COVID-19 - Frequently Asked Questions

Note: Western International is operating virtually Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm to ensure the health and safety of our community, and to prevent the risk and spread of COVID-19.

During regular business hours, please contact us at iesc@uwo.ca or +1-519-661-2111 ext. 89309 for assistance.

Please be advised that this guide is updated regularly as new information becomes available. The questions and answers provided below are general in nature and subject to change. Individual students are responsible for ensuring compliance with IRCC regulations.

For assistance, please contact one of our International Student Advisors at iesc@uwo.ca.
 
Last updated: January 20, 2021

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Immigration, Travel, Study Permits and Visas

My PGWP has expired or will expire soon but I was not able to meet the work experience requirement to apply for permanent residence in Canada. What do I do now?

On January 8, 2021, Minister of IRCC announced that effective January 27, 2021, foreign nationals in Canada with an expired or expiring Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) will have a one-time opportunity to apply for another open work permit with a duration of 18 months. Applications will be accepted until July 27, 2021. Please see the official news release.

To apply for an open work permit under this temporary public policy, an applicant must:

    • have a PGWP that expired on or after January 30, 2020, or a PGWP that expires in 4 months or less from the date they apply
    • still be in Canada
    • have a valid temporary status, or be applying to restore their status

Applications for this temporary public policy will be open from January 27 to July 27, 2021. Details on how to apply will be added to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s website on January 27, 2021.

I applied for a study permit from outside of Canada. What do I expect for the next steps?

There is a temporary 2-stage process for processing study permit applications in place.

Your application will be processed in the regular study permit process if you:

Your application will be processed in 2 stages if:

  • you submitted your application on or before December 15, 2020
  • your application is incomplete due to COVID-19 (for example, you’re missing your biometrics or medical), and
  • your program begins in the winter 2021 semester

In stage 1, an officer reviews your application to check your eligibility. If your application passes this first stage, you will know either by email or in your online account. This doesn’t guarantee that your application will be approved.

In stage 2, an officer will check your application for admissibility and any changes to your eligibility. If your application passes this second stage, your application for a study permit is approved. If you applied for a co-op work permit, your co-op work permit application will then be assessed.

At this point, if you meet the requirements, you may be able to travel to Canada and begin your studies, or continue your studies, if you’ve already started studying online.

Please see here for additional information.

I heard that I can travel to Canada after October 20, 2020. Can I book my flight? Will Western support my travel?

As of October 20, 2020, some designated learning institutions (DLIs) are now able to reopen to international students who aren’t currently in Canada and who have, or have been approved for, a study permit.

We are pleased to announce that as of November 17, Western’s COVID-19 Readiness plan has been approved by the Government of Ontario, allowing eligible students to travel to Canada. 

If you are an international student who is currently outside of Canada, visit our International Arrival page for more information about mandatory quarantine registration, COVID-19 testing, required steps for travelling to Canada, and other supports and considerations in planning your arrival.

If you are an international student who is currently in Canada who wishes to travel for the upcoming break, we recommend that you remain in Canada. Although we know this is an extremely difficult time for many, there are travel advisories in place that affect international travel. Additionally travel restrictions to Canada can change at any moment and it is possible that more restrictions could be imposed while you are out of the country, which could prevent you from being able to return to Canada for the start of winter classes. If you decide to leave the country, you will be travelling at your own risk and expense. To re-enter Canada, you will be required to register your quarantine plan with Western, and you will not be eligible for the subsidized rate for quarantine accommodations ($1,400). The total cost would be approximately $2,100.

Any student living in residence who travels internationally during winter break is not permitted to self-quarantine in residence upon return from outside of Canada. You must notify housing@uwo.ca as soon as possible of any international travel plans.

If you must travel for essential reasons, carefully review the  requirements for your 14-day self-quarantine, set forth under the Quarantine Act and the  travel restriction exemptions information from IRCC. Then complete the required steps for travelling to Canada, outlined on the International Arrival website.

What is the ArriveCAN app?

In addition to registering your quarantine plan with Western, if you're flying to Canada as your final destination, you must use the ArriveCAN app (effective November 21, 2020) to submit your:

  • travel and contact information
  • quarantine plan (unless exempted under conditions set out in the  mandatory isolation order)
  • COVID-19 symptom self-assessments

You must:

  • submit your information before you board your flight to Canada
  • be ready to show your ArriveCAN receipt when seeking entry into Canada
  • a border services officer will verify that you have submitted your information digitally

If you don't submit your information through ArriveCAN, you may:

  • face additional delays at the border for public health questioning
  • be subject to enforcement action, which can range from verbal warnings to $1,000 fines

After an individual is permitted to enter Canada, Government of Canada officials will contact you to monitor compliance with your mandatory quarantine. You should be prepared to answer calls from a Government Official via telephone number  1-888-336-7735. It is essential that students develop a detailed quarantine plan and comply with the various governing rules and regulations during that 14-day period. Western will also be contacting students for daily wellness checks via telephone.

