Toronto: Canada is all set to suspend entry of international students, including from India, to Ontario, the worst-hit province which is battling the third wave of the COVID-19 virus.
According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), an education service provider based in Ottawa, there were 530,540 international students in Canada in 2020, of which the maximum were from India (34 per cent) followed by China (22 per cent).
Ontario has the maximum number of foreign students at 242,825 or 46 per cent, it said.
During a press conference on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government is considering halting the arrival of international students in Ontario, following a request from the province’s premier Doug Ford to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the globalnews.ca reported.
“Because currently Ontario is the only province to request it, we are happy to work more closely with them,” he said. Trudeau said they will be reaching out to their officials” to formalise the request.
However, there is no clarity as yet on when the change will take effect or how long it will last.
International students are currently exempt from Canada’s COVID-19 travel rules.
All students must be able to provide a valid study permit or a letter of introduction that shows they were approved for a permit, according to CTV news.
Ford also called on the federal government to ban non-essential travel after 36 cases of the B.1.617 variant, originally found in India, were identified in the province, the report said.
Trudeau reiterated his intentions of working closely with the provinces to quell the spread of the COVID-19 virus and cautioned against any kind of non-essential travel.
“We’re engaging with other provinces that are hit hard by this third wave to see how we can help,” he said.
Canada has so far reported 1.22 million coronavirus cases, including 463,000 in Ontario.
Of the total 24,219 fatalities, 8,050 were reported from Ontario.