COVID-19 in Canada: An Overview

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It is very important that you monitor government and public health updates prior to travelling to Canada. For Canada’s most recent announcements, you can monitor the Government of Canada website. Additionally, we also encourage you to monitor your province’s, region’s, and your school’s policies and responses to COVID-19.

Key Definitions

When travelling to Canada, we ask that you familiarize yourself with the COVID-19 vocabulary that the Government of Canada is using. Below are a list of important key definitions related to COVID-19 in Canada.


Those who do not qualify under Canada’s exemption from quarantine will be required to quarantine for 14 days (starting from their date of arrival). International students arriving in Canada will still be required to provide a quarantine plan, regardless of whether they think they meet the exemption requirements. Those who don’t meet exemption requirements will need to quarantine for 14 days if:

  • Returning from travel outside of Canada.
  • Travelling to a province or territory that enforces a 14-day quarantine.
  • Have been in close contact with someone suspected to have COVID-19.
  • Have been notified by a public health official that they will need to quarantine.


This applies to those who:

  • Have been diagnosed, or are awaiting results of a lab rest for COVID-19.
  • Have symptoms (even if mild) and either have been in contact with someone with, or is suspected to have COVID-19, or who Public Health has said may have been exposed.
  • Have returned from travel outside of Canada with symptoms.

Social/Physical Distancing

Avoiding crowded public spaces and places, and maintaining at least 6 feet or 2 meters of distance between themselves and others.


Monitoring one's health for possible COVID-19 symptoms (See below for more information about symptoms).

Vulnerable Population

People who are more susceptible to contracting the COVID-19 virus including:

  • Older adults
  • Those with underlying medical conditions
  • Those at risk due to compromised immune systems from a medical condition or treatment

Travel Support Letter

A document provided by a DLI (Designated Learning Institution) to explain how a student’s studies have been affected by COVID-19

  • It’s important to note that every school has their own policies regarding Travel Support Letters; not all schools are issuing these at this time.

AIP (Approval in Principle)

A letter received from IRCC stating that one meets the permanent residence eligibility requirements, but that they will have to pass a medical, security and background check.

Symptoms of COVID-19

The Canadian Government has outlined a list of COVID-19 symptoms. These include:

  • New or worsening cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Feeling very unwell
  • Feverish
  • Fatigue / weakness
  • Muscle or body aches
  • New loss of smell or taste
  • Children: abdominal symptoms and skin changes / rashes
  • Headache
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting)
  • Temperature equal to or over 38 degrees celsius

It’s important to note that symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after an individual has been exposed to COVID-19, or it’s possible for some to not develop symptoms but still test positive—which means you are asymptomatic. If you think you might have COVID-19 symptoms, it’s encouraged that you take a self-assessment available through the COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool and begin self-isolation measures to avoid exposing others.

Preventative Actions

The Government of Canada has outlined some preventative actions that people can use to minimize the spread of the disease:

  • Stay at home and self-isolate. Anyone travelling into Canada MUST self-isolate for 14 days.
  • Practice social distancing and do not gather in groups. If social-distancing is not being practiced, local by-law officials and police officers have the authority to issue fines and charges.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap is not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used.
  • When coughing or sneezing, cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm and remember to wash hands after.
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands at all times.
  • Frequently disinfect surfaces in your home.
  • Wear a mask and/or gloves in public spaces.
  • Regions will have their own policies for this, so be sure to stay updated on your region’s preventative actions.

Please note: This information is accurate at time of publication. Please visit the Government of Canada’s website for the most accurate and up-to-date information.