Guidelines to education in 2020-2021

In-person school attendance is compulsory for all students unless, of course, the health situation requires a class or school to be closed.

Students who have a health condition that makes them vulnerable to serious complications associated with COVID-19 may be exempt from compulsory in-person attendance by providing a doctor’s note. Doctors have the expertise to determine if the health condition of their patient, the student, requires that they not be physically present in school. Students living in the same household as a close family member who has a serious health condition that makes that person vulnerable to COVID‑19 may also be exempt. Parents of children who have been diagnosed with cancer are asked to read the recommendations of the Comité national de cancérologie pédiatrique for the COVID‑19 pandemic  This hyperlink will open in a new window.(available in French only).

Students who are exempted from attending school in person will be provided with distance learning services. A doctor’s note is required.

All students residing in Québec and subject to compulsory school attendance, that is, students aged 6 to 16, must attend school, as prescribed in the Education Act This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Parents must take the necessary steps to ensure that their child meets the compulsory school education requirement.

Students who return to Canada after a trip abroad will not be offered the required minimum amount of distance education service. This is because these students are not entitled to the prescribed minimum number of hours of educational services.

In addition, all travellers entering Canada from outside the country must self-isolate for 14 days. Families must comply with this isolation requirement even if they already completed a period of isolation in another country following a positive COVID-19 test result. As a result, children must complete their mandatory self-isolation period before they can return to school. For more information, please consult the instructions for travellers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Regular handwashing: at the beginning and end of the day, before and after meals, and before and after breaks and recess periods
  • Face coverings or procedural masks: see the information sheet (PDF 251 Kb) about wearing face coverings in different contexts, which complies with the guidelines that are in force until March 7, 2021
  • Janitorial services: cleaning and disinfection that complies with the Guide d’intervention prévention et contrôle des infections dans les services de garde et écoles du Québec (MSSS, 2015)
  • Emergency kits containing a procedural mask, a visor, a smock (gown), gloves and alcohol-based hand sanitizer available for use in response to a suspected case of COVID‑19 in a school
  • Specific arrangements to manage circulation and the use of specialized rooms (e.g. minimizing the use of these rooms by different groups on the same day, perhaps by scheduling the extended use of a given room) and cleaning of these rooms between groups, if applicable
  • Use of signage, particularly to facilitate circulation in hallways (e.g. one-way traffic)
  • Testing air quality in schools on a regular basis

The symptoms to look for are: difficulty breathing, fever, cough (new or worse), shortness of breath, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, sudden loss of sense of smell without nasal congestion (with or without a loss of taste), major fatigue, significant loss of appetite, general muscle pain (not related to physical exertion), nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach aches and headaches.

If a child shows these symptoms, they must remain at home and avoid contact with others.

For children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years, the 24-hour waiting period to assess the evolution of symptoms is maintained. Parents must use the self-assessment tool or contact 1-877-644-4545 and follow the instructions given to determine whether their child must be tested for COVID‑19 or can return to school.

In elementary schools, parents are responsible for providing face coverings for their children. If, for an exceptional reason, a child has forgotten their face covering, the school may provide one from their supply. This is a backup measure.

Students are encouraged to make sure they have their own face covering when they are required to wear it at school.

Two procedural masks will be provided each day to students and staff in secondary school, vocational training and adult general education.

Starting March 8, two pediatric masks will be distributed every day on a gradual basis, first to Elementary 1 to 6 students in red zones, then to Elementary 5 and 6 students in orange zones.

  • The student is automatically isolated.
  • A single staff member cares for the student while waiting for the parents to arrive.
  • The student must not use public transit or school transportation to return home. If the student must take a taxi, follow the recommendations in the Interim Recommendations for Drivers in the Taxi and Ride-sharing Industry, such as UBER or The Volunteer Bureau/Transportation (CAB) and Paratransit This hyperlink will open in a new window., published by the INSPQ.
  • An emergency kit containing the necessary materials (procedural masks, glasses, gloves, smock (gown), alcohol-based hand sanitizer, etc.) is used to protect the health of the staff member taking care of the student.
  • The room in which the student was isolated must be ventilated, cleaned and disinfected after the student has left.
     

No. Like teachers and any other individuals showing symptoms of COVID-19, students must stay home and determine whether they need to take a test by using the self-assessment tool to evaluate their symptoms or by calling 1-877-644-4545. These resources will indicate where it is possible to get tested for COVID-19. The location of the testing sites depends on the organization of services in each region.

However, the public health authorities may decide to carry out screening (testing of individuals without symptoms) in certain schools in order to determine the situation regarding the transmission of COVID-19 in response to an outbreak. In that case, it is possible that a specialized team will be sent to the school to carry out this screening.
 

