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COVID-19

FAQ

See McGill's coronavirus page for official announcements. The Fall 2020 semester will be online.

Information updated on June 5th.

We at Simplify McGill know that the coronavirus pandemic has impacted many students who are new, current, graduating, international, or Canadian. To help new and current McGill students, we have partnered with the McGill Asia Alumni Office to bring you the following frequently asked questions page. Nevertheless, we would like to remind everyone that the current situation is constantly changing, so the best way to address any concerns you have are to contact official sources. Some of these sources that you may find useful are found at the bottom of the page.

Please stay safe and practice social distancing! Ca va bien aller!

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We are a partner of McGill University's official Asia representative office in Hong Kong in our effort to provide our new students and parents with timely, relevant, and accurate information.

Travel

  • I am an international student travelling with a valid study permit. Can I enter Canada to resume my studies?

    • It depends. There are currently travel restrictions in place for air travel to Canada from a country other than the US. Only some international students are exempt from the current travel restrictions. At this time, in order to enter Canada, you must:

      • Hold a valid study permit; or

      • Have a study permit approval letter dated on or before March 18, 2020

  • I am exempt from the travel restriction currently in place. Does this mean I am guaranteed entry into Canada?

    • No. Even if you are exempt from the travel restrictions currently in place, this does not guarantee your entry into Canada. Upon arrival at your Port of Entry (Canadian airport or land border) from the US or any other country, a Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer will examine your request to enter Canada and decide if your admittance is for an “essential purpose”. CBSA officers have the power to refuse you entry if they deem your travel to be “non-essential” or “discretionary”. It is your responsibility to prove that your travel is essential and that you need to be in Canada at this time (e.g., to resume in-person classes, work a summer job, find an apartment, etc.). Be prepared to provide documents that support your reasons for needing to be in Canada such as a copy of your lease, job offer or pay stub, Proof of Enrollment Letter for a current or future term, etc.).

  • Can the airline deny me boarding my flight to Canada if I am exempt from the travel restrictions currently in place?

    • Yes. Everyone travelling to Canada by air is first required to pass a preliminary health check by airline officials before boarding their flight. If you are allowed to board your flight, immigration officials will assess your health when you arrive in Canada before allowing you to enter. Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to board the plane.

  • Will I be required to quarantine for 14 days when I arrive in Canada even when I do not show any symptoms of Covid-19?

    • Yes. All travelers to Canada are now mandated by law to quarantine for 14 days and monitor yourself for symptoms upon arrival and are subject to monitoring, verification and enforcement by Public Health authorities. This is mandatory, even if you have no symptoms. When you arrive in Canada, immigration agents will assess your health before allowing you to enter. In order to minimize the spread of COVID-19, you will be required to provide your plan to quarantine for 14 days to the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer upon arrival to Canada. If the border officer is not satisfied with your plan, you will be quarantined in a facility designated by the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada. If you do not have a quarantine plan (like obtaining groceries), you should not travel to Canada.

Immigration

 

New Students

  • My courses will now be held online, can I study part-time?

    • Under the current conditions for CAQ holders, international students must make their studies their principal activity. This means that in order to respect your CAQ conditions, you must maintain a full-time student status every term for the duration of your program, with the exception of your last term.

    • Under the current eligibility requirements for the post-graduation work permit (PGWP), international students must maintain a full-time student status every term for the duration of their program, with the exception of their last term.

    • Until further notice, we are currently encouraging all international students* to maintain a full-time student status for the duration of their program with the exception of their last term, so as not to compromise their ability to extend their CAQ or their eligibility for the PGWP. *This applies to newly admitted and current students studying inside of Canada or from outside of Canada.

    • If the CAQ conditions or PGWP eligibility requirements change, we will update our website.

  • I have been admitted to McGill and would like to start the process of applying for my immigration documents. Can I apply for my study permit before I receive my CAQ?

