In a press conference today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada would be closing its borders to non-citizens and those without permanent resident status starting on Wednesday. A number of international students at U of T will likely be affected by these new measures.

Exceptions to the border closure will be made for American citizens, immediate family members of Canadian citizens, air crews, and diplomats. In addition, Trudeau urged Canadians abroad to return home — with government funds in place to support re-entry efforts or to cover basic needs while Canadians wait to return.

This poses concerns for international students at U of T, who, in the wake of in-person exam cancellations and the transition to online course completion, may be considering travelling abroad to return home. In doing so, international students without permanent residency will not be able to return to Canada, indefinitely.

International students who are set to participate in summer internships, jobs, or courses will now have to decide within the coming days if they wish to visit their home countries — lest they be barred re-entry to Canada.

While the border remains open to American citizens, the federal government is actively monitoring the international situation, and changes may be implemented on short notice. Additional measures are already set to be announced by the government tomorrow.

While the Public Health Agency of Canada maintains that the public health risk of COVID-19 in Canada is low to the general population, there are now over 175,000 COVID-19 cases in over 160 countries, according to Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam.