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As COVID cases decline, Canada will relax travel requirements

Canada will ease entry for fully vaccinated international travelers beginning Feb. 28 as COVID-19 cases decline. Allowing a rapid antigen test for travelers rather than a molecular one, officials said on Tuesday.

Antigen tests are less expensive than molecular tests in Canada and can provide results in minutes.

The new measures, which include random testing for vaccinated visitors entering Canada, were announced at a briefing by federal government ministers.


“These changes are possible not only because we have passed Omicron’s peak, but also because Canadians across the country have listened to science and experts,” Duclos told reporters.

According to the health ministry, approximately 80% of Canadians are fully vaccinated, and more than 40% have received a booster dose.

The global travel advisory for Canadians is being updated as well. Previously, the government advised citizens to avoid all non-essential travel, but now it only advises them to exercise caution.

“Though today’s announcement brings us one step closer to where our industry needs to be,” the Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable industry group said in a statement. “However, by requiring pre-departure rapid antigen tests, the government missed an opportunity to align with other international jurisdictions that have removed pre-departure test requirements for fully vaccinated travelers.”

“Today’s news by the federal government is a step forward both for travelers, our business, and the Canadian economy, which relies on commerce and tourism,” said Suzanne Acton-Gervais, interim president of the National Airlines Council of Canada.

As coronavirus infection rates decline, several jurisdictions, including Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec, and Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, have announced a relaxation of restrictions imposed during the epidemic.

On Monday, Ontario announced that it will accelerate its plan to eliminate proof-of-vaccination requirements and ease pandemic-related capacity constraints for many enterprises, while Alberta, in the west, ended its mask requirements for schoolchildren.

For weeks, protesters have been blocking border crossings and paralyzing Ottawa’s downtown, demanding that governments lift pandemic restrictions. To pacify them, provincial premiers have refused relaxing restrictions, claiming that the limitations are no longer necessary to contain COVID-19.

Canada New Immigration Policy 2022

Canada's new Immigration policy aims to fill labour shortages and boost the Canadian economy.

Canada’s Immigration system has contributed to the development of Canada as the prosperous, varied, and friendly country it is today. Newcomers enrich and improve our communities by working to create jobs, care for our loved ones, and support local businesses on a daily basis. They’ve been on the front lines of the pandemic, working in critical industries like health care, transportation, and manufacturing. Canada would not have been able to overcome obstacles in vital industries and sectors of the economy in the last two years if it hadn’t been for them. Immigrants are more important than ever before in ensuring Canada’s continued success.

The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, today tabled the 2022-2024 Immigration Levels Plan, which lays out an ambitious but responsible immigration strategy that will help the Canada’s economy recover and fuel post-pandemic growth, all while strengthening communities and industries that rely on immigration across the country.

The pandemic has brought attention to the contributions of newcomers to the well-being of our communities and the economy as a whole. Last year, Canada welcomed almost 405,000 new permanent residents, the highest number ever in a single year. Despite the fact that many of the jobs lost during the epidemic have been recovered, there are still hundreds of thousands of open opportunities in all sectors. With 5 million Canadians expected to retire by the end of the decade, the worker-to-retiree ratio will plummet to just 3:1. This is a clear indication that additional immigration is required for economic reasons.

The 2022–2024 Immigration Levels Plan aims to continue welcoming immigrants at a rate of about 1% of Canada’s population, including 431,645 permanent residents in 2022, 447,055 in 2023, and 451,000 in 2024, to ensure Canada has the workers it needs to fill critical labour market gaps and support a strong economy in the future. This plan builds on the previous levels plan by putting a greater emphasis on assisting our economic recovery and post-pandemic growth.

To help support these higher levels, the Government of Canada recently announced a plan to modernise Canada’s immigration system in order to boost economic recovery and improve client experience, which will aid in addressing key challenges faced by our clients, such as reducing inventories and providing the predictable processing times that they expect and deserve.