    • In order to study in Quebec, you must have a valid certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) issued by Immigration Québec and a valid study permit issued by Immigration Canada. In order to apply for your study permit, you must include a valid CAQ. For more information on how to apply for the CAQ, you can attend one of our pre-arrival webinars or review our application guide. Please note that you may use the electronic CAQ approval letter to apply for your study permit. You do not have to wait to receive the physical CAQ certificate by mail to apply for your study permit.

  • I have been admitted to a program that starts in the Fall 2020 semester and my courses will be held online. If my CAQ and/or study permit applications are not approved before the Fall 2020 start date, may I begin my courses online from outside of Canada?

    • Yes. You may begin your courses online from outside of Canada without a valid CAQ and study permit. You must wait for the approval of your CAQ and study permit before making plans to travel to Canada and follow instructions regarding travel restrictions and quarantine that will be in effect at that time. Please note that beginning online courses from outside of Canada without a valid CAQ or study permit approval letter may have an impact on your eligibility for the post-graduation work permit (PGWP). For more information please see IRCC’s website, which states:

      • 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% 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 31, 2020.

    • Therefore, we strongly encourage you to apply for your CAQ and study permit. Note once your courses return to an in-person format, you must have a valid CAQ and study permit to study in Canada.

  • I am a newly admitted student and I would like to defer my studies. Will this impact the validity of my CAQ and/or study permit? 

    • If you defer the start of your studies until Winter 2021, you will not need to apply for a new CAQ or study permit. If you defer the start of your studies to Summer 2021 or Fall 2021, you will need to apply for a new CAQ before you begin your program. However, your study permit will remain valid and you may use it to begin your studies in Summer 2021 or Fall 2021.

  • I am applying for my CAQ but due to Covid-19, I cannot obtain original documents as required in my CAQ checklist. What should I do?

    • The Ministry of Immigration, Francisation and Integration (MIFI) is exceptionally allowing international students to submit photocopies of their documents where originals are required, see MIFI’s website. If you will be submitting photocopies of documents in lieu of original documents where required, make sure to include a cover letter that explains why it is not possible for you to provide the original document(s).

    • Note for transcript: Service Point is currently not able to provide printed official transcripts at this time due to the COVID-19 related campus closure. Since we do not know when Service Point will resume printing transcripts, we are recommending that students apply for their CAQ with all of the following documents instead of their printed official transcript:

      • A cover letter explaining that you are providing a copy of the electronic official transcript instead of the printed official transcript. You can mention that the electronic version of the official transcript is the only version available since the Registrar’s Office is closed to the public due to COVID-19 and is not issuing printed official transcripts. You can also mention that when the electronic transcript is printed, the word “COPY” automatically appears on the transcript.

      • A copy of your official e-transcript (order an electronic official transcript, print it)

      • A copy of your unofficial transcript (from Minerva)

      • A copy of McGill’s Student Records webpage confirming that printed official transcripts are currently not available

    • You should include all of the above documents in lieu of the printed transcript in the same package as all of your other CAQ documents.

    • Please contact international.students@mcgill.ca if you receive an Intention of refusal letter from MIFI requesting that you provide them with additional documents.

Current Students

  • My CAQ and study permit are expiring soon. Following the Ministry of Immigration, Francisation and Integration (MIFI)'s announcement to automatically extend CAQs until December 31, 2020, do I need to apply for a new CAQ in order to renew my study permit?

    • As per the announcement made by MIFI, students who hold a CAQ that expires on or after April 30th, 2020 and before December 31st, 2020 and who have not completed their program, will automatically be issued an extension of their CAQ until December 31st, 2020. This update only affects students who will complete their program in the Summer 2020 or Fall 2020 term (i.e. by December 31, 2020). We invite you to read the full details of this update directly on MIFI’s website. Students affected by this update can apply right away to renew their study permit online without needing to obtain a new CAQ. When applying for your study permit, you should include a cover letter that makes reference to the MIFI update, a copy of MIFI’s website (print out or screenshot), and a copy of your current CAQ even if it has expired. You can combine these documents as one pdf and upload it in the CAQ section of the Document Checklist in your study permit application.

