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Information for Languages Canada Members

Last updated: April 7, 2020

Languages Canada’s priority is to support our members to the fullest through this challenging time in order to ensure the well-being of members, their staff and students, and mitigate the financial impact on member programs.

As the global situation continues to evolve, we are gathering information and sharing resources that are relevant to our sector as well as useful links to government websites.

Members are also welcome to contact the LC team to discuss specific issues affecting your program or share best practices.

Latest government information and guidance

Provincial and territorial governments

Immigration issues

The Government of Canada has put in place travel restriction measures that restrict air travel to Canadians, permanent residents and families of Canadians to protect Canada from the outbreak of COVID-19.

Temporary foreign workers, as well as international students who have a valid study permit or who were approved for a study permit before March 18, 2020, and foreign nationals who were approved for permanent residence before March 16, 2020, but who hadn’t yet travelled to Canada, are exempt from these restrictions and are now able to enter Canada.

If you’re travelling by air, you need to pass a health check before you’re allowed to board your flight. Anyone who shows symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to enter Canada by air. When you arrive in Canada your health will be assessed before you leave the port of entry. You must isolate for 14 days even if you have no symptoms. This is mandatory.

Please refer to the IRCC website for the latest information.

Advocacy efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on our sector

LC is pursuing relief funding from the government, and our research shows that initially, the need for this support is particularly dire among our private sector members, which are SMEs. We are seeking assistance in the form of working capital grants to sustain members’ fixed operational costs. This aid will enable them to "hibernate" through the crisis and be ready to relaunch once restrictions are lifted. We are also advocating for support in the second phase to help all our members relaunch programs.

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 is an important contributor to the tourism, hospitality and post-secondary education sectors

Learn more:

How members can help make our voice heard

It is essential to make decision-makers aware of our situation. Without your help, we will not succeed.

  • Contact your local MP
    Download LC’s template letter (for private sector members) expressing the dire impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our sector. Personalize and send it to your local MP (find yours here). If your residence and business are in different ridings, send the letter to both.
  • Join our social media campaign
    Share our call on government to save 9000+ jobs in the language education sector on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Comment with your school’s perspective and tag your MP. 
  • Join the LC discussion group on Slack
    Share your stories, keep connected with other members and help motivate our entire community. Click here to join.

Available government support

While LC works to secure relief funding for our sector, members should also consider the following support measures made available by the Government of Canada and visit Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan page for the most up-to-date information.

The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit

If you have lost income because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will provide you with temporary income support. The CERB will provide you with $500 a week for up to 16 weeks.

Applications will be accepted starting on April 6. The benefit will be available to workers:

  • Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
  • Who have stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits
  • Who had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application
  • Who are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods, they expect to have no employment income.

Workers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents – including temporary foreign workers and international students – may be eligible to receive the Benefit if they meet the other eligibility requirements.

Learn more.

Small Business Wage Subsidies

The Government of Canada has announced an up to 75 per cent wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020, to help businesses keep and return workers to the payroll. More details on eligibility criteria will start with the impact of COVID-19 on sales, and will be shared by the government before the end of the month.

Learn more.

Work-Sharing Program

Effective March 15, 2020 to March 14, 2021, and not limited to one specific sector or industry, the Government of Canada is introducing temporary Work-Sharing special measures to support employers and workers affected by COVID-19.

  • Extension of the maximum possible duration of an agreement from 38 weeks to 76 weeks
  • Mandatory cooling off period has been waived for employers who have already used the Work-Sharing program so that eligible employers may immediately enter into a new agreement
  • Reduce the requirement and expand eligibility to employers affected by accepting business who have been in business for only 1 year rather than 2, and eliminate the burden of having to provide sales/production figures at the same time

Learn more.

