How Canada Supports International Students During Covid-19 Pandemic

Sep 28, 2021 by

International students in Canada play an important part in the economic success of the country. Every time a student graduates and decides to stay on and work in Canada or become a permanent resident, they contribute to new skills in the workforce, stimulating innovation and developing cross-cultural competencies.     

For these reasons, Canada committed to supporting international students during the Covid-19 pandemic in a number of incredible ways. To name just a few, unemployed students can apply for financial aid, and important policy changes were introduced to allow international students stuck in their home countries to continue their studies without losing out on any benefits.   

Discover more ways how Canada supports international students during the pandemic!  

Benefits of Studying in Canada During COVID-19

  1. Healthcare and Mental Health Support

Canada takes the health and well-being of its citizens and temporary residents extremely seriously, and this is seen in the country’s successful efforts to flatten the curve and get as close to herd immunity as possible. All international students are eligible for free vaccines, and in some provinces like British Columbia, students may even qualify for public healthcare coverage.

What’s more, the emotional well-being of international youth is a priority in Canada. Students can get free and professional counseling provided in English, French, and Arabic.

  1. Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

One great benefit of studying in Canada is that you get to work part-time during semesters and full-time during holidays. International students in Canada rely on the extra income to support themselves while studying. However, since the outbreak of Covid in Canada, many students working in affected industries like sales and retail found themselves either unemployed or with a drop in their wages.

The great news is that the Canadian government introduced the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), a financial relief fund that provides income support to those who are not entitled to Employment Insurance (EI). International students can receive anything from $540 – $900 for up to 54 weeks.

3. Post Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) 

The goal of many international students in Canada is to obtain a Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) after they complete their studies. The PGWP is a special work permit designed for students to stay on and kick-start their careers in Canada. However, in order to qualify for the work permit, you must complete a certain amount of time studying inside Canada.

Students who were unable to return to or get to Canada when the pandemic first broke out received good news on February 12, 2021, when the Government of Canada announced that studies completed outside of Canada up to December 31, 2021, will count towards a future Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

Students may also be able to complete their entire program online from abroad while still being eligible for a PGWP. These temporary changes apply to all international students who are enrolled in a PGWP-eligible program and meet all other PGWP criteria.

Read more here about the Post Graduate Work Permit program and how to apply.

How to Study in Canada During Covid-19

Canada is still accepting and processing student visa applications, despite the pandemic. If you plan to come to Canada to study as an international student, you must attend a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) with a Covid-19 readiness plan approved by the province or territory.    

Another way Canada supports international students is by allowing them to submit incomplete visa applications with a letter that explains why they were unable to collect certain documents as a result of Covid-19 limitations. 

What do you need to apply for a student visa?

A Canadian student visa is issued for the duration of your study program and stays valid for a little while after you graduate. It costs $150 to apply for a student visa in 2021. Here are a few important documents you’ll need:   

  • Letter of acceptance from the Designated Learning Institution (DLI) you’ll be attending;
  • Proof of identity;
  • Proof of financial support; and
  • A letter motivating why you want to study in Canada

Are you interested in studying in Canada? With so many incredible post-graduate opportunities available and the incredible support from the Canadian government that welcomes international students, you will be making the right choice for your future! For more information about the Canadian study permit application process, visit

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