    • If you are completing your program in Fall 2020 and you would like to apply for your Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) and/or you would like to stay in Canada after December 31st, 2020, please refer to our Immigration Documents FAQs in the coming weeks for updates on what procedure to follow. We will be updating our website as new information becomes available. Please contact ISS directly in late summer/early fall if you have further questions.

    • Finally, all other students (i.e. those who will be completing their program after December 31, 2020 or who will begin a new program in Summer 2020 or Fall 2020) should apply and obtain a new CAQ before applying for their study permit.

  • I am a current McGill student returning to my studies in the Fall 2020 term. Can I complete my courses online without a CAQ and study permit?

    • Yes. You may complete your Fall 2020 courses online from outside or inside of Canada without a valid CAQ and study permit. However, you should be aware that completing online courses from outside or inside of Canada without a valid CAQ or study permit approval letter may have an impact on your eligibility for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). For more information please see IRCC’s website, which states:

    • 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 PGWP. If you’re in this situation, you may

      • begin your classes while outside Canada, and

      • complete up to 50% 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 31, 2020. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to apply for your CAQ and study permit.

    • IMPORTANT: If you are currently in Canada, you must maintain valid immigration status for the entire duration of your stay. This means that before your current study permit expires you must do one of the following:

      • Apply to renew your study permit;

      • Apply to extend your stay a visitor; OR

      • Leave Canada

    • Only full-time students who hold a valid study permit or who applied to extend their study permit before their current study permit expired (implied status) are authorized to work on and off-campus. Visitors in Canada are not eligible to apply for a study permit from inside Canada unless they fall under a limited number of exemptions. See IRCC’s website for more details. Once your courses return to an in-person format, you must have a valid CAQ and study permit to study in Canada.

  • My study permit is expiring soon and I would like to apply for my study permit extension from within Canada, but due to Covid-19, I am unable to obtain all of my documents. What should I do?

    • It is very important that you apply for your study permit extension before your current study permit expires in order to remain in Canada under implied status. If you are missing a document (e.g. passport, financial documents, CAQ), you should apply for your study permit with a letter of explanation which explains why you do not have the document. If possible, you should also include supporting documents that demonstrate all efforts that you have made to obtain the missing document (e.g. proof that you have applied for your passport or CAQ). As soon as you obtain the missing document, you will need to submit it to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) through the IRCC webform in order for IRCC to add it to your pending study permit application. Please note that the decision to approve your study permit application is at the discretion of the officer reviewing your application.

  • I applied for my study permit from within Canada before my current study permit expired, can I leave Canada while my application is procession and then return to Canada?

    • If you are currently under implied status (i.e., you submitted an application to extend your study permit and it is still processing), you can leave Canada if you wish. However, once you leave Canada, you will lose your implied status. This means that you must obtain a study permit and the necessary travel document (TRV or eTA) in order to return to Canada to resume your studies. Your study permit extension application will continue to process even if you leave Canada. Once your application has been approved, the actual study permit will be mailed to the Canadian address you included in your application form. If you require a TRV based on your country of citizenship, you will have to apply for one separately, after your study permit has been approved.

  • What happens if my CAQ and Study Permit expires while I am outside of Canada and I want to return for the Fall 2020 term?

    • If your immigration documents will expire while you are outside of Canada, you will need to renew them before returning to Canada to resume your studies. Please see our CAQ Renewal Guide and our Study Permit Renewal Guide (under “Applying for Your Study Permit from Outside Canada”) for more detailed instructions. If you apply for your new study permit from outside of Canada, a new eTA or TRV will be issued at the same time as when your study permit is approved.

  • If I leave Canada will my CAQ and Study Permit remain valid?

    • Your CAQ and Study Permit both remain valid until their expiry date. You may use them to enter Canada and resume your studies in the Fall 2020 term. In order to enter Canada, you must have a valid CAQ, Study Permit and Temporary Resident Visa or eTA.

Deferrals and Withdrawals

  • If I want to defer or withdraw after accepting my offer, what should I do?