Service Canada has created a bilingual enquiry unit for employers affected by COVID-19 that are seeking information related to the Work-Sharing Program. Enquiries can be sent for specific Work-Sharing information or to request general information about the Program:

EI Sickness Benefits

Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits provide up to 15 weeks of income replacement and is available to eligible claimants who are unable to work because of illness, injury or quarantine, to allow them time to restore their health and return to work. Canadians quarantined can apply for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits.

  • The one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits will be waived for new claimants who are quarantined so they can be paid for the first week of their claim
  • People claiming EI sickness benefits due to quarantine will not have to provide a medical certificate
  • People who cannot complete their claim for EI sickness benefits due to quarantine may apply later and have their EI claim backdated to cover the period of delay

Learn more.

Business Credit Availability Program

The Government of Canada has established a Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) to provide $65 billion of additional support through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC). BDC and EDC are working with private sector lenders to coordinate on credit solutions for individual businesses, including in sectors such as oil and gas, air transportation, exportation and tourism. This program includes:

  • Canada Emergency Business Account
    The new Canada Emergency Business Account will provide 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. To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019.
  • Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
    EDC is working with financial institutions to issue new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs.
  • Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
    BDC is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements. Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts of up to $6.25 million through the program.

These programs will roll out in the three weeks after March 27, and interested businesses should work with their current financial institutions.

Learn more.

Other government resources

BDC Webinar: How to cope with the impacts of COVID-19 on your business

The spread of COVID-19 poses important challenges to Canadian businesses. With the situation constantly evolving, you need to be prepared for any disruptions. Join BDC experts as they share short-term economic perspectives and advice on how to manage through the crisis.

Watch on YouTube.

Canada Business App

Download Canada Business to have information on government support at your fingertips.

Learn more.

Cancellations and postponements

LC members are encouraged to accommodate students who are affected by COVID-19-related travel restrictions by offering flexible arrangements such as credit or refunds on postponed or cancelled bookings. 

Transitioning to live virtual classes

As the current crisis continues to evolve, social distancing measures remain a crucial part of the fight to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Canada. With this in mind, Languages Canada is gathering information regarding tools and resources to help member programs transition from traditional classrooms to live virtual classes.

View resources for transitioning to live virtual classes (PDF, March 18, 2020)

Information for international students

Global Affairs Canada’s International Education Division has provided information and guidance that may be of assistance to international students. The resources listed provide information on study permit-related issues, as well as travel restrictions and exemptions that may affect international students, and Government of Canada programs for which international students may be eligible.

View information for international students (PDF, April 3, 2020)

Updates from Education Trade Commissioners on repatriation of international students wishing to return home (PDF, April 2, 2020)

Homestay and insurance issues

LC is gathering information from key service provider partners, such as insurance companies and student housing providers on how they are addressing challenges. 

LC Information Session: COVID-19 - Homestay and Insurance Issues

On March 16, 2020, LC hosted a webinar on homestay and insurance issues with representatives from Canada Homestay Network and 

View homestay and insurance webinar recording (57 min.)

keep.meSAFE workshop - Mental Wellness in a Pandemic

We are pleased to share an invitation from our partners at keep.meSAFE for a free workshop to help members support their students' mental and emotional health and wellbeing during the current COVID-19 crisis. All staff and faculty are invited to join.

Friday, March 20  - 2:00 PM-3:00 PM (EDT)
Thursday, April 16 - 2:00 PM- 3:00 PM (EDT) 

Join the webinar by clicking on this link from your computer, tablet or smartphone:


LC is staying connected with global partners via the GAELA and FELCA networks and industry associations to share information and learn best practices with the goal of alleviating negative impacts on our membership.

  • Summary of the situation in student sending countries, as described by FELCA member associations (March 11, 2020)
  • Summary of the situation in student sending countries, as described by FELCA member associations (March 30, 2020)

Staying active in a social distancing world

LC members are kindly sharing links to online fitness, mindfulness and entertainment resources to help staff, students and families stay active and healthy while respecting social distancing measures. If you would like to add to this list, please email

View resources (PDF, March 19, 2020)