COVID-19 FAQs for International students

Last updated July 3 at 4 p.m. 

Georgian has prepared an international FAQ to outline how COVID-19 may impact your travel and study plans. See below. 

For general information regarding COVID-19 and updates from Georgian, visit our coronavirus information page. 

Tune in live with Georgian’s International Centre

We understand that social distancing can bring social isolation. To help keep us all connected, Georgian’s International Centre is hosting live chat sessions over Instagram and Facebook. The sessions will be 30 minutes each, three times a week. Here is the weekly schedule:

  • Monday at noon on Facebook
  • Wednesday at noon on Instagram
  • Friday at noon on Instagram

During these sessions, you can ask any questions you may have. You are also welcome to join if you just want to talk. We’ll be sharing ways to keep you more engaged as well as fun things to do online or at home.

Stay in touch! We are all in this together.

Upcoming semesters


Returning students: 

The summer semester started on Tuesday, May 19. The courses will be delivered remotely for 12 consecutive weeks without a study break. All students required to complete on-campus labs and practical learning components will do so during the last three weeks of August. Completion details will be determined in consultation with deans and associate deans. 

New students starting summer 2020: 

All students who are started in May 2020 were sent an email from Georgian College (to the email address on their application) stating the status of their choices. Some programs will begin online and some are offering deferral options. 

If you did not receive an email with this information please email your name, student number and program to gcintlrecruit@georgiancollege.ca and we will get back to you. 

Yes. Orientation and Head Start for the summer semester took place virtually on May 11.

Take a look at the online Orientation resources in the student portal. Watch session recordings and find information on supports and services, student life activities and virtual events being hosted this semester. There is also a section dedicated to our international students on topics such as immigration, housing, insurance and cultural adjustment. Take a look here in the student portal.

Orientation information for fall 2020 is coming soon!

Update as of June 11:

We plan to continue remote delivery wherever possible and only necessary in-person, on-campus activity will be permitted.

Please use the fall 2020 program search tool to find out whether your program will be delivered remotely, or through a combination of remote and in-person learning.

As always, we’re making the best decisions we can with the information and guidance available from public health authorities and the government. The information provided in the program search tool is subject to change.

As a temporary option for the fall 2020 and winter 2021 intakes, Georgian is offering an online test so you don’t have to travel to a testing centre. The Duolingo English Test is an English proficiency test that can be taken online, on-demand, for a fee paid by the student.  Results should be directed to Georgian College to assess with your application. The college reserves the right to add additional testing upon arrival on campus to ensure that learning is supported appropriately. Note that the Student Direct Stream (SDS) program requires IELTS results. IRCC has not yet clarified if alternate test results will be acceptable under SDS.

Fees


A request for a deposit refund will be considered on a case-by-case basis. International students should complete the withdrawal request form and specify on the form that a refund is requested due to COVID-19. Submit the completed forms by email to withdrawals@georgiancollege.ca.

For all other intakes: If you choose to withdraw your application after you have been accepted and have paid your tuition deposit, our policy indicates you will not receive a full refund. You will be eligible for a partial refund of your tuition deposit as described in our academic regulations.

If you are a semester one international applicant in a program running on campus and you have a study permit dated after March 18, you may request a full refund (tuition, fees and deposit) when withdrawing from fall 2020. You must specify on the withdrawal form that you want a refund due to COVID-19. Submit the completed forms by email to withdrawals@georgiancollege.ca.

The benefit will be available to workers:

  • residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old (this includes international students);
  • who have stopped working because of COVID-19 and have not voluntarily quit their job or are eligible for EI 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 or self-employment income.

Apply for the CERB online.

The winter 2020 semester is to be completed remotely starting March 23, 2020 until the end of the regular term. The date to withdraw without academic penalty deadline has been extended to April 3, 2020. The date to withdraw with a refund was the 10th day of class for that term.

Immigration and travel


No, your early travel to Canada is not recommended. Fall 2020 international students who obtained a study visa before March 18, 2020 are exempt from current Canadian travel restrictions. However, their travel must be “essential” and “non-discretionary”.  This means that only international students who obtained their visa before March 18, 2020, and have courses that must be delivered on-site, may be allowed by CBSA to enter Canada. Those who obtained a study visa before March 18, 2020 but all of their courses will be offered online for fall 2020 might be refused by CBSA to enter Canada as they do not have to physically be in Canada and their travel might be taken as non-essential and discretionary. CBSA officers will be the final agency to make the decisions.

In addition, students in programs running remotely for the fall will not receive any support letters from the college to travel. It is your decision to weigh the risks for travelling to Canada. If you are denied entry and required to return to your home country, you will bear all costs of return.

As per current IRCC guidelines, only students who have received their visas before or on March 18, 2020 are exempt from travel restrictions to Canada. No other international students are approved to travel to Canada at this time.

You can access Georgian College’s refund and withdrawal policy here. You also have an option to defer your acceptance to an alternate intake by submitting a deferral request. If deferring your offer, it is recommended that you consult with your agent in your home country for immigration support that’s specific to your situation.

Students must provide evidence that their travel is essential (non-discretionary) in addition to holding a valid study permit or port of entry (POE) letter of introduction before or on March 18 as per current IRCC guidelines.

If your program has an in-person component, you will be eligible to request a supporting letter from the Registrar’s Office to confirm your essential need to be on campus. It is recommended that you present this letter in addition to your other documents at the port of entry (POE). To request the letter email intlrecords@georgiancollege.ca and include your name, student number and program.

If you are going to travel, make sure to review the quarantine checklist (document being reviewed).

The final decision to allow you to enter Canada is at the discretion of CBSA officers at the port of entry.

Yes, although it is each student’s individual responsibility to arrange housing and quarantine, the International Centre supports students in making essential travel plans.

Please check the list of hotels and quarantine checklist and contact intlhousing@georgiancollege.ca if you require further support. Our on-campus residence is also available for students’ accommodation. You can review details on the student portal and book online.

Important considerations before travelling:

  • Arrive two weeks early. You are required to self-quarantine for 14 days when you arrive. It is your responsibility to arrive in Canada with enough time to complete the 14-day quarantine before you’re expected to be on campus for your in-person component.
  • Have a quarantine plan in place. IRCC has developed an app to help people prepare for travel and students are strongly encouraged to download the app to help make travel arrangements and ensure a quarantine plan is in place. To download the app visit App Store or Google Play Store. You can read more about quarantine expectations on the IRCC website.
  • Request a support letter. Since your program has an in-person component, you will be eligible to request a supporting letter from the Registrar’s Office to confirm your essential need to be on campus. It is recommended that you present this letter in addition to your other documents at the port of entry (POE). To request the letter, email intlrecords@georgiancollege.ca and include your name, student number and program. Allow a few days for the letter to be processed. If you’re unsure whether your program has an in-person component, check by searching your program online.
  • Have the proper immigration documents. Understand the current travel exemptions set by IRCC and ensure that you hold the proper immigration documents to travel and enter Canada including a valid TRV or eTA and valid study permit or study permit approval by March 18. You can read more about travel on the IRCC website.

IRCC has stated that if your in-class courses are being moved to an online-only format because of COVID-19, you’re still eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP).

If you have a study permit, or been approved for a study permit for a program starting in the spring, summer or fall, but you can’t travel to Canada at this time due to travel restrictions, you’re also still eligible for the PGWPP.

If you’re in this situation, you may

  • begin your classes while outside Canada, and
  • complete up to 50 per cent of your program while outside Canada, if you can’t travel to Canada sooner.

If you start your studies in fall 2020, you won’t have time deducted from the length of your post-graduation work permit for studies you complete while outside Canada between fall 2020 and December 2020.