If a child is showing one or more symptoms that justify being kept at home, it is strongly suggested that the child be tested. Please note that a child showing symptoms at school can be sent home. The criteria for returning to school (leaving isolation) vary based on the diagnosis. In the case of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, isolation can only end when the following three conditions are met:

  • at least 10 days have elapsed since the onset of symptoms
  • improvement of symptoms for at least 24 hours (excluding cough and loss of sense of smell or taste, which may last longer)
  • absence of fever for 48 hours (without having taken fever-reducing medication)

All parents and school staff are automatically informed by the educational institution when a confirmed case of COVID‑19 is diagnosed at a school.

  • The public health authorities will proceed with an investigation once the positive diagnosis of COVID-19 is confirmed and will then provide instructions.
  • Parents of students who had contact considered to be low risk will only be asked to monitor symptoms for a period of 14 days after the contact.
  • Individuals who had contact considered moderate to high risk will be asked to self-isolate at home for 14 days following the exposure and undergo a screening test.

Yes, staff members who show symptoms of COVID-19 are asked not to report to school. They must stay at home and avoid contact with others.

Staff members can assess their COVID‑19 symptoms by using the self-assessment tool or by calling 1-877-644-4545 and following the instructions given to determine if they must be tested or if they can return to school.

If the staff member receives a diagnosis of COVID‑19, the public health authorities will identify any close contacts that took place at the school, with the help of the person involved, the administration and the staff of the school. Based on the level of risk, the contacts will be informed and instructions will be provided to them.

All parents and school staff are automatically informed by the educational institution when a case of COVID‑19 is diagnosed at a school.

Supply teachers must respect the same health guidelines as the rest of the staff in order to reduce the potential spread of the virus.

Educational institutions must evaluate each situation based on its specific circumstances. They are welcome to assess the possibility of teachers continuing to work remotely.

If the situation is outside of the employee’s control and it is impossible for them to return to school, their salary is minimally maintained in accordance with the known and agreed-upon schedule in the work contract

  • All parents and school staff are automatically contacted by the educational institution when a case of COVID‑19 is confirmed at the school.
  • With help from the student’s parents or the staff member concerned, and the school administration, the public health authorities will follow up with contact tracing at the school.
  • Anyone considered to be at moderate to high risk will be informed by the public health authorities, removed from the school and tested.
  • Anyone considered to be at low risk may continue to attend school and must monitor their symptoms for the next 14 days.
  • Support in the form of distance education is provided to students who are removed from school.
  • It is possible that intervention measures may be intensified (closing a classroom, closing a school, etc.) based on the public health authorities’ analysis of virus transmission in the school and on the epidemiological factors specific to the school or region.
  • With help from the administration, teachers, school staff and the student concerned or their parents, the public health authorities will follow up with contact tracing at the school.
  • Anyone considered to be at low risk will be informed by the school.
  • Anyone considered to be at moderate to high risk will be informed by the regional public health authorities, removed from the school and tested.
  • In collaboration with the school administration, the regional public health authorities will make the necessary recommendations and decide whether a classroom or school should be closed based on the situation.
  • Students who are removed from school will be provided with remote pedagogical support.

It is possible that intervention measures may be intensified (closing a classroom, closing a school, etc.) based on the public health authorities’ analysis of virus transmission in the school and on the epidemiological factors specific to the school or region.

If a class or a school must be closed, staff will continue to work full-time and a minimum number of distance teaching hours per week will be guaranteed.

A student who is removed from class after showing symptoms (e.g. a student placed in 14-day isolation) will continue to be followed by their regular teachers, provided they are not too ill to do schoolwork. The teacher may provide them with work, but they are not subject to the minimum number of hours of educational services. The teacher will contact the parents to follow up on the student during this short period. Other practices may complement these services: for example, the teacher could plan a phone meeting or videoconference, provide a schedule with their availability, or record a video in which they explain a new concept and its possible applications.

In the event of an outbreak in a school, the public health authorities may choose to fully confine certain groups or the entire school. Contrary to last spring, when only pedagogical support services were offered, educational services to students will continue this fall, meaning that school attendance will continue to be compulsory, but in a different format, namely through distance learning.

In such an event, teachers will continue to work with the students in the groups they have been assigned to, but this work will take place partially through distance learning. The number of hours dedicated to distance learning will vary based on the students’ grade level, and students will also be required to do some independent work each day. Thus, students will do several hours of distance learning as well as individual work on a daily basis.

In addition, the teacher’s workload will allow for time to carry out personalized follow-up with students. This will enable teachers not only to work with the larger group, but also to provide students with more personalized support. To ensure that all students have access to distance learning with their teachers, schools will be able to lend students the digital equipment they need.

These measures will ensure that educational services can continue and that students can continue to learn new content.

