Important pre-arrival information for incoming international students to VCC

Posted on July 20, 2020

Updated Sept. 24, 2021

NEW: Please note that the Government of Canada has suspended direct flights from India until Sept. 26, 2021. After this restriction on direct flights is lifted, passengers eligible to enter Canada and travelling on those flights will need to obtain a pre-departure negative COVID-19 molecular test result within 18 hours of their departure. Find more information on travel advisories regarding India on the Government of Canada website.

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Vancouver Community College (VCC) is committed to ensuring the health and safety of all its students and the wider community by following the guidelines of the Government of Canada and health authorities.

This bulletin provides incoming international students with important information regarding current restrictions and mandatory quarantine requirements in relation to COVID-19. Please review this information carefully for important updates and resources for a safe arrival in Canada.

It is the responsibility of VCC international students to understand federal and provincial laws and regulations before planning to arrive in Canada. Students are recommended to review official government websites regularly for up-to-date information.


Travel restrictions and mandatory quarantine requirements

Before travelling to Canada, it is very important that you understand the travel restrictions and exemptions for international students. Please check the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website for details.

VCC is a designated learning institution (DLI) with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by the province of British Columbia. We are ready to reopen to international students who are currently outside Canada. Please refer to the approved DLI list on the IRCC website.

Please note that a Canada Border Services officer will make the final decision on whether you’re eligible to enter Canada when you arrive.

Under the Quarantine Act, all travellers arriving in Canada are legally required to quarantine for 14 days in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This is a legal requirement. Once you arrive at your quarantine location, you cannot leave that location for 14 days for any purpose.  This would be considered an offence under the Quarantine Act and can result in up to six months in prison, $750,000 in fines, and/or deportation. Please visit the IRCC website for information about quarantine requirements.

Update: Beginning July 5, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. EDT (8:59 p.m. PDT), fully vaccinated travellers who are permitted to enter Canada will not be subject to the federal requirement to quarantine or take a COVID-19 test on Day 8. Fully vaccinated travellers must still meet all other mandatory requirements, including pre- and on-arrival testing. They must have a paper or digital copy of their vaccination documentation ArriveCAN prior to arrival in Canada, and update that information in the ArriveCan app prior to arrival in Canada. A quarantine plan should still be prepared in case Canada Border Services determine that they do not meet all of the conditions required to be exempt from quarantine.

To be considered fully vaccinated, a traveller must have received the full series of a vaccine (or combination of vaccines) accepted by the Government of Canada at least 14 days prior to entering Canada. For more information, please visit the IRCC website.


Planning your travel to Canada

International students should plan to arrive in Canada with adequate time to fulfil the 14-day quarantine plan before attending any classes in person (if applicable). This will require advance flight booking and other planning. Please note that some airlines are not allowing students to board the flight if arriving in Canada too early. We recommend that you do not arrive any earlier than three weeks before your program officially starts.

Effective Jan. 7, 2021, all air travellers entering Canada must provide proof to the airline of a negative lab test result of COVID-19 conducted within 72 hours of the traveller’s scheduled departure to Canada before boarding a flight. Failure to do so will result in automatic denial of boarding by the airline. For more detailed information please visit the IRCC website.

International students are required to download the ArriveCAN app once they book their flight. Effective Nov. 21, 2020, all travellers arriving in Canada will be required to submit their travel and contact information, as well as their quarantine plan through the ArriveCan app before boarding their flight. Travellers who do not submit this information electronically before boarding the flight may be subject to a $1,000 fine. More information can be found here.  

To request a Confirmation of Enrolment Support Letter which would state that you are enrolled as a VCC student, please download the request form [PDF] and email the completed form to ieadmissions@vcc.ca. Please make the request early as it may take up to 10 business days to issue you the letter. Note: Only students with a study permit approval can be issued a Confirmation of Enrolment Support Letter.

To prepare for your flight (check with airlines for specific guidelines):

  • Wear a non-medical mask or face covering.
  • Wear gloves (if applicable).
  • Practice safe physical distancing.
  • Carry hand sanitizer and wash your hands frequently.

Upon arrival in Canada:

Post-arrival in Canada 

Effective of Nov. 21, 2020, travellers who enter Canada must confirm that they have arrived at their place of quarantine and complete daily COVID-19 symptom self-assessments during their quarantine period by using the ArriveCAN app or by calling 1-833-641-0343. More information can be found here.


Transportation from your government-authorized hotel to your final quarantine location

After you complete your three-day quarantine period at a federal government-authorized hotel, please arrange direct transportation to your final quarantine location. The following are transportation options to consider:

Important: Do not use public transportation. Avoid contact with the general public. When using public transportation after your quarantine period, you must wear a mask or face covering.