Students completing 100 per cent of their program while outside Canada will not meet current PGWPP eligibility. Please visit the COVID-19 IRCC website for details on the PGWPP.

You are required to have a valid study permit throughout the duration of your program while you are in Canada. During academic sessions, you will still be required to comply with your study permit conditions.

To help battle the COVID-19 outbreak, the government has removed the restriction that allows international students to work a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session, provided they are working in an essential service or function, such as health care, critical infrastructure, or the supply of food or other critical goods. Find out if your job is considered essential.

You must still meet the conditions to be eligible to work. Read conditions for work.

For more information, please visit the IRCC website.

The biometrics deadline has automatically been extended from 30 to 90 days.

Inside Canada: All in-Canada biometrics collection points at Service Canada are currently closed due to COVID-19. There is no need to be concerned about the deadlines at this point in time, but you should keep an eye on the Service Canada website and book yourself a biometrics appointment once they reopen. If the 90 day deadline is approaching and Service Canada is still closed or you’re unable to book an appointment, please notifyIRCC via the web form.

We are here to help. Immigration appointments and information sessions will be provided virtually, by telephone or through video conferencing (WebEx) for all campuses. To book an appointment with a Student Immigration Advisor or to sign up for an immigration info session (study permit extension, post-grad work permit, TRV, co-op work permit) email immigrationsupport@georgiancollege.ca.

As information is changing rapidly, please visit the latest FAQs on the IRCC website for the most recent updates.

International students require a valid study permit and co-op work permit in order to complete work-integrated learning. If your permits expire before your new completion date, we recommend that you apply to extend your permits soon or before the expiry. Keep in mind that your permits should be valid for 90 days after your new expected completion date to have eligibility to apply for the work permit within Canada.

CBSA has indicated students can no longer go to the border for any permit processing. This means that you cannot flagpole at this time. If you need assistance in applying online, contact immigrationsupport@georgiancollege.ca to sign up for a remote immigration information session.

No, you cannot work off campus if you are not currently studying and registered in an academic program. One of the requirements of the off-campus work eligibility criteria states that you must have started studying. Therefore, you are only eligible once your program begins/starts.

If your program requires you to complete a work experience as an integral part of your studies (co-op, internship, placement, clinical, field placement, industry placement, etc.) then you will need a separate co-op work permit to complete this component.

Please read the following scenarios to determine which steps apply to you.

Scenario 1

Q: I’m a new student currently in my home country and my program requires a co-op work permit. How can I get this?

A: Co-op work permit should be requested together with the initial study permit – highly recommended.

As part of your initial visa application from your home country, you (or your agent) should have requested a co-op work permit along with your study permit. If you worked with an agent, you may want to verify this with them.

When you enter Canada at the port of entry, two of the documents you’ll provide to the CBSA officer are your Letter of Introduction sent by immigration, and your Letter of Acceptance. Your Letter of Acceptance will clearly indicate if work is an integral part of your studies. The CBSA officer should issue both a study permit and co-op work permit at this time. If you did not request both permits in your initial application, you may still want to inform the CBSA officer that you also require a co-op work permit for your program – as indicated in your Letter of Acceptance.

If you are not issued the co-op work permit at the port of entry, you can apply for it once within Canada. If this is your situation, please sign up for a remote information session, through the international student assessment form to learn how to apply online once you arrive in Canada. Check processing times here.

Scenario 2

Q: I’m a registered student with a valid study permit, but I’m currently in my home country studying online and need a co-op work permit for a future semester. How can I apply for this?

A: If you were not issued the co-op work permit upon your initial entry to Canada, you will have to wait until you return to Canada to apply for it. If this is your situation, please sign up for a remote information session international student assessment form to learn how to apply online.

To prove that you are a registered student returning to Canada, request your enrolment letter to present to the officer at the port of entry.

Students must have their co-op work permit in order to begin the co-op/field placement/industry placement/ clinical placement/ internship.

Check processing times here.