Additionally, a student whose health is such that a physician has determined it would be too great a risk for them to attend school is entitled to the same minimum number of hours of educational services, the support of a designated teacher for distance learning and school assignments, in accordance with the student’s health and capabilities. The designated teacher will not be this student’s regular teacher, but will be another teacher whose role will be to support students in this exceptional health situation. Students entitled to this measure will be required to submit a doctor’s note to their school.

Each school service centre, school board and private educational institution has prepared an emergency protocol, which is a tool for planning the rapid organization and implementation of educational services in the event of a closure.

This protocol must cover the following six aspects: management; communication; material and information resources; educational services; support for students with disabilities, social maladjustments or learning difficulties and for students with specific needs; and support with regard to mental health and well-being.

Teaching would be required to continue if schools were to close. The distance education services required based on students’ needs are managed locally, in compliance with the applicable collective agreements.

Staff will continue to work full-time and a minimum weekly number of hours of distance learning will be set.

Contrary to last spring, students will continue to learn new content, rather than simply consolidating prior learning.

Are educational services planned for students who are exempted from attending school in person by a doctor’s note as a result of their health situation or that of a member of their household?

Distance educational services, including complementary services, must be provided to students who are exempted from attending school in person as a result of a health condition confirmed by a doctor’s note. These services will be overseen by the school service centre, school board or private educational institution attended by these students.  Updated individual education plans (IEP) are required for students with disabilities, social maladjustments or learning difficulties to enable them to adjust to the new distance learning situation.

The school teams of school service centres, school boards and private educational institutions must prepare a game plan for offering educational services, including complementary services, where required, to students who have fallen significantly behind in their learning. This could include providing students with remedial instruction before introducing new content or setting up an individual education plan together with parents to identify a student’s needs and to determine whether any specialized services are required.

In order to assist students who may be struggling and lend a helping hand to school staff, the Québec government will gradually begin introducing a series of initiatives starting in January 2021 to provide support to students who are experiencing difficulties due to the pandemic. These difficulties may relate to students’ learning or their psychological well-being.

School service centres (SCCs) and school boards (SBs) are responsible for loaning the necessary equipment to students who do not have it at home in order to ensure that these students can continue to learn remotely. To support educational institutions in acquiring equipment and loaning it to students, the Ministère de l’Éducation has made additional funding available to the education network.

The Ministère has also created a reserve supply of computer equipment consisting of 15 000 tablets and 15 000 laptops. An additional 21 512 laptops will be added to this reserve and will gradually become available. To date, the education network has acquired just over 200 000 devices.

These devices help to support the education network in taking steps to provide distance education. This equipment is also intended for students who cannot attend school in person and who do not have their own equipment at home. SCCs and SBs may use this equipment if they are unable to meet students’ needs immediately through their own inventory or orders.

Priority access to this equipment is given to students who:  

  • do not have access to computer equipment
  • do not have exclusive access to computer equipment
  • are in Secondary III, IV or V and attending school according to an alternating schedule
  • are at risk (at-risk students are those at the preschool, elementary and secondary levels who are vulnerable in ways that may affect their learning, success, behaviour or socialization)
  • have disabilities, social maladjustments or learning difficulties 

SCCs and SBs are also providing IT support to students and parents who require assistance in using computer equipment and digital tools. The Ministère is also taking steps to establish a call centre.

Families remain primarily responsible for establishing and paying for an Internet connection at home. Students may download educational materials using a public Internet hotspot or their school’s Wi-Fi connection. SCCs and SBs can also provide students with LTE mobile Internet keys, if needed. Families are invited to contact their SCC or SB about their needs.

Additionally, in areas where Internet service is not available or is insufficient for distance education, students can enter the school buildings on an exceptional basis in order to access the Internet to participate in distance education. In this case, students are supervised by school staff who are not acting as teachers. Distancing measures and health rules must be followed. The use of LTE connections must be preferred, where possible, and the school must provide each student with an adequate connection by lending out LTE devices.

Memory aids for each program of study have been made available to all educational service departments of school service centres and school boards. These tools aim to support education consultants and teachers in targeting essential learning, at both the elementary and secondary levels.

Training aimed at supporting the education network throughout the next school year is also available. This training offers a new look at the principles, concepts, processes, approaches and strategies used in the teaching profession. It will also provide food for thought on how to prepare for and proceed with the new school year. The training videos are available on the Ministère’s YouTube channel This hyperlink will open in a new window. (video available in French only) and can be viewed at any time. The training will consist of three parts:

  • Learning and Enabling Learning: Embracing and Implementing Curricula
  • Identifying Students' Needs to Adjust Educational Planning
  • Differentiated Instruction Through Pedagogical Flexibility: A Response to Mixed-Ability Classrooms

New revision tools based on the Québec Education Program have been developed by Alloprof. These tools are designed specifically for students and are the result of collaboration between teachers, the Association des Orthopédagogues du Québec and the Chaire UNESCO de développement curriculaire at the Université du Québec à Montréal. The tools were put online recently and provide students with review activities in various subjects. The links for these tools, which are available in French only, are given below.

