a mandatory quarantine for 14 days, even if you have no symptoms of COVID-19.

You will have needed to confirm an adequate place to quarantine. If you do not have an adequate place to quarantine (self-isolate), the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada will designate a facility where you must remain for 14 days.

  • This means that after your arrival in Winnipeg, you must immediately go to the housing that you have arranged. You are not permitted to leave the accommodations where you are quarantining for the full 14 days, which means that you cannot leave to go buy groceries or other supplies, set up a bank account, get your cell phone set up, etc.
  • Violating any instructions provided to you when you entered Canada could lead to up to 6 months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.
  • After your period of mandatory quarantine, you would be permitted to leave your house, while maintaining social distancing measures to prevent the spread of the virus. 
  • For information specific to Manitoba, please visit the Government of Manitoba website.

Housing:

You need to know the exact address and location of where you will be in quarantine prior to your arrival in Canada. Options to consider:

Temporary accommodation/hotel/hostel/Airbnb:

  • This can be very expensive and can drain your budget quite quickly. Keep in mind that you will need to arrange your permanent accommodation after you are done with your quarantine. You should plan to stay in these temporary accommodations while you are arranging permanent accommodation. This could take upward of two to three weeks. 
  • Many hotels and Airbnb locations may not meet the requirements for individuals who need to quarantine. Before booking any of these accommodations, you must ensure that they meet the government standards for COVID-19 quarantine. 

Staying with a friend:

  • Do you have a designated space where you can limit your contact with the other guests of the house? (i.e., separate bedroom, living space/kitchen if needed and washroom)
  • Please review this factsheet prepared by the Government of Manitoba for detailed information and considerations for individuals that are required to quarantine in a shared space.  

Rental apartment or house:

  • This is often difficult to arrange prior to arrival in Canada.
  • Is the space furnished and stocked with essential items that you will need? If not, you need to have a plan for how you will get the essential items that you need for the full 14 days of your quarantine. 
  • It might be difficult to visit and view rental properties in Winnipeg due to social-distancing measures that are being strictly enforced. 

Health insurance:

What to do if you get sick? If you travel to Canada and are not able to register for a minimum of one (1) course in the Fall Term, you will not have health insurance for the Fall 2020 Term.

  • It is mandatory for international students in Manitoba to have primary health coverage. For more information about the Manitoba International Student Health Plan (MISHP), visit the UM International Centre’s health insurance page.
  • All eligible international students are covered by MISHP. Therefore, if you are required to be tested for COVID-19 in approved testing sites, the medical expenses incurred for testing will be covered under your plan. For more information, visit mishp.ca 
  • Please note that newly enrolled international students are covered on an emergency basis for up to one (1) calendar month prior to the start of their first academic term. During this period, medical treatment and testing for COVID-19 will only be covered if symptoms began after departure from your home country.
  • If you are still considering travelling to Canada to start your program in the Fall 2020 Term, we strongly encourage you to look into purchasing travel insurance from your home country that would cover you until the start of classes in the Fall Term. We also recommend you confirm with the insurance provider if they would cover you for any medical costs you may incur related to COVID-19. Not all insurance providers would cover these costs. 

Banking and access to money:

Do you have a credit card that will be accepted at local stores and online shopping websites to ensure you are able to order the things you require?

  • Commonly used credit cards include Mastercard, Visa and American Express (however, American Express is not always accepted). In addition, some credit cards may not be compatible with Canadian stores online, so please check with your local banking institution.

You will be required to order items online or for delivery, such as food, supplies, housewares, hygiene products or medicine as required.

Keep in mind you will not have the ability to visit a local bank and set up an account while you are self-isolating. International students are required to appear in person to set up a bank account for the first time.

  • Does your budget allow for the increase in expenses that will be expected during your time in self-isolation?
  • Will the funds you bring be able to accommodate any additional costs that come up?

Cell phone and Wi-Fi:

During your 14-day quarantine period, you will not be able to leave your accommodations to set up your cell phone with a Canadian carrier or purchase a new cell phone, if needed.

  • Do you have a cell phone plan (data coverage, long-distance calling, text messaging features) that will last during your self-isolation period before you are able to switch to a local carrier?

Similarly, if your accommodations do not already have Wi-Fi or internet access, then you will not be able to arrange for internet to be connected and activated in the location where you will be quarantining.

  • Do you have access to Wi-Fi? This is critically important if you are planning to start online classes. It might be very difficult, if not impossible, to arrange for internet, phone and Wi-Fi services to be installed and set-up during your self-isolation.

Support:

Having to undergo a 14-day quarantine period will be very challenging, especially if you are moving to a new city and country.

  • Do you have any local supports in Winnipeg already?
  • Do you have friends or family to check in on you, or drop off things you may need?

Though we are not physically located on campus, UM continues to provide many supports, programs and resources for students. Visit the COVID-19 student information page for details. 

Please note: While UM can provide support by sharing electronic information and resources to help you arrange your own accommodations, transportation, options for grocery delivery, etc., we are not able to provide in-person assistance or confirm such arrangements for you.

Please contact an advisor at the International Centre to discuss your individual situation if you require further information. Email international@umanitoba.ca with your name and student number to be connected with an advisor. 