When should I plan to arrive in Canada for winter term?

If you are planning to arrive in Canada for the start winter semester, Western strongly recommends that you plan to arrive in Canada before December 21, 2020 or after January 3, 2021.

Quarantine supports, including student health care, COVID-19 testing, wellness checks and other essential services may be unavailable or limited due to Western’s winter holiday closure. In addition, essential services such as grocery and pharmacy delivery will not be available on December 25, December 26 and January 1, and may be limited throughout the holiday period. Any student who persists with plans to arrive between December 21 and January 3 is required to register their quarantine plan as soon as possible, and no later than December 14.

If you have questions, contact iesc@uwo.ca or book an appointment with an international student advisor. Please review quarantine registration and COVID-19 testing requirements on the International Arrival page.

I am an international student who does not have access to a credit card. How can I book quarantine accommodations and transportation to London?

We strongly encourage you to book an appointment with one of our International Student Advisors prior to making your travel plans and before December 21, if you’re planning to travel over the holiday break. We can assist you in booking Western-arranged accommodations and RobertQ Airbus and will provide guidance on ensuring you have access to meals and other necessities, as well as on the steps to take to set up banking and credit cards in Canada.

Do I need to have a COVID-19 test prior to travelling to Canada?

Yes, the Government of Canada recently announced an important change related to COVID-19 travel restrictions that will impact students coming to Canada from abroad.

As of January 7, 2021, all international travellers will be required to test negative for COVID-19 before travelling from another country to Canada. Documentation of a negative laboratory test result must be presented to the airline prior to boarding a flight to Canada. The test must be performed using a COVID-19 molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and must be taken within 72 hours prior to the traveller’s scheduled departure to Canada.

Anyone who receives a negative test result and is authorized to enter Canada must still complete the full, mandatory 14-day quarantine and all other travel requirements remain the same. Visit our International Arrival page for the full checklist of travel-related steps and contact one of our advisors if you have questions.

Please note that you will still be required to have a COVID-19 test at the end of your 14-day quarantine period. 

If I got a COVID-19 test 72 hours before travelling to Canada, am I still required to get a second COVID-19 test at the end of my 14-day quarantine?

Yes, students travelling to Ontario from abroad will be required to be tested for COVID-19 both prior to coming to Canada and after their quarantine period ends:

  • All students travelling to Canada from abroad are required by the Ontario government to be tested for COVID-19 at the end of their 14-day quarantine period.
  • In addition, as of January 7, 2021, all international travellers are required to test negative for COVID-19 before travelling from another country to Canada.

What are the restrictions for students travelling from the United States?

As of October 20, 2020, some designated learning institutions (DLIs) are now able to reopen to international students who aren’t currently in Canada and who have, or have been approved for, a study permit.

We are pleased to announce that as of November 17, Western’s COVID-19 Readiness plan has been approved by the Government of Ontario.

In general, you should not apply for a study permit at a Canadian port of entry at this time. We also encourage students to contact CBSA via the Border Information Service before you travel to receive additional information and guidance on your travel plans.

Visit our International Arrival page for more information about mandatory quarantine registration, COVID-19 testing, required steps for travelling to Canada, and other supports and considerations in planning your arrival.

Can I start my program online without a study permit?

The COVID-19 pandemic is unique and unprecedented. Consequently, it has created a number of issues and uncertainties for international students. Please review carefully the information below in relation to your personal situation and your academic and post-graduation goals before deciding to begin studying if your study permit has not been approved yet.

Please note for programs originally designed as 100% online, a study permit is not required by the definition of distance learning, whether inside or outside of Canada. However, for courses which were normally in person that have now moved temporary to an online format due to COVID-19, students who are already in Canada are required to follow the SP requirement for normal in-person courses. If all your courses are online temporarily and you are in Canada you still need to maintain a valid status in Canada.

If you are in Canada, a valid study permit is required if the program length is more than 6months, even if the program has been shifted to an online format due to COVID-19.

Only the following individuals can begin their studies while awaiting a decision on their study permit application from within Canada, provided the application has been submitted before the expiry of their status:

  • Students who are on implied status after submitting their study permit extension
  • Visitors who are studying at secondary level
  • A visiting or exchange student (visitor status) who is studying at a designated learning institution
  • A visitor who has completed a course or program of study that is a prerequisite to their enrolling at a designated learning institution

If you are outside of Canada, obtaining a study permit is highly recommended.