Employees with a health condition or in an age bracket that makes them vulnerable to COVID‑19 (chronic disease, severe immunodeficiency or aged 70 or older) are exempted.

As employers, school service centres and school boards are responsible for managing their human resources based on their own needs and in compliance with the legal frameworks and collective agreements. They can also turn to their pool of supply teachers, which may be extensive.

In an effort to prevent and counter the impacts of a teacher shortage, the Ministère has taken various steps over the last few years to promote the teaching profession and foster the recruitment of competent and qualified individuals, including adding a web page with information about teaching jobs.

Organisation of Higher Education Activities in 2020-2021

The curfew measures include exemptions that allow individuals to frequent higher education institutions. The following activities are permitted even during curfew hours:

  • Receiving educational services at a college or university
  • Working or providing professional services that are necessary for activities or services to continue (e.g. teachers, researchers)

Individuals who are travelling during curfew hours must be able to produce justificatory documents (e.g. a copy of their course schedule and a valid student ID card for students; a letter provided by their employer for staff members) in case they are stopped by the police.

Yes. However, universities and colleges located in yellow or orange zones must be ready to transition some or all of their activities to take place remotely should their local public health authorities advise this. Until February 8, 2021, inclusive, all institutions are located in red zones, with the exception of those in Nunavik and the Cree Territory of James Bay.

Students enrolled at an institution located in a red zone may access all support services in person (e.g. psychosocial services, services tailored to students with disabilities, success centre services).

As well, students living in student residences are permitted to collect takeout meals from the cafeteria, or to work or study at the library, provided that they carry out work individually or in groups of no more than six students.

Each institution has the necessary authority to determine the conditions for in-person educational activities, provided that these activities respect the current health guidelines.

Some educational institutions have the rooms and space to quickly adapt to the adjustments that have been announced. Others may have problems, especially related to access to and use of space. Therefore, they may need more time to adjust to the new guidelines, especially since the semester has already started.

No. Although educational institutions have the right to provide educational activities in person for theory courses, only the students who can do so will attend class. Each educational institution is responsible for ensuring the continuity of the distance education activities currently being offered for members of the student community who cannot attend in person.

The changes made to the health guidelines must provide each student with the opportunity to be in class for teaching activities or to participate in educational activities in a group of no more than six students several times a month, ideally once a week.

However, for educational activities that have been recently authorized on campus, classrooms cannot have more than 50% occupancy and the 1.5 metres of physical distancing must be respected between seated students. Therefore, some members of the student population, including those with specific needs, can benefit from more frequent in-person attendance if their situation requires it. This also applies to students:

  • with disabilities
  • who do not have adequate Internet access or an appropriate workspace for studying
  • who are enrolled in a preparatory year or the first year of their program of study
  • who are isolated or are experiencing mental health challenges

Each institution of higher education must provide students with an easily accessible point of contact for everything related to in-person attendance (questions, comments, complaints, etc.). Additionally, the contact information for this person or team must be provided regularly to students.

In red zones, gatherings on campuses of educational institutions are strictly forbidden, with the exception of authorized teaching, evaluation and educational activities.

Therefore, indoor socio-cultural and sports activities in groups remain forbidden in red zones, as stated in the health guidelines published by the Direction générale de la santé publique. However, up to four people can gather outdoors for sports or recreational activities, and an instructor can join them, if necessary.

In orange zones, indoor sports and recreational activities can take place alone, in pairs (including with an instructor) or with people living at the same address. Courses are permitted in pairs (instructor with one person). Up to eight people can gather outdoors for sports or recreational activities, accompanied by an instructor if necessary. In all cases, 2 metres of physical distancing must be maintained at all times between people who do not live at the same address. Sports facilities on campuses can therefore be accessed by students and staff provided they respect these guidelines.

Although travel between regions is not recommended, a student who lives in a red zone can continue to participate in in-person educational activities and evaluations on a campus located in an orange zone. 

Colleges and universities are asked to ensure that internships, including practicums in educational settings, can continue, provided that the health measures applicable to the workplace are respected.

However, it is strongly recommended that interregional travel be limited to necessary or essential activities, as determined by the institution’s administration and the public health authorities. Close attention must be paid to travel between regions at the highest alert level and regions at a lower level.

Educational institutions are responsible for implementing the public health guidelines on their campuses and for controlling circulation to avoid the creation of bottlenecks.

Educational childcare services

Since Monday, July 13, 2020, all childcare establishments in Québec have been allowed to deliver childcare services to 100% of the maximum number of children indicated on their permit. Home childcare providers (HCPs) can also once again deliver services to the regular number of children permitted under the recognition they have obtained.

