As part of the temporary rules, students will be able to work in excess of 20 hours a week while classes are in session – provided they are working in an essential service or function, such as health care, critical infrastructure, or the supply of food or other critical goods.
“International students who are already present in Canada will help meet the challenges of the pandemic”
The measures will remain in place until August 31, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
“Immigrants, temporary foreign workers and international students are making important contributions as frontline workers in health care and other essential service sectors,” said minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, Marco Mendicino.
“We know and value their efforts and sacrifices to keep Canadians healthy and ensure the delivery of critical goods and services.”
In a statement, the department said that during the Covid-19 outbreak, workers in certain roles and industries have been under considerable pressure.
“The government recognises that international students who are already present in Canada will help meet the challenges of the pandemic,” it said.
Statistics Canada reported that in 2017–2018, more than 11,000 international students were enrolled in health-care programs at Canada’s universities and colleges, representing about 4% of healthcare students at that time.
The department said that international students and their employers should consult Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada guidance to determine if the work the student is doing would allow them to work more than 20 hours per week during the academic session.
The move comes after the Canadian government announced a CAD$9 billion support package for post-secondary students and recent graduates. The plan will help provide the students financial support through the summer and help them start their careers.
New measures will see the creation of the Canada Emergency Student Benefit, which would provide support to students and new graduates who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. However, it will not benefit international students in Canada.
According to CTVNews, CESB will only be available for Canadians studying in Canada or Canadian citizens who are completing their post-secondary degrees abroad.
“To promote a sustainable economic recovery, we need a strong workforce and good job opportunities for young people,” said the prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau.
“That means giving them the support they need to continue their studies and encouraging them to serve their communities. Together, we will get through this difficult time.”