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Information for current international students

Updates effectiveAugust, 2020

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is continuing to update their response to the evolving situation and how that may impact students’ status in Canada as international students. New information is posted on their website on a regular basis. Please continue to monitor the following IRCC webpages as they update information related to temporary residents (e.g., international students) in Canada:  

Compliance with study permit conditions
If your in-class courses are being temporarily moved to an online-only format or suspended completely because of COVID-19, you’re still compliant with your study permit conditions if you

  • stay enrolled in your designated learning institution (DLI), and
  • continue to take part in your studies online, if your DLI is offering them  

How your PGWPP eligibility is affected
If you graduated or will graduate from a DLI that offers PGWPP-eligible programs, you’re still eligible for a post-graduation work permit if

  • your in-class courses in Canada are moved to an online-only format because of COVID-19, or
  • you had to put your studies on hold or study part-time because of COVID-19 during the winter, spring or summer 2020 semesters

If you’re outside of Canada
You’re still eligible for a post-graduation work permit if you can’t travel to Canada at this time due to travel restrictions and

  • you have a study permit
  • you’ve been approved for a study permit
  • you applied for a study permit before starting your study program in the spring, summer or fall 2020 semesters, or
  • you will apply for a study permit before starting your study program in the January 2021 semester

If you’re in this situation, you can begin your classes while outside Canada and

  • complete 100% of your program online if
    • your program is between 8 and 12 months in length, and
    • you started your studies between May and September 2020
  • complete up to 50% of your program online (until April 30, 2021) if you complete the other 50% of your program in Canada
  • complete up to 50% of your studies online (until April 30, 2021) if
    • you’ll graduate from 2 different eligible study programs within 2 years of each other
    • 1 of the programs started between May and September 2020
    • each program is at least 8 months long, and
    • you complete at least 50% of the combined length of the programs in Canada

If you apply for your study permit before starting your program, any time spent studying online from outside Canada since spring 2020 now counts toward the length of a post graduation work permit. (Before, only the time spent studying online after you were approved for a study permit counted.)

You won’t have time deducted from the length of your post-graduation work permit for studies you complete outside Canada until April 30, 2021.

Extending your status
IRCC is still processing applications, including applications for extension of study permits. For international students who are in Canada and whose study permits will expire soon, IRCC advises to apply online to extend your study permit before it expires. For more information on extending your study permit, visit IRCC’s page about the process.

Medical

Students can call University Health Services at 204-474-8411, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. for telephone consultations. Staff will assess and advise the student with respect to addressing their health-care needs. Virtual appointments can also be booked during these times.

Health plan

For eligible international students covered by MISHP who are required to be tested for COVID-19 in approved testing sites, the medical expenses incurred for testing will be covered under your plan. For more information, please visit mishp.ca.

Please note that newly enrolled international students are covered on an emergency basis for up to one (1) calendar month prior to the start of their first academic term. During this period, medical treatment and testing for COVID-19 will only be covered if symptoms began after departure from your home country.

Resources available (groceries etc.)

Many grocery stores offer delivery and pick-up options. For a list of grocery stores, please visit the international students page under the ‘Living and Learning in Winnipeg’ tab. Note that many retail stores, shopping malls and restaurants have changed their hours or have temporarily closed. Please check their websites or social media accounts, or call them directly, for the latest information.

We also understand that money may be tight, and you may need to look to a food bank, please visit the student information page under 'Personal support.'

International graduate students

International graduate students who are concerned with potential delays in completing their program due to approved adjustments to scheduling, are encouraged to contact an advisor at the International Centre (IC) to discuss some important considerations. You can reach an advisor at the IC by sending an email, with your full name and student number, to international@umanitoba.ca.

Travelling outside Canada

In this time of uncertainty, as always, we respect your autonomy and personal decisions. If you are considering going back to your home country in the near future, you should be aware that there are some very important considerations amidst the COVID-19 concerns. These considerations could include possible impacts on your Manitoba International Student Health Plan (MISHP) coverage if you leave Canada and return, what documentation you require to return to Canada, and when you may be able to return to Canada. Please contact an advisor at the International Centre to discuss your individual situation, as there are many factors to consider before booking a flight out of Canada. Please email the International Centre’s reception desk at international@umanitoba.ca with your name and student number to book an appointment with an advisor by email or pre-scheduled Zoom meeting.

Financial support for international students

Please see the Financial supports page for general information on financial support for all students.

The Government of Canada has announced that workers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents – including temporary foreign workers and international students – may be eligible to receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) if they meet the eligibility requirements.

CERB eligibility, includes, but is not limited to individuals who are:

  • Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
  • Who have stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits;
  • Who had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and
  • Who are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods, they expect to have no employment income.

The income of at least $5,000 may be from any or a combination of the following sources: employment; self-employment; maternity and parental benefits under the Employment Insurance program and/or similar benefits paid in Quebec under the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan.

The Benefit is only available to individuals who stopped work as a result of reasons related to COVID-19. If you are looking for a job but haven’t stopped working because of COVID-19, you are not eligible for the Benefit. For example, if you are a student who had a job last year and were planning on working this summer you do not qualify for the benefit.

Please visit https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html for full details about eligibility and how individuals can apply. If you have questions about your specific situation, please contact the Employment Insurance Call Centre.

Zoom chats for international students

Current international students are invited to join the UM International Centre and fellow students for a weekly video chat on Zoom. Share tips, learn about UM and community resources and supports, and connect with other international students. Chats will take place every Thursday at 9 a.m. You must register using your UM student email account. Email Crystal Stewart for more information.