Whenever possible, a distance of two metres must be kept between adults (that is, between educators themselves and between educators and parents) and between adults and children. However, this distance is not required between children in the same group, or between children and educators in the same group (maximum of 10 children). Measures must be taken to minimize contact between groups.

For tasks that require being less than two metres away from children or other adults for a cumulative time of more than 15 minutes a day, educators and all other staff members must wear a high-quality medical procedure mask and eye protection (protective glasses or visor).

To ensure everyone’s health and safety, basic health rules such as respiratory hygiene (e.g. coughing into your elbow) and hand washing must always be followed.

Health recommendations applicable for everyone must be followed at all times.

Registering children for childcare services is done as usual, through the single-window access to recognized childcare services, La Place 0-5 This hyperlink will open in a new window.

The symptoms to look for are: difficulty breathing, fever, cough (new or worse), shortness of breath, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, sudden loss of sense of smell without nasal congestion (with or without a loss of taste), major fatigue, significant loss of appetite, general muscle pain (not related to physical exertion), nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach aches and headaches. 

For children between 6 and 17 years old, the parent must immediately use the COVID-19 self-assessment tool or call 1-877-644-4545 and follow the instructions given to determine whether their child must be tested or can return to school.

Children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years who attend an educational childcare or school daycare service, and who have one or more of these symptoms, must remain at home and avoid contact with other people. The parent must wait 24 hours before assessing the evolution of the symptoms.

After this 24‑hour observation period, the parent can use the COVID-19 self-assessment tool or call 1-877-644-4545 and follow the instructions given to determine whether the child must be tested or can return to the childcare facility.

Management of educational childcare services

Yes. The reasons for which the director of a childcare facility may refuse entry to a child, apart from the limitations of the facility’s intake capacity, are the fact that the child presents one or more symptoms of COVID-19, that he or she (or a person living in the same home) has tested positive for COVID-19, or that the child has travelled outside Canada within the past 14 days.

A child who has COVID-19 symptoms (PDF 254 Kb) must remain at home and avoid contact with other people. The observation period for assessing the development of the child’s symptoms still applies for children in a childcare establishment.

After this 24-hour observation period, the parent may use the COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool or call 1-877-644-4545 and follow the guidelines given to find out whether his or her child must be tested or can return to the childcare centre.

If the child obtains a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, the Direction de santé publique, with the help of the childcare centre’s director and staff, will identify any people with whom there was close contact at the centre. Depending on the risk level, these contacts will be informed and provided with instructions on what to do.

Please consult the document COVID-19 procedure to follow in educational childcare centres (PDF 570 Kb) for more details.

If, before arriving or upon arriving at the childcare facility, a child presents one or more of the symptoms listed below, he or she must not be allowed into the facility.

Fever

  • Children between 0 and 5 years old:
    • Rectal temperature of 38.5°C (101.3°F) or higher
  • Child 6 years old and over:
    • Oral temperature of 38.1°C (100.6°F) or higher

General symptoms

  • Sudden loss of smell with no stuffy nose, with or without loss of taste
  • Intense fatigue
  • Significant loss of appetite
  • Generalized muscle pain (not related to physical exertion)
  • Headaches (child 6 years old and over)

Respiratory symptoms

  • Cough (new or worsening)
  • Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose or nasal congestion

Gastro-intestinal symptoms

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach aches

The childcare establishment must recommend that the parent keep the child at home and that the child avoid contact with other people. The observation period for assessing the development of the child’s symptoms still applies for children in a childcare establishment. After this 24-hour observation period, the parent may use the COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool or call 1-877-644-4545 and follow the guidelines provided to see if their child should be tested or can return to his or her childcare centre.

If the child exhibits one or more of the above symptoms when he or she is already present in the facility, the educator or HCP must isolate the child from the other children in a room reserved for this purpose until the parent can come to pick him or her up.

For more information about the measures that childcare facilities must follow when a child presents COVID-19 symptoms, refer to the following documents:

Educational childcare personnel

Childcare services personnel must apply the infection prevention and control protocol that is used at all times:

  • they must ensure that sick children are not allowed into the childcare facility and must enlist the parents’ close cooperation in this regard;
  • they must isolate a sick child from the other children and ask the parents to come and pick the child up as soon as possible; they must absolutely wear personal protective equipment in this situation;
  • if a case is confirmed to be positive for COVID-19, tighter measures must be taken.

If, before arriving or upon arriving at the childcare facility, an educator or any other person working in the facility shows symptoms resembling those of COVID-19, this person must not be allowed into the facility. He or she must use the 

After this 24-hour observation period, the parent may use the COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool or call 1-877-644-4545 and follow the guidelines given to find out whether he or she must be tested or can return to the childcare centre.