Once in-person studies resume, a valid study permit and temporary resident visa (TRV) or electronic travel authorization (eTA) will be necessary to enter Canada and continue studies.

You won’t be able to get a refund for completed terms if you are unable to come to Canada to complete your program in the future. Western University will not be liable for any losses resulting from your failure to qualify for a study permit, or from your inability to otherwise complete the program due to immigration restrictions.

If you are a student who needs university employment, you will not be able to get a Canadian Social Insurance Number without a valid study permit, and without a valid SIN the university cannot employ you.

In most scenarios, you must have a study permit. However, you are still eligible for a PGWP if you study online while outside Canada in the following scenarios provided you have applied for a study permit before starting your program in the spring, summer, or fall 2020 semester or the January 2021 semester:

  • If your program is between 8 and 12 months in length, with a start date from May to September 2020, you can complete the entire program online from outside of Canada.
  • If your program is longer than 12 months, you can complete up to 50% of your program online from outside of Canada until April 30, 2021, provided the other 50% of program is completed in Canada.
  • If you will graduate from 2 different PGWP eligible programs within 2 years of each other, with 1 program started between May and September 2020, you can complete up to 50% of combined length of the programs online from outside of Canada until April 30, 2021, provided 50% of your total studies are completed in Canada.

You must eventually be approved for a study permit if you want to be eligible for these temporary measures for PGWP.

Please read more details on IRCC website for PGWP eligibility for students beginning programs online.

If you have specific immigration questions pertaining to your situation, please email the International & Exchange Student Centre at  iesc@uwo.ca  or  schedule an appointment.

I am in Canada with a valid Post-Graduation Work Permit. I decided to go back to school for another program and I have applied for a study permit. Can I start my program online while my application is in process?

No, a student must be approved for a study permit before starting their studies. If the student applied from within Canada for a study permit while on a work permit, they can start studying once they receive approval without the physical study permit. But they cannot start studies while the study permit application is in process. This also applies to programs that are not distance learning but moved to online temporarily due to COVID-19.

Will my time studying without a study permit from outside Canada be counted towards my PGWP?

Any student who started school in spring, summer, or fall of 2020, or who will start their program in January 2021 will be able to count the time spent studying online outside Canada towards their PGWP once they have submitted a study permit application AND commenced studying online contingent on an eventual approval. How much of your program you can complete online depends on when you started studying and how long your study program is. Please refer to different situations below. Students taking a short-term program that started between May and September 2020

You can complete 100% of your program online. Your program must be between 8 and 12 months long, and you must have started your studies between May and September 2020.

Students taking a program that is 12 months or longer, or you started a short-term program before May 2020

You can complete up to 50% of your program online (until April 30, 2021). You must complete the other 50% of your program in Canada.

Students are completing 2 study programs

You can complete up to 50% of your total studies online (until April 30, 2021). To be able to do this

  • Students must complete both study programs from an eligible DLI within 2 years
  • one of the programs must have started between May and September 2020, and
  • each program must meet all PGWP eligibility requirements and be at least 8 months long

They must complete at least 50% of the combined length of the 2 programs in Canada.

If you need assistance with your Post-Graduation Work Permit application and/or if your request is time-sensitive, please contact iesc@uwo.ca for support.

I’m an international student abroad without a study permit. Can I begin my program online without coming to Canada?

The COVID-19 pandemic is unique and unprecedented. Consequently, it has created a number of issues and uncertainties for international students. Please review carefully the information below in relation to your personal situation and your academic and post-graduation goals before deciding to begin studying if your study permit has not been approved yet.

Students who are having difficulty securing their study permits should contact our International & Exchange Student Centre at iesc@uwo.ca.

Why obtaining your study permit prior to beginning of your program OR submitting your application before your program start date is highly recommended:

1. Once in-person studies resume, a valid study permit and temporary resident visa (TRV) or electronic travel authorization (eTA) will be necessary to enter Canada and continue studies.

If you start your program remotely from outside of Canada and before you receive approval for your study permit, you may not be guaranteed future entry into Canada, or subsequent approval for your study permit. This means that you may not be able to finish the program that you start from outside of Canada.

You won’t be able to get a refund for completed terms if you are unable to come to Canada to complete your program in the future. Western University will not be liable for any losses resulting from your failure to qualify for a study permit, or from your inability to otherwise complete the program due to immigration restrictions.

  1. Having a valid study permit before beginning studies OR submitting your application before your program start date , is especially important for those who want to remain eligible for the post-graduation work permit (PGWP). If you start studying without being approved for a Study Permit or without submitting your application before your program start date
  • You may have a shortened PGWP in the future
  • You may not be eligible for PGWP at all if more than 50% of your program ends up being online

Note: Students taking a short-term program that started between May and September 2020

  • You can complete 100% of your program online. Your program must be between 8 and 12 months long, and they must have started your studies between May and September 2020.
  1. If you are a student who needs university employment, you will not be able to get a Canadian Social Insurance Number without a valid study permit, and without a valid SIN the university cannot employ you.