This strategy will aid in attracting and retaining newcomers in areas facing severe economic, labour, and demographic issues. It will also boost Francophone immigration outside of Quebec, while also assisting newcomers in settling in and building Francophone communities across the country. We’re aiming for 4.4 percent of French-speaking immigrants outside of Quebec by 2023 as part of our Francophone Immigration Strategy.

The following are some of the plan's highlights:

  • By 2024, admissions will account for 1.14 percent of the Canadian population.
    With over 60% of admissions in the Economic Class, there is a long-term concentration on economic growth.
  • Special measures for giving permanent residency to refugee claimants working in health care during the pandemic, such as the special procedures for awarding permanent residence to refugee claimants working in health care during the epidemic.
  • Support for global crises by offering a safe haven for people fleeing persecution through humanitarian immigration.
  • Temporary residents accepted through the time-limited paths for vital employees, which began in April 2021, will be granted permanent status, allowing them to stay in Canada.

This approach also emphasises the importance of family reunification and aids in the preservation of the 12-month processing norm for spouses and children.

Canada is sticking to its worldwide humanitarian commitments, including a pledge to resettle at least 40,000 Afghans over the next two years. As a result of these efforts, more than 7,550 Afghan refugees today call Canada home. We are utilising all possible options to facilitate safe passage for people in Afghanistan by collaborating with regional partners.

The Immigration Levels Plan for 2022–2024 will help Canada maintain its position as one of the world’s top talent destinations, laying a solid basis for post-pandemic economic growth while reconnecting families with their loved ones and fulfilling Canada’s humanitarian obligations.

“Immigration has helped shape Canada into the country it is today. From farming and fishing to manufacturing, healthcare and the transportation sector, Canada relies on immigrants. We are focused on economic recovery, and immigration is the key to getting there. Setting bold new immigration targets, as outlined in the 2022-2024 Levels Plan, will further help bring the immeasurable contribution of immigrants to our communities and across all sectors of the economy.”

The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of IRCC
Canada requires international students more than ever

In the 2019-2020 academic year, international students made up 18 percent of Canada’s post-secondary enrollment, up seven percentage points from 2015-2016. 1 This data illustrates that international student enrollment has continued to be critical to Canada’s post-secondary education’s expansion and success. Improved access to global education helps Canada and the globe become stronger and more successful.

According to a new study from Ontario’s auditor general, domestic student enrollment at Ontario’s colleges has decreased by 15% during 2012-2013. 2 However, the most recent data from Statistics Canada shows that Ontario is not alone in this tendency. This new data set sheds light on the numbers behind many of the international studies patterns we’ve seen around the country.

Total Enrollment in Canada

The overall number of domestic students enrolled in Canadian post-secondary schools fell by 1% in 2019-2020, after hovering around 1.8 million for several years. At the same time, approximately 388,000 overseas students enrolled in Canadian universities and colleges, indicating a 14 percent increase year over year. Over the five-year period, the rapid growth of international student enrolment has captured a bigger percentage of Canada’s total enrollment.


In 2019-2020, there were 159,000 more international students enrolled in Canadian post-secondary schools than in 2015-2016, a 70 percent increase. From 2016-2017 through 2019-2020, year-over-year growth in international student enrollment topped 10% each year. As domestic student enrollment dwindled, this growth was critical to the success of Canada’s post-secondary industry. It also demonstrates Canada’s international strength in attracting and educating students from all around the world.

Enrollment in Canada, Province by Province

The stacked bar charts below indicate which provinces increasingly relied on international student enrollment to keep their post-secondary schools growing from 2015-2016 to 2019-2020.

Enrollment at the University Level

International student enrollment at universities increased by 40% from 2015-2016 to 2019-2020. During this time, domestic university enrollment remained steady, growing by less than 1%. The following graph compares the total percentage of foreign and domestic student enrollment at university level by province from 2015-2016 to 2019-2020.

Enrollment at the College Level

In comparison to universities, colleges in Canada have seen more fluctuation in international and domestic student enrollment. The chart below compares the total percentage of foreign and domestic student enrollment at the college level by province from 2015-2016 to 2019-2020.

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