Ryerson University absent from federal list of schools approved to reopen to international students
International students enrolled at Ryerson, but currently located outside Canada, will have to continue to wait before they can travel back to the country for school.
Ryerson University is not listed as a designated learning institution (DLI) by the Government of Canada as of Thursday. DLIs are learning institutions that have approved COVID-19 readiness plans with established protocols if there are suspected or confirmed cases of the virus on campus. Only post-secondary institutions listed on the federal government website are allowed to reopen for international students with approved study permits.
There are currently 14 DLIs in Ontario, including the University of Toronto and York University.
“Provincial and territorial partners indicated they would like to see a process that allows international students to begin travelling to Canada again, as long as it is done safely and respects health requirements,” reads the Government of Canada webpage.
It is unclear why Ryerson has not been approved to reopen to international students. When asked about this issue, the university said that they are waiting for more information on their status and encourage international students to not make travel arrangements until further notice.
“Ryerson remains committed to supporting you at this time and is actively working with the relevant authorities on the institution’s COVID-19 readiness plan,” said International Student Support in an email to the Ryersonian. “Once we have more information, we will communicate with you via your Ryerson email.”
There is nothing much students can do
There is little to no recourse for Ryerson international students looking to come back to Canada for their studies. Airlines and government officials are incredibly wary about letting immigrants in due to COVID-19, said immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah. Ackah has seen cases where international students could not board a plane to come to Canada even with an approved study permit. Students can either withdraw their enrolment, defer until the next academic year or wait until Ryerson creates an approved COVID-19 strategy to get on the DLI list.
“First, see if you can get some of your money back or as much of it as you can and wait until you can come, especially for that experience to come to school in Canada. (International students) come not just for learning — it’s also the experience of a different culture, but there’s no recourse in this from the students’ perspective, unfortunately,” said Ackah.
Students who are thinking of travelling back to their home countries this winter break are also not guaranteed entry back into Canada. International students who are located in Canada should stay in Canada, Ackah said. She recognized how challenging it is for international students who are not able to see their families during the winter break, but said these measures are in place to protect their health and wellbeing.
“This is not the year (international students) should be travelling. Stay here, stay safe and stay healthy,” said Ackah.