    Students should apply for a study permit as soon as they have been offered acceptance to Western University. Students who have initially been denied a study permit should re-apply as soon as possible. Note that graduate students are required to submit a valid study permit to the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (Email kmaruoka@uwo.ca)

    If you have specific immigration questions pertaining to your situation, please email the International & Exchange Student Centre at iesc@uwo.ca or schedule an appointment.

    If you want to discuss how late you can begin, or the possibility of deferring your start date to another term, International Undergraduate Students should contact welcome@uwo.ca and International Graduate Students should contact their graduate program directly. 

 

I have submitted an application to IRCC. What do I do with biometrics and/or medical exam requirements?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has made recent updates regarding collection of biometrics. As a temporary measure, individuals are "exempt from giving biometrics if you’re applying from within Canada for the following reasons: to extend your stay as a student, worker or visitor; to restore your status as a student, worker or visitor; for a work or study permit; for a visitor visa; or for a temporary resident permit. This applies to all new applications as well as applications already in progress.

For medical exams, some panel physician offices may be closed due to COVID-19. You will automatically be given 90 days to complete this step. If you have a medical exam scheduled or would like to schedule an Immigration Medical Examination (IME), please contact the panel physician’s office to verify that they are still open and performing exams.

Your application won’t be refused or closed if you can’t give your biometrics or complete your medical exam during this period.

I need to extend my study permit. What documents do I need from Western and how can I get them?

The type of Official Western Letter you need to request is “Visa Letter” which can be ordered through the Office of the Registrar. For undergraduate students, if you have completed your “intent to register”, you can also request “Visa + Intent to Register coming”. You can submit an online request via your Student Center.

Please note: The Office of the Registrar is operating with reduced hours. Please check their website for details. If you need assistance with your application (e.g. study permit extension, temporary resident visa) and/or if your request is time-sensitive, please contact IESC for support.

What is a SIN and how do I get one?

A Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a nine-digit number that is required for every worker in Canada. If you plan to work while in Canada, either as an on-campus or off-campus employee, or a teaching or research assistant, you must have a Social Insurance Number in order to receive payment for work in Canada. Learn more on our website

I have applied for graduation and I would like to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit. What documents do I need from Western and how can I get them?

You can submit an online request for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) letter and a final transcript via your Student Center. Please note the PGWP letter will not be issued until the system shows “completed” which you can find under “grade report” in Student Center.

Please note: The Office of the Registrar is operating with reduced hours. Please check their website for details. If you need assistance with your Post-Graduation Work Permit application and/or if your request is time-sensitive, please contact IESC for support.

Financial Support

Will tuition be less if classes are delivered online?

Transition to online delivery of our programs has not changed the amount that we are investing to ensure academic integrity and quality for our students.

Western continues to provide the core services funded through tuition and other revenue sources. In addition to your learning from instructors, Western continues to provide support services, financial aid advice and academic guidance for undergraduate and graduate students.

As such, there are no changes to tuition for the 2020 fall/winter term.

All of our student programming and supports will continue to be available, though in different models of delivery, during our blended delivery of education.

As such, Western is planning to continue with full ancillary fees for the 2020-21 school year, with the exception of three fees associated with sports and recreation. The Campus Recreation, Intercollegiate Athletics, and Thompson Athletic Centre fees will be reduced by 50% of the approved fee levels for the fall and winter terms, in part due to the cancellation of competitive sport by provincial sport associations.  Students will have these fees adjusted on their online statement of account.

While we have reduced these fees, we are not planning a reduction in programming. Recreation and sport are vital to the student experience and central to student well-being. The university remains committed to ensuring students have access to spaces and continued recreational programming both on-campus and online.

We continue to offer career development, academic support, leadership, and medical and health appointments and programs – all available through links on the Digital Student Experience website.

Western’s leadership team is working closely with student leaders to develop strategies and supports to address students’ immediate financial and academic challenges precipitated by the pandemic.

Students with questions regarding fees or financial aid may find additional information or submit a question by visiting the Office of the Registrar or the School of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies.

Are there tuition discounts or extra bursaries available for International Students for 2020-21?

At this time tuition fees remain at the same level as planned. Graduate and Undergraduate students may apply to the International Student Bursary for fall and winter terms. For more information on scholarships and bursaries, please see Western's Student Finances page.

What is the International Student Bursary Program?