For the measures that childcare establishments should follow when a person (an educator or other staff member) shows symptoms of COVID-19, refer to the following documents:

If a child who has attended a childcare facility has tested positive for COVID-19, the regional public health branch of the DSPG will investigate and take the necessary measures to take charge of each of the sick child’s contacts (childcare staff, other children and close family).

International students

The modifications to the different administrative procedures announced for educational institutions apply to both Québec and international students. It is recommended that any information that may be of interest on this page be consulted as it pertains to all students.

International students will be entitled to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit This hyperlink will open in a new window. (CERB) if they meet the program eligibility criteria, particularly:

  • Have declared an income of at least $5000, earned in Canada or outside the country, during the last fiscal year or during the 12 months prior to their application. Applicants must be Canadian residents.
  • Have stopped working in relation to the COVID-19 crisis, without having left their employment voluntarily. Thus, they are not eligible if they stopped working before the crisis began.

No measure is currently planned for this specific purpose.

The repatriation of foreign nationals is usually the responsibility of their country of origin.

No measure is currently planned for this specific purpose.No measure is currently planned for this specific purpose.

No measure is currently planned for this specific purpose.

However, the Ministère has encouraged educational institutions to offer special support and possibly implement measures to help international students who may find themselves in a precarious situation.

International students will be able to leave Canada based on available flights or may choose to stay in Canada if they have yet to complete their studies, provided that their immigration documents are in order.

Institutions are encouraged to continue processing all applications so as to not delay the subsequent steps required for international students to begin their studies at the chosen institution.

International students must have a valid Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) and study permit when they begin their classes. To obtain these documents, students must have a proof of admission.

Note that international students are not required to obtain a CAQ and a study permit prior to starting a program of study through distance education while they are not residing in Canada. However, they will need to obtain these documents before being authorized to enter the country to complete their program in person, as needed.

International students can attend distance courses, just like Québec students.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has not announced the automatic renewal of temporary residency permits. Students are asked to submit a request for renewal before the date on which their permit expires. If students meet this condition, they are granted “implied status,” meaning that their current temporary residency is maintained until a decision is made regarding their application. International students are requested not to go to border crossings in an attempt to renew their immigration documents. The most up-to-date information is usually published by the federal government This hyperlink will open in a new window..

The Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI) is extending, until December 31, 2020, the minister’s consent for the duration of the stay in Québec of international students whose Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) for studies expires as of April 30, 2020 and before December 31, 2020. This regulation applies to students whose CAQ had not already expired on April 30, 2020.

Temporary residents must maintain valid temporary resident status at all times. The Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’intégration (MIFI) continues to process applications for temporary selection.

Students who were already studying in Canada and whose courses were moved online due to the travel restrictions and public health measures introduced because of COVID-19 will not be penalized and will retain their eligibility for the PGWPP, including the length of the work permit to which they would be entitled. However, these students must continue at least 50 % of their program of study in Canada to be eligible for the PGWPP.

The IRCC has introduced a new temporary policy for students who currently hold a study permit or who were approved for a study permit for a program set to begin in May or June 2020, but who are unable to enter Canada due to the current travel restrictions. If courses of study are delivered online exceptionally because of COVID-19, the eligibility of these students for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) will not be affected. International students in this situation can begin their courses from outside Canada and complete up to 50% of their program from outside the country if they cannot travel to Canada earlier.

international students are not required to obtain a Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) and a study permit to study through distance education. However, they will need to obtain these documents before being authorized to enter the country to complete their program in person, as needed.

It is important to note that students whose study permits were issued no later than March 18, 2020, are exempt from the travel restrictions in place in Canada This hyperlink will open in a new window. and are therefore allowed to enter the country. However, they must not be experiencing any symptoms prior to boarding their flight and must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine period upon their arrival.

For information on health protection, foreign nationals can refer to the Questions and answers about our services during the pandemic page on the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec website This hyperlink will open in a new window., specifically the following sections:

  • COVID-19: Information and screening – What coverage does Québec provide for COVID-19 screening and care? 
  • Foreign workers and students in Québec: health insurance coverage

The Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI) is extending, until December 31, 2020, the minister’s consent for the duration of the stay in Québec of international students whose Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) for studies expires as of April 30, 2020 and before December 31, 2020. This regulation applies to students whose CAQ had not already expired on April 30, 2020.

This decision is intended to facilitate the steps that must be taken by inernational students who were in the process of completing their study program but who must extend their stay in Québec due to the current health state of emergency and the temporary interruption of their courses.

These students can therefore submit an application to the federal government as soon as possible to have their study permit extended without having to include a new CAQ, which will allow them to maintain valid temporary residence status and to complete their study program when their courses resume.

No, international students will not have to pay any fees for extending their CAQ, since the required fees were already paid when they submitted their application for the CAQ that they obtained.