    • McGill is only able to grant a limited number of undergraduate program deferrals each year, which means there will be no guarantee your deferral request is accepted. ​If you have not yet registered for any courses and wish to defer your admission to a later date, you must make an official request no later than July 31, 2020 to the Deferral Coordinator by emailing deferral@mcgill.ca. Please include your McGill student ID number along with your request. If you are granted a deferral of admission, you are not permitted to upgrade secondary school results or participate in post-secondary study. You are nonetheless permitted to follow up to two special-interest classes.

    • If you decide not to attend McGill, you must:

      • Drop or withdraw from all your course on Minerva within the deadlines by Monday, August 31 (remember courses must be registered before Friday, August 14)

      • Officially withdraw from McGill by completing the application modification webform.

      • If you withdraw on or before the deadlines outlined - your registration will be removed from your student record. If you withdraw and do not request a deferral, but later change your mind and decide you would like to attend McGill, you will have to reapply for the next available admission cycle.

    • If you withdraw after the deadlines outlined - your student record and your transcript will indicate your registration and withdrawal from McGill. You must then reapply to your faculty student affairs office if you wish to be readmitted for the Winter or subsequent terms. Check with your faculty for details about readmission procedures and deadlines.

    • Fee implications: Regardless of whether or not you actually register, request deferral of admission, or withdraw, your deposit is non-refundable. You may be subject to further fees depending on your date of withdrawal.

    • Please refer to the eCalendar for more information. Key deadlines for withdrawals and registration.

  • If more deferral requests are placed than can be accommodated, how is it decided who can defer?

    • This will be based on space in the program in future terms. If we are able to defer to the winter term in the program, we will do so as much as possible. Where this is not possible, deferral to the fall will be accommodated to the extent possible while also ensuring quality of our programs. We are not able to defer an unlimited number of admissions officer as this would mean fluctuations in enrolment that make it impossible to ensure quality and program access, for example: professor-student ratios, classroom and lab space, internship opportunities. Some of these are less relevant in the context of remote learning, but since students typically attend McGill for 4 years and remote learning is a temporary measure to ensure the health and safety of our community, we must also think ahead to the number of students we will have returning to campus and our programs as soon as it is safe to do so.

  • For granting deferral requests Is it lottery or first come first serve?

    • Typically, we don’t have more deferral requests than we are able to accommodate. If we receive more this year than we are able to accommodate, we will determine at that point which requests we will grant.

  • With what I'm sure are high numbers of deferral requests, how will the 2021/2022 year be affected? Will it be overcrowded?

    • So far, we do not have a higher than usual number of deferral requests. In order to ensure quality for all students throughout the course of their program, including those starting their programs in fall 2021, we are not able to grant an unlimited number of requests.

  • Does deferral guarantee admittance the next year?

    • When a student is granted a deferral of their offer of admission, it is an agreement between the University and that student, and the deferral will specify to which semester the offer of admission is deferred.

  • How does deferral affect financial deposits originally made for the 2020/2021 year? 

    • The admissions confirmation deposit is required before students can request a deferral and this deposit continues to hold the student’s space in the term to which they have deferred. In all cases, the confirmation deposit goes toward the student’s tuition payment once they begin their program.

International Health Insurance

  • Does my International Health Insurance plan cover testing for Covid-19?

    • The International Health Insurance (IHI) plan covers testing, hospitalization and treatment for COVID-19 in Canada. Please refer to the Basic Health Benefits on pages 7-9 in the Medavie Blue Cross handbook for details on this coverage. Medical costs incurred at a hospital will be billed directly to Medavie Blue Cross as long as you provide the hospital with your IHI card. Meaning, you will not be paying out of pocket for these services.​

  • Does my IHI plan cover me outside of Canada?

    • If you are in your country of origin, you are only covered for emergencies resulting in hospitalization (must be admitted as an in-patient), up to $2,000 CAD funds per day for all services combined as specified in the Medavie Blue Cross contract. Unfortunately, Medavie Blue Cross is are no longer offering additional travel insurance. If you are in your country of origin or plan to go, we suggest verifying that you will be able to obtain adequate health insurance from an insurance provider in your country.