The International Student Bursary Program enables undergraduate international students in financial need to continue or complete their program of study at Western. Please click on the "Undergraduate" section on  our Financial Assistance page for more information or visit our Remote Advising page to find out how to connect with our team.

What is the International Student Emergency Loan?

Western offers short-term loans to international students who encounter unforeseen financial emergencies. The maximum loan is $500. Financial emergencies may arise as a result of medical expenses, delays in transfers of funds from outside of Canada, expensive textbooks, moving, etc. Find out more on our Financial Assistance page.

Where can I find financial resources for graduate students?

Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars can find information on the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS) COVID-19 financial support page and the SGPS funding page.

What is the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and who qualifies?

To be eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, you must reside in Canada and have a valid Social Insurance Number. Workers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents – including temporary foreign workers and international students – may be eligible to receive the Benefit if meet the other eligibility requirements.

The following conditions need to be met:

  • Must have earned $5,000 in this role as reflected in 2019 T4 or T4A Must have been employed in 2020 in PT or FT role
  • Must have lost work as a result of COVID-19 closure announcement (March 15)
  • Must have worked 14 days prior to the closure
  • Applications available April 6

Applications are available now. Maximum amount is $2,000/month for 24 weeks.

Travel, Arrival and Quarantine

What are the quarantining and testing requirements for students arriving in Canada from abroad?

All students (international students and Canadian citizens) who arrive in Canada from abroad are required to complete a 14-day quarantine and must register their quarantine plan with Western via the Register My Quarantine Plan form prior to arrival in Canada.

In addition, students travelling to Ontario from abroad will be required to be tested for COVID-19 prior to coming to Canada and after their quarantine period ends:

  • All students travelling to Canada from abroad are required by the Ontario government to be tested for COVID-19 at the end of their 14-day quarantine period.
  • In addition, as of January 7, 2021, all international travellers are required to test negative for COVID-19 before travelling from another country to Canada.

Documentation of a negative laboratory test result must be presented to the airline prior to boarding a flight to Canada. The test must be performed using a COVID-19 molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and must be taken within 72 hours prior to the traveller’s scheduled departure to Canada.

Anyone who receives a negative test result and is authorized to enter Canada must still complete the full, mandatory 14-day quarantine and all other travel requirements remain the same. 

In addition, students travelling to Canada from abroad are required by the Ontario government to be tested for COVID-19 at the end of their quarantine period.

Students are encouraged to use Western's on-campus testing clinic. No appointments are necessary. See Western's COVID-19 Testing webpage for hours and location.

As long as students have completed their 14-day quarantine and are symptom-free, they can come to campus to obtain the test. Students must wear a mask and bring their WesternONE ID card or student number, as well as their UHIP card, OHIP card, or proof of other provincial health insurance. Students who have been in quarantine may come to campus only for the test, return home and wait for results prior to resuming your regular routine or attending class/labs/tutorials or other activities on campus. Results will be available within approximately 24 hours.

If you complete your quarantine outside of London, you may go to a local assessment centre. At the assessment centre, you must request that a copy of your test results be sent to Dr. Sonya Malone at Western University's Student Health Care Clinic (by fax to: 519-661-3380 or by email to dturnbu5@uwo.ca).

Please note that Western offers a range of support including assistance securing off-campus quarantine accommodations, and daily wellness check-ins for all students in quarantine.

If you have any questions about quarantining and/or testing at the end of quarantine, please contact iesc@uwo.ca

I received a COVID-19 test outside of Western’s Student Health Care, where do I send the results?

Students can email a copy of their COVID-19 test results to dturnbu5@uwo.ca  OR have the assessment centre fax a copy to Dr.Sonya Malone, Western Student Health Care, at 519-661-3380. If your COVID-19 test was administered through Western’s Student Health Care, you are not required to submit a copy of your results.

What happens if my COVID-19 test is positive?

If you test positive, your local public health unit will contact you. You will be asked for information to help determine who you were in contact with while you may have been contagious or where you may have acquired COVID-19. They will also advise you when you can stop self-isolating. Learn more here

If you have any questions about quarantining and/or testing while in quarantine, please contact iesc@uwo.ca

I am quarantining outside of London, where do I go to get tested?

Testing is provided free of charge at Ontario assessment centres. Some assessment centres may require you to book an appointment first or have certain restrictions (for example, some are unable to test young children). For locations and more information visit covid-19.ontario.ca/covid-19-assessment-centres

If you are quarantining outside London but will be moving to London, you can have your test done in London after your 14-day quarantine elsewhere ends, as long as you are asymptomatic. If you have symptoms, you should obtain the test where you are at a local testing centre prior to moving to London.

Students should wait for the test results before attending classes. In most cases, results will be available within 24-48 hours. They should continue to self-isolate and exercise caution after the test before their test results are in.

