Provincial and federal updates in response to COVID-19

Apr 23, 2021    Source: BCCIE


Provincial updates

The Province of British Columbia is aware of the significant pressures that many students are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  We are actively working to determine how best to support students in this unprecedented time. These resources may be of help to international students in BC. We will update the list as information becomes available.

Information about all COVID-19 provincial support is available on the BC government website, including on child care, children and youth; education; employment and finances; housing and monthly bills; health care and mental health, and more. Updated information about federal and provincial benefits for individuals and businesses is available online.

Read a message from former Hon. Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills & Training.

Post-secondary Institution Supports and Services

Many post-secondary institutions are providing student housing, financial, and other assistance, including bursaries and emergency funding for international students. International students should connect directly with their institutions to inquire on supports and services.

Mental Health and Wellness

  • The Government of British Columbia launched Here2Talk, a new mental health counselling and referral service for post-secondary students. The service offers confidential, free single-session services by app, phone or online chat, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Download the Here2Talk app, visit:, or call toll free 1-877-857-3397 or direct 604-642-5212.  More information.
  • Learn more about mental health supports for BC post-secondary international students who are affected by the new federal flight restrictions between India, Pakistan and Canada. 

​Health care

Medical Services Plan (MSP) Response to COVID-19

  • To support international students on study permits, the BC government has made temporary changes to MSP coverage policies.
  • If your study permit is about to expire and you are still in Canada, you can apply to IRCC for an extension.
  • If your study permit has expired and you no longer have MSP coverage, you may be provided temporary MSP coverage if you meet the eligibility criteria.
  • Contact Health Insurance BC to request this temporary coverage. This temporary coverage will be valid until October 31, 2021.
  • If you were previously issued a Temporary Coverage letter that is set to expire October 31, 2020, and you remain in BC with implied status, you can contact Health Insurance BC to request a new letter valid until October 31, 2021.
  • Learn more about BC’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan.

Federal updates

Global Affairs Canada 

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)

Public Health Agency of Canada

  • Government of Canada announces additional border measures to reduce the risk of importation and transmission of the COVID-19 Omicron variant of concern. (December 01, 2021)
  • List of resources relating to COVID-19 translated in multiple languages. Fact sheets, infographics, and videos with key public health advice on COVID-19 are added and updated regularly.
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), in collaboration with Canadian public health experts, has developed this guidance for post-secondary institutions administrators and local public health authorities (PHAs).
  • COVID-19 guidance for schools Kindergarten to Grade 12 – this guidance provides information for both public and private institutions providing K-12 education programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Information on required testing and quarantine requirements for travellers arriving to Canada by land and air (February 12, 2021 update)

Transport Canada