International students who would like to extend their stay in Québec for studies beyond December 31, 2020, in order to complete a study program or to begin a new program in the fall 2020 semester, must submit a new application for a CAQ for studies to the MIFI and a new application for a study permit to the federal government. In all cases, students should start the required immigration procedures at least three months before their current authorization for studies expires.

International students who have earned their degree can submit an application for permanent selection under the PEQ if they have been awarded, by an educational institution in Québec, within three years of the date of submission of their application, one of the following:

  • a university diploma attesting to a bachelor’s, a master’s or a doctoral degree
  • a college diploma for technical studies or a vocational diploma at the secondary level, with or without attestation of vocational specialization, obtained consecutively, attesting to 1800 hours or more of consecutive study and leading to a trade

The Ministère accepts attestations of successful completion of a study program as well as a final transcripts issued by the registrar of the educational institution. Since the programs admissible under the PEQ must have a minimum duration of 1800 hours, these graduates can obtain a three-year post-graduation work permit. The duration of this permit gives them all the time they need to submit an application for permanent selection under the PEQ as graduates or even as temporary foreign workers.

The federal government is responsible for issuing study permits. If you have any questions about study permits, please visit Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s website This hyperlink will open in a new window..

The organization Accueil Plus offers a wealth of information to guide you in pursuing your studies in Québec, notably with regard to entering the country in the current context. Refer to the following section on the organization’s website This hyperlink will open in a new window. to access the available information. Note that Accueil Plus is a trusted partner of the Québec government.

Student financial assistance

The income taken into account when calculating the 2019-2020 financial assistance is that of the 2019 calendar year. For that reason, any fluctuations in the students’ income in 2020 are not considered for 2019-2020. In some cases, they may, however, affect the calculations for 2020-2021. The government has announced that it will be postponing repayment of any loans incurred under the Loans and Bursaries Program and the Loans Program for Part-Time Studies for a period of six months.

The Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur is investing an additional $375 million to support students and institutions of higher learning. Improvements will enter into force in the coming weeks. Adjustments will be made to applications that have already been submitted.

Custody Orders and Changes of Custody

There is no single response. We are appealing to the parents’ collaboration and good judgment.

When a change of custody seems necessary, ensure that each family has abided by the hygiene instructions issued by public health authorities. Court judgments and orders must also be observed.

Several situations may occur during this pandemic:

  • One of the parents tests positive for COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms;
  • Someone in the family’s circle tests positive for COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms;
  • The child tests positive for COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms;
  • One of the parents, the child or someone in the family’s circle has to self-isolate after a trip abroad.

In these cases, 14-day self-isolation is required to contain the spread of the virus. During this period, the child will not be able to move from one home to another if someone on one side or the other is in self-isolation. The goal is to contain the spread of the virus.

If you’re worried about the precautionary measures taken by the other parent but none of the above situations apply, it’s best to discuss among yourselves to attempt to remedy the situation.

Previous agreements, whether a custody or access order or an agreement between the parents, for instance following family mediation, should be complied with to the greatest extent possible. However, given the current situation, everyone should use common sense and follow the public health recommendations.

Everyone has a part to play in reducing the spread of the virus and should collaborate and follow the health recommendations. This also applies to separated parents and families where the child may have to move from one household to another.

Children have essential needs, which can include having access to both parents and being sheltered from tension between parents.

If there is a disagreement, parents can call on a family mediator to facilitate discussion and work on resolving the conflict. Many mediators work remotely, which helps avoid physical contact and maintain distancing measures. 

Some mediation sessions can even be free depending on your situation.

For more information about mediation, mediation costs or to find a mediator, visit the following section in the Ministère de la Justice’s website: « Family mediation - Negotiating a fair agreement This hyperlink will open in a new window. ».

If a child needs both parents, we recommend making communication possible through technological means (Skype, Facetime, etc.) for the duration of the crisis.

The custody or access order should be complied with as much as possible. However, during this pandemic, you can try to work out new terms with the other parent to minimize travel.

The custody or access order should be complied with as much as possible. However, during this pandemic, people are asked to limit travel between regions as much as possible. You can try to work out new terms with the other parent to minimize travel and agree to maintain contact through technological means.

If the change of custody involves travel to a health region where travel restrictions have been implemented, the parent must explain to the police officers that he or she is carrying out a change of custody or exercising an access right. Travel should be permitted whether the custody or access right was granted by Court order or pursuant to an agreement.

You can call on a family mediator to facilitate discussion and work on reaching an agreement. Many mediators work remotely, which helps avoid contact. You can find a list of accredited mediators This hyperlink will open in a new window. on the MJQ’s website.

he healthcare system is taking the necessary measures to protect its staff.

Public transit services are still running and are essential for people such as healthcare and social service workers to commute to their jobs. 