If you have any questions about quarantining and/or testing while in quarantine, please contact iesc@uwo.ca

What do I need to consider when planning my quarantine?

If you are arranging your own accommodations, here are some important considerations for your 14-Day Quarantine Plan:

  • How will food and groceries be delivered to you? Delivery must be zero-contact, and you are not permitted to leave your space to meet delivery orders. We recommend having a credit card that works in Canada; most food and grocery delivery services do not accept cash.
  • You will need enough money to cover your expenses for at least 14 days. You will not be able to set up a Canadian bank account until after your quarantine is over.
  • Do not quarantine in places where you can’t separate yourself from others. For example, in a household with many people, in a shared small apartment, or if you have roommates who have not travelled with you.

Review "Are Your Accommodations Acceptable?" and refer to the full requirements for quarantine from the Government of Canada.

We strongly recommend that students select Western-arranged off-campus quarantine accommodations, which are pay-ahead and include meal delivery three times per day. The cost for full-degree newly arriving students is $100 per day (including meals). See Quarantine Accomodations FAQs for more information.

Individuals who fail to comply with obligations outlined in the orders under the Quarantine Act may face a fine up to $750,000 and/or imprisonment for six months. See compliance and enforcement details.

What if I am unable to move into my quarantine location after I have arrived in Canada?

Please plan your quarantine location carefully to avoid any issues when you arrive. Please see the International Arrival web page and Quarantine Dos and Don’ts for more information. If you have issues when you arrive, please contact our office at 519-661-2111 extension 89309 during Monday to Friday, 9 am to 4 pm or email iesc@uwo.ca

I am an international student but I am already in Canada. Am I required to complete self-quarantine when I arrive in London?

At this time, there is no requirement to complete self-quarantine for those travelling to London from within Canada. 

I am a parent/family member of an international student. Can I travel with them to Canada to help them settle in?

There are government-imposed travel restrictions in place due to COVID-19. We recommend that you download the ArriveCAN app AND contact the Canada Border Services Agency  to seek advice. At the present time, it is unlikely that parents/family travelling with their son or daughter will be able to enter Canada unless they are planning to stay long-term with the student. If you are able to enter Canada, you will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days. This would also mean that you would be unable to do the usual types of activities to help a student settle in, such as setting up banking, utilities, groceries, shopping to set up their new home, etc.

Do I need a letter of support from Western to share with Canada Border Services?

No. Students should not need a special letter of support to travel. However, we recommend that you review the list of important items to carry with you when travelling, including important documents such as your study permit or study permit approval.

In addition to uploading the details of your quarantine plan into the ArriveCAN app, you may also wish to print out details to refer to when interacting with a Canada Border Services officer.

How will I travel from the airport to my self-quarantine location?

The Government of Canada has provided specific recommendations for travel to your quarantine destination, once you arrive at the airport/your port of entry.

Western students must book travel from Toronto Pearson Airport to London with RobertQ Airbus to bring you safely to London and directly to your quarantine destination. A 50% discount has been arranged for Western students. Please see our Transportation page for details.

If you are arriving at London International Airport, you may take a taxi to your quarantine destination as long as all COVID-19 precautions are followed. We recommend that you contact the taxi company ahead of time. Please see our Transportation page for details and taxi company contact information. 

Note: students arriving from outside of Canada are not permitted to take any form of public transportation to travel to their quarantine destination.

Can I take public transportation while travelling from the airport to my self-quarantine location?

Canadian Border Service Agency representatives will ask students for their transportation plan upon arrival. Students are not permitted to take public transportation (bus, train, etc.) to their quarantine destination. Those arriving at Toronto Pearson International Airport should book travel to London through RobertQ Airbus.

Students may take a taxi directly from London International Airport to their destination for quarantine, as long as face coverings/masks are worn and other precautions are followed. Some taxi companies may ask pre-screening questions, limit the number passengers or require advanced booking. We recommend you call the taxi company and ask about COVID-19 precautions.

Please visit our Transportation page for more details.

What documentation do I need to bring with me to the airport?

Before travelling to Canada, make sure you enter your details into the ArriveCAN app two days prior to coming to the airport and that you have what you need to show you are exempt from the travel restrictions and evidence that you’re travelling for an essential (non-discretionary) purpose.

Students must bring a valid study permit or a port of entry letter of introduction that shows that you were approved for a study permit.

At the airport, airline officials will be conducting a health check, and anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 will not be able to board their flight to Canada. As always, we recommend students travel with the following items on their person (not in checked luggage):

  • Valid Passport and Canadian Temporary Resident Visa and/or an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) (if applicable)
  • Study Permit OR Letter of Introduction issued by the Canadian Visa Office that approved your Study Permit
  • Supporting documents
  • Medical and immunization (vaccination) records, prescriptions and medications
  • Money and a credit card
  • List of important phone numbers

Visit our Arrival website for more details.