Scenario 3

Q: I’m a registered student with a valid study permit, currently in Canada, and need a co-op work permit for a future semester. How can I apply for this?

A: Attend a remote information session to learn how to apply for your co-op work permit within Canada. You can sign up by indicating your interest through the international student assessment form to learn how to apply online.

Due to long processing times, students are advised to apply for their work permit several months prior to the first work term and ensure that the study and working status in Canada is valid at all times.

Students must have their co-op work permit in order to begin the co-op/field placement/industry placement/ clinical placement/ internship.

Academics


Please check your course announcements on Blackboard for more information specific to your class and contact your teacher if you have questions.

Georgian College student service information outlines student service availability and contact information for the remainder of the winter 2020 semester.

Georgian College has assembled a remote learning tool kit. You can also read through a prepared guide for students on the 21 ways to adjust to remote learning.

Housing


Visit the housing website for the most updated information or email intlhousing@georgiancollege.ca if you have any additional questions related to housing.

Yes. It is a mandatory requirement from the Government of Canada to self-isolate for 14 days. For details about the requirement, visit to the Government of Canada’s website. This is why you MUST arrange accommodations before arriving in Canada, go to the quarantine location immediately and follow the rules.

It is each student’s responsibility to arrange housing and quarantine. The International Centre supports students in making essential travel plans.

Please check the list of hotels and quarantine checklist and contact intlhousing@georgiancollege.ca if you require further support. Our on-campus residence is also available for students’ accommodation. You can review details on the student portal and book online.

Read more details under the immigration and travel FAQs.

Yes. There have been temporary changes made to residential rental processes. You can find out more about this, including supporting information, on the province of Ontario’s website.

Insurance and healthcare


As an international student enrolled in a postsecondary program at Georgian College, you have insurance coverage from guard.me. For the following types of questions, please visit the guard.me website for the most updated information.

  • I am a current international student. Will I be covered if I become ill with COVID-19?
  • Will my dependents be covered if they get sick?
  • What happens if I am diagnosed with COVID-19 and I need to self-quarantine myself?
  • If I am asked to return home, are there any benefits that can cover the costs?

Mobile Doctor  should be the first place to go if you feel sick. If you have not signed up, use your guard.me insurance policy number to sign up for free.

If you suspect that you may have COVID-19, use Ontario’s self-assessment tool to self-assess and seek advice.

Make sure to check the health-care provider’s website or contact them directly to find out more about their hours of operations and how the services can be accessed.

Barrie walk-in clinic – https://barriewalkinclinics.ca/

As a Georgian student, the coverage for summer semester starts May 1, 2020.

If you are planning to enter Canada, and are eligible, before May 1, 2020, it is mandatory that you purchase emergency health insurance that will appropriately cover Canadian health care.

If you are a new student and have questions about insurance for international students, please contact intlinsurance@georgiancollege.ca

There are ways for you to reach out to different services including our college counselling service:

Additional resources


Georgian College

Government of Canada

  • Government of Canada COVID-19 updates:
    • Canada’s response
    • travel advice
    • symptoms and treatment
    • prevention and risk

Ontario Ministry of Health

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) information sheets:
    • available in 28 languages
    • about the virus
    • how they can protect themselves
    • what to do if you think you have the virus

Ontario Public Health

  • COVID-19 fact sheets:
    • available in English, French, Chinese, Farsi, Italian and Korean
    • how to self-monitor
    • how to self-isolate
    • self isolation: guide for caregiver, household members and close contacts

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

  • Coronavirus special measures:
    • temporary and permanent residents affected by COVID-19
    • applicants affected by COVID-19
    • travel restrictions

Connect with us


Georgian Canada

Contact information

International Centre
705.728.1968, ext. 1218
international@georgiancollege.ca

All international contact information

Hours of operation

Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (EST)

As part of Georgian’s response to COVID-19, in-person visits are not available at this time. Service will be provided virtually by telephone or email.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.