June 21, 2021 Update: The Government of Canada announced new travel measures for fully vaccinated travellers who meet specific conditions and are eligible to enter Canada. These new measures will be in place starting July 6, 2021. The specific conditions include that travellers must have received the full series of a vaccine, accepted by the Government of Canada, at least 14 days prior to entering Canada, along with meeting other requirements outlined in the announcement. For travellers who are not fully vaccinated, there are no changes to Canada’s current border measures.
Travellers must still present a suitable quarantine plan, and be prepared to quarantine, in case it is determined at the border that they do not meet all of the conditions required to be exempt from quarantine.
McMaster University has updated its COVID-19 Readiness plan with both local and provincial governments. The COVID-19 readiness plan is mandatory for all new or returning students.
Before making arrival plans, all international graduate students must
- be in possession of a valid study permit or “Letter of Introduction” that shows approval for a study permit;
- be enrolled or plan to enrol in McMaster University (be in possession of course enrollment letter or offer letter);
- inform the university of their travel plans by downloading the iCent app (see below) and completing the mandatory forms.
Please note: If you do not have a quarantine space, you will find hotel listings in the iCent app.
All graduate students arriving in Canada will receive daily check-in messages; they must report their wellness and compliance status daily.
About iCent: An app just for international students
All new and returning international graduate students who are planning to travel to Canada must sign up for the iCent app. This is mandatory.
This app provides a streamlined process for safe arrival and quarantine in Canada, as outlined in our government-approved readiness plan.
All students joining us in Canada must:
- declare your arrival plans
- confirm your arrival status
- complete mandatory wellness check-ins
- declare the completion of your quarantine
Additional benefits of using iCent
- Provides options to book hotel packages if you need a place to complete your quarantine.
- Additional information about arriving at Pearson Airport in Toronto – where to go, what happens when you arrive, etc.
- Push notification for updates and automatic reminders to complete daily check-ins.
Get the iCent app
- Download the iCent app (available at the Apple Store and Google Play Store).
- If you’re unable to download the app, visit the iCent web version.
- Select “Canada” as your institution country.
- Select “McMaster University” as your institution name.
- Select “McMaster Grad Programs.”
- Enter your email address and click “Continue.”
- You will receive an email with a secured PIN to log in.
- Enter the secured PIN and go to “continue.”
Private quarantine plans
First, download and register in the iCent app. You must declare your arrival and plan to quarantine at your private residence.
International graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with homes or pre-arranged rental accommodation, may plan to quarantine in those accommodations following the completion of the federally mandated airport quarantine. These students and postdoctoral fellows will be expected to follow quarantine regulations in their accommodations.
The details of private quarantine plans will be assessed by a Canadian Border Service Agent at the point of entry to Canada. An unacceptable quarantine plan may result in you being denied entry into Canada. It is the responsibility of the student/postdoc to ensure their quarantine plan meets government requirements.
Additional resources from the government:
Incidents of failure to comply with quarantine rules will be reported and investigated under McMaster University’s Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities. The university is required to report incidents to Hamilton Police Services and Public Health. Hamilton Police Services will determine whether to lay charges under the Federal Quarantine Act.
- Government of Canada – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
- COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Ontario
- City of Hamilton – COVID-19
- McMaster University – COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
- McMaster’s emergency financial support
- International Grad Student resources
When to arrive
Students usually arrive between 3 and 4 weeks prior to the start of term.
If you choose to arrive earlier than four weeks before your program starts, you may be denied entry by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) if you do not have a valid reason for your early arrival. Contact CBSA for more information on how this may impact your arrival in Canada.
Please note that settling in Canada, finding a place to live and visiting a family member are not considered essential reasons to enter the country earlier than what is permitted.
If you are travelling early for medical, immigration and/or academic requirements, you must have documentation that explains the reason(s) for your early arrival to provide to the CBSA when you arrive.