    • If you are on a study related trip outside of Canada (not your country of origin) and you have signed up for the Study Away plan, you are covered for emergency medical care, basic health and supplementary health benefits, as per the Study Away plan Benefits.

    • If you are not in Canada and still have questions about your IHI coverage, please contact international.health@mcgill.ca.

  • Does my IHI plan cover me outside of Canada?

    • For public safety, RAMQ Montréal and Québec reception desks are not accessible. Information how to renew your expiring RAMQ card can be found here. As per McGill’s current recommendations, members of the McGill community who have flu-like symptoms should call 1-877-644-4545 instead of going in-person to a medical clinic. Based on your symptoms and travel history, a health care professional will advise you on the best course of action. If you are not in Canada and still have questions about your IHI coverage, please contact  international.health@mcgill.ca.

Residences

  • Since courses will be offered remotely in the fall, will residences be open?

    • Yes, some residences will be open, and you can still apply to live in residence. The residence application deadline for undergraduate students is July 7th, 2020. Application for residences are accepted and accommodation is assigned based on the understanding that students are making a commitment for the full academic year. See the cancellation policies at our Student Housing website for more information.

  • Can I guarantee a spot in residences if I defer to the Winter term?

    • Residence room assignments are done on a yearly basis, but we do accept students in the Winter term if space permits.

  • Will my deposit be refunded should I need to withdraw my application this summer?

    • Your deposit will be partially refunded depending on the date that you withdraw your residence application. Please see the cancellation policy for more information.

  • Will I be charged the cancellation fees if I need to cancel my application or lease because of the COVID situation?

    • Application for residences are accepted and accommodation is assigned based on the understanding that students are making a commitment for the full academic year. Upon acceptance into residences, students are committing to a lease under Québec law. Please see the cancellation policy for more information.

  • If I am not able to physically be in Montreal for all or part of the Fall semester due to governmental travel restrictions, will I be charged rent for the months that I am not actually living in a McGill Residence?

    • Travel restrictions will be taken into consideration and you will NOT be charged rent if you are unable to be physically in Montreal for all or part of the Fall semester. Unfortunately, we may not be able to guarantee accommodations in a particular room or residence building.

  • How does deferral affect the residence lottery?

    • Deferral to Fall 2021 will not impact the residence lottery.

  • Will residence still be guaranteed for first year students?

    • We offer secured housing to all first-year undergraduate students, 22 years of age and under, who have accepted McGill's offer of admission.

  • Will I still be able to have a roommate with social distancing?

    • ​Our top priority is the health and safety of our residents. We are closely monitoring the situation and will adhere to all Public Health regulations set at that time.

  • Will Residence Life programming still be offered?

    • ​The Residence Life team is looking forward to meeting you and is working diligently to develop engaging and robust Residence Life programming that will include academic and social support, workshops and activities on health and wellness while keeping top of mind all Public Health directives.

  • How will residences support students who may need to self-isolate during the fall semester?

    • ​There are several scenarios that we are assessing at this time such as reserving self isolation rooms for students who would potentially need to self-isolate during the fall semester. All protocols will follow directives from Public Health authorities.

  • What additional measures will be in place to ensure the health and safety of the students living in residences?

    • ​We are taking every precaution to ensure strict sanitary measures are in place throughout our residence buildings. Increased housekeeping and cleaning services, limited access to common areas and other social distancing measures are in place as per governmental regulations.

  • Can a student who must be in quarantine upon entry into the country for 14 days spend time in residences?

    • ​This will depend on the configuration of our residences and quarantine requirements in the fall. But we are also exploring the possibility of providing this service with our external housing partners.

  • Will food services be offered on campus?

    • ​Yes, some food service will be offered on campus. More details to come throughout the summer months.

Resources

 
 
 
 
Simplify McGill aims to streamline your McGill and Greater Montreal experience by providing you with fun activities, helpful hints, some general school knowledge to make your time here as enjoyable and effortless as possible.  We are not affiliated with McGill University with exception to specific partnerships.
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