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Information and Guidance for Languages Canada Members

Last updated: February 19, 2021

Languages Canada’s top priority is to support our members to the fullest through the COVID-19 pandemic, helping you ensure the well-being of your students and staff, and working to mitigate the financial impact of this crisis on our sector. We hope the information and resources collected on this page will be useful to you. Members are welcome to contact the LC team to discuss specific issues affecting your programs or share best practices.

Please note that while we strive to keep this page up to date, we recommend checking official sources, with respect to government information, to ensure you have the most current guidance.

On this page:

Additional testing and stricter quarantine requirements for air travellers

New federal COVID-19 testing and quarantine requirements for travellers entering Canada come into effect at midnight on February 22, 2021. LC has received confirmation from senior officials at the Public Health Agency of Canada that international students will be subject to these requirements.

Air travellers are required to take a COVID-19 molecular test when they arrive in Canada before exiting the airport, and another toward the end of their 14-day quarantine period. Air travellers are also required to reserve prior to departure to Canada a 3-night stay in a government-authorized hotel, and to stay at their reserved hotel for up to 3 nights, at their own cost, while they await the results of their arrival test. Travellers should book a hotel in the city in which they first arrive in Canada (one of the four international airports accepting international flights—Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal). If they receive a negative result on their arrival test, travellers may take a connecting flight to their final destination. These new measures are in addition to existing mandatory pre-boarding and health requirements for air travellers.

Useful links

Travel restriction exemptions for international students

On October 2, 2020, the government of Canada announced amended travel restrictions taking effect on October 20, allowing international students to enter Canada if their designated learning institution (DLI) has an approved COVID-19 readiness plan in place.

Quick facts

  • This change to travel restrictions affects all international students, regardless of where they are travelling from or when their study permit was approved.
  • Travellers should not make any travel plans until they have met all requirements and received all necessary authorizations.
  • The travel of asymptomatic international students who have the appropriate documents to enter Canada and whose DLI is on the list of institutions with approved COVID-19 readiness plans in place will be considered to be non-discretionary and non-optional, unless there is evidence that they are clearly coming to Canada for a discretionary or optional purpose, such as tourism.
  • With the amended travel restrictions, immediate family members may be able to accompany an international student to Canada if their reason for travel is non-optional or non-discretionary, such as getting established in Canada in support of the principal applicant’s study program. This could include a spouse or common-law partner, a dependant, or in the case of a minor child who will be studying in Canada, a parent or legal guardian.
  • Like all travellers to Canada, international students and accompanying family members will be subject to all public health measures, including the mandatory 14-day quarantine period upon arrival in Canada.
  • The list of DLIs with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan in place will be posted on IRCC’s web page for international students affected by COVID-19 restrictions and updated regularly as provinces and territories identify additional schools.

Learn more

COVID-19 Institutional Readiness Plans

The government of Canada has announced that Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) whose COVID-19 readiness plans have been approved by their provincial or territorial government will be able to welcome international students back to their schools as of October 20, 2020.

Provinces are required to provide the federal government with a list of DLIs whose readiness plans have been approved. These lists are to be published on IRCC’s web page for international students affected by COVID-19 restrictions and updated regularly as provinces and territories approve additional schools.

To help members prepare and submit their readiness plans, we have compiled on this page the requirements, guidance and templates for readiness plans issued by federal and provincial governments.

Go to institutional readiness plan resource page

LC’s advocacy work on behalf of our members

LC is actively pursuing support for our members from all levels of government. Our research and member survey data show that the need for this support is, initially, especially dire among our private sector members, which are SMEs. We are seeking assistance in the form of working capital grants to sustain our members’ fixed operational costs. This aid will enable them to "hibernate" through the crisis. We are also advocating for support in the second phase to help all our members relaunch their programs once COVID-19-related restrictions are lifted.

Why the Canadian language education sector is important

  • It attracts over 150,000 international students each year
  • It employs over 9,000 people 
  • It is a critical segment of Canada’s $22 billion international education sector
  • It contributes significantly to the success of the Canadian tourism, hospitality and post-secondary education sectors

How members can help make the sector’s voice heard

We encourage all members, their staff and homestay families to support LC’s COVID-19 advocacy efforts by contacting their local MP and MPP/MLA/MNA. It is essential for decision-makers, legislators and government officials to be aware of our sector’s situation. Without your help, we will not succeed.

Advocacy tools and resources

Government Financial Support Measures for Businesses

While LC works to secure relief funding for our sector, members should also consider the following support measures made available by the federal and provincial governments.

  • Detailed and up-to-date information on the Government of Canada's financial support measures for businesses is available here.

    Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
    As a Canadian employer who has seen a drop in revenue due to COVID-19, you may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of your employee wages, retroactive to March 15.
    Learn more.

    Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy
    A three-month measure that allows eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency.
    Learn more.

    Extending the Work-Sharing Program
    The Work-Sharing program is extended from 38 weeks to 76 weeks for employers affected by COVID-19. This measure provides income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers.
    Learn more.

    Income tax payment deferral
    All businesses are allowed to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18 and before September 2020.
    Learn more.

    Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) interest-free loans
    The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced.
    Learn more.

    Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
    Through the Business Credit Availability Program, Export Development Canada (EDC) is working with financial institutions to guarantee 80% of new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
    Learn more.

    Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
    Through the Business Credit Availability Program, Business Development Canada (BDC) is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements. The program offers differing maximum finance amounts based on business revenues. This support is available until or before September 30, 2020.
    Learn more.

    Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)
    The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) provides nearly $962 million to help more businesses and organizations in sectors such as manufacturing, technology, tourism and others that are key to the regions and to local economies. This fund is specifically targeted to those that may require additional help to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, but have been unable to access other support measures.
    Learn more.

    Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assurance (CECRA)
    Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) provides relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. Over the course of the program, property owners will reduce rent by at least 75 % for the months of April, May, June, July and August for their small business tenants. CECRA will cover 50 % of the rent, with the tenant paying up to 25 % and the property owner forgiving at least 25 %.
    Learn more.

  • Detailed and up-to-date information on Alberta's financial support measures for businesses is available here.

    Relaunch funding
    The Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant offers up to $5,000 in funding for eligible small- and medium-sized businesses, cooperatives and non-profits to offset a portion of their relaunch costs.
    Learn more.

    Protecting commercial tenants
    The Commercial Tenancies Protection Act ensures eligible commercial tenants will not face rent increases or be evicted for non-payment of rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Learn more.

    Corporate income tax changes
    Alberta corporate income tax balances owing on or after March 18, 2020, or instalments due between March 18, 2020 and September 30, 2020, may be deferred until September 30, 2020.
    Learn more.

  • Information about BC support for businesses, organizations and industry, including tax and rent relief is available here.

  • Detailed and up-to-date information on Manitoba's financial support measures for businesses is available here.

    Manitoba Economic Support Center
    Call the Manitoba Economic Support Center to learn more about provincial and federal support programs like wage subsidies, loans, rent assistance, hiring students and the new Manitoba Gap Protection Program. 1-888-805-7554.

    Back to Work in Manitoba Wage Subsidy Program
    The Back to Work in Manitoba initiative is a hiring program designed to support Manitoba’s economic recovery by encouraging Manitoba employers to bring back their employees or take on new hires. The program covers 50 per cent of wage costs between July 16 and October 31, 2020. Employers can be supported to hire up to 10 employees.
    Learn more.

  • Detailed and up-to-date information on Nova Scotia's financial support measures for businesses is available here.

    Nova Scotia Small Business Loan Guarantee Program
    A joint initiative of the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council, Atlantic Central, local participating credit unions, and the Province of Nova Scotia.
    Learn more.

    Small Business Reopening and Support Grant
    Through this $25-million program, eligible small businesses, non-profits, charities and social enterprises that were ordered to close or greatly reduce operations because of the Public Health Order, or that were greatly impacted by social distancing and orders to stay home, may qualify for a reopening and support grant.
    Learn more.

  • Detailed and up-to-date information on Ontario's financial support measures for businesses is available here.

    Interest and penalty relief
    Businesses will get an extended interest and penalty relief period to file and make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes. Between April 1, 2020 and October 1, 2020, the province will not apply any penalty or interest on any late-filed returns or incomplete or late tax payments under select provincially administered taxes, such as Employer Health Tax, Tobacco Tax and Gas Tax.
    Learn more.

    Pausing commercial evictions
    The province is temporarily halting or reversing evictions of commercial tenants and protecting them from being locked out or having their assets seized during COVID-19. This applies to businesses that are eligible for federal/provincial rent assistance for evictions from May 1 to August 31, 2020. The pause on evictions does not apply to those participating in CECRA for small businesses.
    Learn more.

    Employer Health Tax relief
    The Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption is increased for 2020 from $490,000 to $1 million. This means relief of up to $9,945 for employers.
    Learn more.

  • Detailed and up-to-date information on Prince Edward Island's financial support measures for businesses is available here.

    Commercial Lease Rent Deferral Program
    To support small and medium-sized businesses, landlords are encouraged to defer rent payments from their commercial tenants for 3 months, spreading the deferred rent amount over the rest of the lease term.
    Learn more.

    COVID-19 Workspace Adaptation Assistance Fund
    The COVID-19 Workspace Adaption Assistance Fund provides a non-repayable contribution toward the cost of implementing a COVID-19 Operational Plan.
    Learn more.

    Emergency Working Capital Financing
    A financing program has been developed to provide emergency working capital financing to assist PEI’s small business during this unprecedented economic disruption to business, caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. This new loan program is to assist qualifying companies maintain normal business operations during these difficult times. Eligible applicants can apply to receive a working capital loan of up to $100,000 with a fixed interest rate of 4% per annum to be used to assist with fixed operating costs (including payroll, rent, utilities etc) with principal & interest payments deferred for a minimum of 12 months.
    Learn more.

  • Detailed and up-to-date information on Québec's financial support measures for businesses is available here.

    Finding financial assistance for businesses
    Online tool. Learn more.

    Concerted temporary action program for businesses
    For businesses whose liquidity is affected by the repercussions of COVID-19.
    Learn more.

    Flexibility measures respecting existing loans and loan guarantees
    Learn more. French only.

    Emergency assistance for SMEs
    The program supports small and medium-sized enterprises that experience financial difficulties during the pandemic.
    Learn more. French only.

  • Detailed and up-to-date information on Saskatchewan's financial support measures for businesses is available here.

    Business reponse team
    Email or call toll free 1-844-800-8688.

    Re-Open Saskatchewan Training Subsidy
    The Re-Open Saskatchewan Training Subsidy allows eligible employers to access up to $10,000 to provide existing employees with training that addresses increased health and safety requirements or adoption of innovative practices that align with social distancing protocols. Applicants must demonstrate that the requested training supports the safe re-opening of the service or business. The application deadline is December 31, 2020.
    Learn more.

    Provincial Sales Tax
    Saskatchewan businesses which are unable to remit their PST due to cashflow concerns will have three-month relief from penalty and interest charges.
    Learn more.

    Commercial Eviction Protection for Tenants
    Temporary commercial eviction protection for small business tenants is available during the COVID-19 emergency. The moratorium on evictions applies to landlords that are eligible to apply for the Canada Emergency Commerical Rent Assistance (CECRA) program but choose not to.
    Learn more.

General COVID-19 links

Government of Canada