Québec transit companies have increased the maintenance frequency of their vehicles and installations. Commuters are still encouraged to follow health recommendations and keep two metres apart whenever possible.

Commuters are also encouraged to adjust their commuting schedule if possible to reduce crowding during peak hours.

Support Payments

You can try to reach an agreement with your ex-spouse by using the Child Support Payments Calculation Tool This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, parents who have information about their income can call on a family mediator to facilitate discussion and work on reaching an agreement. Many mediators work remotely, which helps avoid direct contact between people. 

Certain mediation sessions may be free depending on your situation.

For more information about mediation, mediation costs or to find a mediator, please visit the section on mediation in the Ministère de la Justice website This hyperlink will open in a new window..

A judgment is necessary to modify the support payments collected by Revenu Québec. You can obtain it by using the Homologation Assistance Service (HAS) This hyperlink will open in a new window. The modified judgment will be transmitted to Revenu Québec, which will then adjust the amount collected and paid.

Recipients of last resort assistance who are creditors of support must inform the Ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité Sociale whether they wish to reach an agreement to cancel, reduce or suspend the support payments. In the context of an HAS application, the creditor who receives last resort assistance must send a support application notice at least 10 days before submitting the agreement.

All proceedings before the Superior Court instituted by a party who receives last resort assistance to cancel, reduce or suspend support payments must be notified to the Attorney General of Québec.

Once your financial situation has stabilized, this amount must be reviewed as it is parents’ responsibility to make sure that the support payments are up to date based on both parents’ income.

For this calculation, annual income is income from all sources and includes: 

  • wages, salaries and other remuneration; 
  • net income from the operation of a business or self-employment; 
  • employment insurance and parental insurance benefits; 
  • personal support payments from another person; 
  • interest, taxable amounts of dividends and other investment income; 
  • net rental income; 
  • benefits paid under other legislation as part of a pension or compensation plan; 
  • other income. 

Annual income includes all the income received by each parent, except the following amounts, which are not considered to be annual income and therefore are not used in calculating disposable income:  

  • family-related government transfers (child assistance payments, Canada Child Benefit (CCB), etc.); 
  • amounts received under the Work Premium program; 
  • last resort financial assistance (welfare) benefits; 
  • amounts granted under a financial assistance program for education expenses managed by the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport.

Child support is determined based on both parents’ income. In the Child Support Determination Form, parents must enter their income for the current year or, if applicable, their foreseeable income for the next 12 months. However, during this pandemic, many parents find it hard to foresee their income for the next 12 months. 

The Canadian government has announced various measures to help individuals obtain financial assistance quickly. They include the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy for businesses. For more information on these measures, see Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Yes, once your income situation has stabilized, it will be possible to ask for a support payment review for the period during which your income was reduced.

If the payments are collected by Revenu Québec, a judgment that clearly indicates the periods covered by the adjustment must be obtained. For instance, support payments will be reduced for a few months before returning to normal.

You can use the Homologation Assistance Service (HAS) This hyperlink will open in a new window. to obtain this judgment following an agreement with your ex-spouse or family mediation.

You can find information on the following websites:

You can call Info-Social 811 (free psychosocial hotline open 24/7):

Call Info-Social 811 if you are experiencing:

  • stress, anxiety;
  • prolonged emotional reactions (frequent crying, irritability, etc.);
  • feelings of panic;
  • overwhelming and frightening thoughts that won’t go away;
  • social repercussions from the illness.

Psychosocial intervention professionals will provide support and give you advice and information based on your needs.

Guidelines for citizens on how to manage their residual materials

Refundable container recovery operations in green, yellow and orange zones remain unchanged. Merchants in red zones (check the map of alert levels by region  ) can adapt their return-refund services as follows: 

  • Merchants can reduce daily time windows for returns, while ensuring recovery in the evenings and on weekends. 
  • To limit traffic near can crushers and at the counter, citizens are asked to limit the amount of aluminum and plastic containers they bring back on each trip to the merchant. Customers could limit themselves to two reusable bags filled with their containers per trip. 
  • If a merchant has to close temporarily, he must inform citizens of the four nearest businesses that recover containers, regardless of the nearby merchant’s banner. 

Citizens are asked to cooperate to prevent these containers from ending up in the trash.

Put off your visits to the ecocentre or other drop-off site until later. In the meantime, avoid putting the materials or items in the trash.

At home, used tissues, gloves, masks, disposable wipes, and other protective products or cleaners that are potentially contaminated should be placed in a sealed bag and then in a closed waste container. These materials should not be placed in recycling or organic collection bins or flushed down the toilet.

Away from home, if you use tissues, gloves, masks, wipes or other protective products or cleaners, please throw them in the trash after you have finished using them or take them home and dispose of them properly.