Send your travel/quarantine plan to VCC

If you are eligible to travel to Canada and have booked your flights, please send VCC International the following information by email to ieservices@vcc.ca in advance of your arrival:

Important: You must stay in your quarantine location for 14 days before attending classes at VCC (if required). All students must complete a pre-screen health questionnaire before visiting a VCC campus. If required, email VCC International to request a questionnaire.


Accommodations during 14-day quarantine

NEW: As of August 9, 2021, the mandatory 3-night government-authorized hotel stay has been eliminated for all air travellers arriving on or after August 9, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. EDT. More information can be found on the IRCC website.

For more information on how to self-isolate (quarantine) with others, please visit the Government of Canada website.

Please see the list of hotels below that are currently offering discounted rates for VCC international students who are required to quarantine:

Sheraton and Marriott Vancouver Airport Hotel
Rate: $99 CAD/night for minimum 14 night stay
Address: 7551/7571 Westminster Hwy, Richmond BC, V6X 1A3
Features: $200 in-room dining credit, taxi from YVR to hotel, parking
Contact: Karen Caporale
T: 604.233.3952
E: karen.caporale@sheratonvancouverairport.com

Happy Day Inn
Rates: For 14 night stay:
$1150 CAD/night (for standard room)
$1199 (standard room with kitchen)
1299 (standard room with kitchen and adjoining living room)
Address: 7330 6th Street, Burnaby, BC V3N 3L3
Features: Free parking, Wi-Fi, sauna, exercise room, breakfast, laundry available
Contact: Ramandeep Kaur
T: 604-524-8501 ext. 201
E: marketing@happydayinn.com

Accent Inn Burnaby
Rate: $139 CAD/night (minimum of 7 night stay)
Address: 3777 Henning Dr, Burnaby, BC V5C 6N5
Features: Free parking, free WiFi, free local telephone calls, free in-room coffee/tea, free bike rentals
Contact: Sally Chan
T: 250.940.0845
E: schan@accentinns.com

 


Accommodations after mandatory 14-day quarantine

There are many accommodation options for students in Metro Vancouver (e.g. homestays, furnished and unfurnished rooms in houses, basement suites, condos, apartments). We advise you to familiarize yourself with your rights as responsibilities as a tenant by reviewing information from the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre.

Homestay
International students may want to experience life with a Canadian family until they become accustomed to their new surroundings. Homestays are a safe and secure choice, providing students with opportunities to practice English outside of school and learn about Canadian life. Learn more about Liane's Vancouver Homestay.


Food and meals

Travellers to Canada may not leave their quarantine locations to purchase meals, groceries, or other necessities. Incoming students should arrange to have someone deliver meals and supplies, or have groceries or meals delivered.

Grocery delivery services:


Meal delivery services:


Medical insurance (MSP)

All B.C. residents, including international students, who reside in Canada for more than six months are required to have medical insurance through B.C.’s publicly funded Medical Services Plan (MSP). This plan provides basic medical benefits including doctor/clinic visits and emergency services. You should apply for MSP immediately upon arrival in B.C. by completing the online application.

Important: There is a three-month waiting period for all new MSP applicants. During this waiting period, you are required to have private medical insurance. Upon your arrival, VCC International can assist you in purchasing insurance through the Global Campus Health Plan. Please email study@vcc.ca for more information on how to apply.


How to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19

International students are responsible for ongoing self-monitoring and assessment of COVID-19 symptoms. Common symptoms for COVID-19 include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, and loss of sense of smell or taste. Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure. If you are unsure about your symptoms, use the BC COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool or call HealthLink BC (8-1-1).

If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, do all you can to avoid contact with others. Even if your symptoms are mild, self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days. Do not go to work, school, or public places, and do not have visitors to your home. Follow the normal protocol in your VCC program for reporting absences due to illness. 

Anyone with symptoms, however mild, can get tested for COVID-19 in B.C. Find a testing centreAs a best practice, use the ArriveCAN app for daily symptom reporting.  

If you develop COVID-19 symptoms while in quarantine, VCC International can provide additional supports and resources. Please call 604.443.8600 or email ieservices@vcc.ca

Please note that a final screening by a health care professional within 24 hours of the end of the quarantine period is required. Call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1 for more information.


Additional Resources

All international students will receive a phone call from VCC International upon arrival in Vancouver. This phone call will confirm that you are symptom-free and have a suitable self-isolation/quarantine plan. Follow-up calls will ensure that you are complying with quarantine requirements and provide support and/or resources where required.  

You can also access the following social and mental health resources:


Questions? Call 604.443.8600 or email ieservices@vcc.ca. We are available Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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