If I am in self-quarantine off-campus, where can I get food and supplies during that time?

You will need to ensure you have supplies for your 14-day quarantine, including groceries, meal delivery and health supplies or medications. Deliveries must be zero-contact. You will need to have a credit card that works in Canada. Most delivery services do not accept cash. For a list of some local grocery and meal service providers, as well as pharmacies that make deliveries, please visit our Arrival website.

When do I have to arrive to complete quarantine requirements?

Detailed instructions for self-quarantine: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/2019-novel-coronavirus-information-sheet.html.

Any travel arrangements should take self-quarantine requirements into consideration, leaving a comfortable window of time in case of travel delays or changes. If you are travelling to Canada for winter term, we strongly recommend that you plan to arrive before December 21, 2020 or after January 3, 2021.

Quarantine supports, including student health care, COVID-19 testing, wellness checks and other essential services may be unavailable or limited due to Western’s winter holiday closure. In addition, essential services such as grocery and pharmacy delivery will not be available on December 25, December 26 and January 1, and may be limited throughout the holiday period. Any student who persists with plans to arrive between December 21 and January 3 is required to register their quarantine plan as soon as possible, and no later than December 14.

Individuals travelling from an international destination must self-quarantine for a minimum of 14 days and are not allowed to leave their self-quarantine location except to seek medical care.

Will there be a place for me to stay during my 14-day self-quarantine requirements?

For those living off-campus, you must determine if your planned place of accommodation is suitable for self-quarantine. Please review "Are Your Accommodations Acceptable?" If your accommodations not suitable, please book Western-arranged off-campus quarantine accommodations. The cost for full-degree newly arriving students is $100 per day including meal delivery three times per day. Please see our Quarantine Accommodations FAQ for details or Book your accommodations here.

Housing

If I leave Canada over the winter holiday, can I quarantine in residence when I return?

Any student living in residence who travels internationally during winter break is not permitted to self-quarantine in residence upon return from outside of Canada. You must notify housing@uwo.ca as soon as possible of any international travel plans. We highly recommend that you do not travel for the break.

If you decide to leave the country, you will be travelling at your own risk and expense. To re-enter Canada, you will be required to register your quarantine plan with Western, and you will not be eligible for the subsidized cost of quarantine accommodations ($1400). The total cost would be approximately $2100.

If all my classes are online, can I still live in residence?

Yes, absolutely.

What physical distancing and disinfection measures are in place in residence?

We are taking our direction and instruction from the government and local health authorities. Enhanced cleaning of our residences includes more frequent sanitization of touch surfaces in public areas, with caretaking staff schedules expanding to seven days a week, and an extended presence beyond traditional business hours. Additional changes to food service and dining halls will also be implemented. For details, see the Residence FAQ page.

Will my residence experience be the same as those of previous years? What will residence programming look like?

In residence you will still have access to the same support and resources but in response to physical distancing measures, the way it is delivered may change. Similar to the University’s academic programs, residence programming will be delivered through a hybrid model—some in person while others might be online.

Classes, Exams and Campus

How do I get my textbooks if I'm studying overseas/remotely?

Most textbooks and course materials will be available digitally and can be purchased online from The Book Store at Western. In addition, some course materials may also be available digitally through Western Libraries.

If you are unable to find your materials after checking both resources, you can contact your professor and/or Western Libraries for more assistance.

Where are masks mandatory?

Western requires all employees and students to wear non-medical masks/face coverings when in the presence of others and in common and shared spaces on campus. Employees and students will be supplied with washable Western-branded non-medical masks/face coverings when returning to campus.

In addition, you may be required to wear a mask in certain public spaces in the community. You can find more information on the Middlesex-London Health Unit website.  

What will the winter term look like?

We are working hard to ensure that we offer the very high quality student experience that is consistent with the world-class university we are, and that you and your families expect.

Western will offer a full winter semester for every student, whether you are new to Western or returning.  

We continue to believe in the deep value of engaging each other face to face when we can, and we’re working hard to make as much of that happen as we can under the circumstances.

We need your help to make this work. Keeping the campus community safe will be incredibly complicated and will be a shared responsibility. Visit the Take Care Western website for important information and resources on keeping safe.

We will continue to carefully follow ministry and public health regulations, while preserving as many in-person experiences as possible. 

Currently, approximately 25 per cent of our courses have an on-campus experience. The availability of on-campus experiences differs depending on your course selection, your program and year of study, and further details will be shared during the registration process.

Our students, faculty and staff are important partners in these efforts. When each of us adheres to these changes and follows appropriate precautions, we make our   entire community safer .

Physical distancing requirements will reduce the capacity of our campus. The capacity reductions have been significant.

Many of our largest courses are being delivered online throughout the fall and winter terms, but we strive to provide small group experiences as well. Some of these experiences will be virtual and some will be face to face as the conditions allow.

Clinical programs, some undergraduate seminars and labs, and labs for research-based graduate students continue to be delivered in-person.

Access to libraries, computer labs and other learning and personal resources are different than in the past, but still provide you with the resources to succeed.

We will continue to provide support to help you manage your academics, finances and well-being so you can thrive even if you’re not on campus. Visit   Digital Student Experience  for a variety of resources.

International & Exchange Student Centre (IESC)Events & Support

What resources are available to help me transition to university life?

Our IESC staff and volunteers offer virtual programming and events throughout the year. Please visit the website for more details.

Where can I find out about IESC events?

Unfortunately, IESC in-person group events are now cancelled, however we have a wide range of virtual programming and opportunities for you to connect with other students and with our team online until we can be in person again together.  Staying connected and involved with the Western and IESC communities while you're practicing physical distancing is important to your wellbeing. Find out more about our virtual events on our Stay Connected page

Health and Medical Insurance

I received a COVID-19 test outside of Western’s Student Health Care, where do I send the results?

Students can email a copy of their COVID-19 test results to dturnbu5@uwo.ca  OR have the assessment centre fax a copy to Dr. Sonya Malone, Western Student Health Care, at 519-661-3380. If your COVID-19 test was administered through Western’s Student Health Care/the Western COVID-19 Testing Clinic, you are not required to submit a copy of your results.

If my COVID-19 test is negative, can I leave my 14-Day quarantine early?

In most cases, students will obtain a COVID-19 test immediately following their 14-day quarantine period. Even if you receive a test earlier and it is negative, you are required to self-isolate for 14 days after your return, regardless of a negative COVID-19 test result. Self-isolation (quarantine) is required under the federal Quarantine Act

If you have any questions about quarantining and/or testing while in quarantine, please contact iesc@uwo.ca

What happens if my COVID-19 test is positive?

If you test positive, your local public health unit will contact you. You will be asked for information to help determine who you were in contact with while you may have been contagious or where you may have acquired COVID-19. They will also advise you when you can stop self-isolating. Learn more here

If you have any questions about quarantining and/or testing while in quarantine, please contact iesc@uwo.ca

I am quarantining outside of London, where do I go to get tested?

Testing is provided free of charge at Ontario assessment centres. Some assessment centres may require you to book an appointment first or have certain restrictions (for example, some are unable to test young children). For locations and more information visit covid-19.ontario.ca/covid-19-assessment-centres

If you are quarantining outside London but will be moving to London, you can have your test done in London after your 14-day quarantine elsewhere ends, as long as you are asymptomatic. If you have symptoms, you should obtain the test where you are at a local testing centre prior to moving to London.

Students should wait for the test results before attending classes. In most cases, results will be available within 24-48 hours. They should continue to self-isolate and exercise caution after the test before their test results are in.

If you have any questions about quarantining and/or testing while in quarantine, please contact iesc@uwo.ca

What does my UHIP Health Insurance Cover?

UHIP covers  hospital and medical services that you might need to maintain your health while at Western. Prescription drugs and dental care are NOT covered by UHIP.

For a full list of what is covered and not covered by UHIP, visit: https://uhip.ca/Enrollment/PlanDetails#toc2

Will my UHIP insurance support me if I get sick with COVID-19?

UHIP coverage remains  unchanged, and will support diagnosis and treatment of illness. Testing for COVID-19 is covered under the UHIP plan.

Should I purchase health insurance outside of the required UHIP fee?

In Ontario, most citizens and permanent residents have another health insurance plan, not just OHIP (the Ontario Provincial Health Plan). This gives them coverage for services OHIP or UHIP doesn’t cover (e.g. prescription drugs, dental care).  
 
Western offers supplementary health insurance through the University Students Council (USC) for undergraduate students https://westernusc.ca/your-services/health-plan/ and through the Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) for graduate students  sogs.ca/healthplan. These plans are separate from your UHIP coverage.

Graduate Students

Where can I find resources for graduate students?

Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars can find information and resources on their website. For questions pertaining to research, examinations and other concerns issues please consult the directory for contact information:  grad.uwo.ca/administration/directory.html.

Where can I find information about financial support for graduate students?

The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS) will update this web page as it becomes available. 

Other Resources

Where can I find resources related to Gender-Based Violence and COVID-19?

Please visit the Learning Network resource hub for resources related to Gender-Based Violence and COVID-19.