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Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education

Important updates for students and faculty


International Students travel to Canada - from SGS, July 23, 2020

Many of you have seen and are receiving questions about the article in the Star on July 22, 2020 regarding international students being able to travel to Canada.

Currently, as you are aware, new international students who have a student visa issued after March 18 are not allowed to enter Canada.  We have been actively engaged with federal, provincial and municipal governments to share our plans regarding the safe re-opening of campus this fall.  These plans include creating a secure pathway for arrival and settlement in Canada for new international students, including transport from the airport, quarantine plans, enhanced cleaning measures, and regular check-ins with arriving students.  We hope to have clarity on whether these students will be permitted to come to Canada in the coming week or two.

Returning international students are allowed to come to Canada if they have a valid study or work permit or had been approved for a study permit prior to March 18, 2020 and an essential reason to enter Canada. Right now, as clarified in a recent government update and in the Star, the final decision about what is essential is made by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) upon arrival. 

It is advised that you let students and families who are making inquiries know that the University of Toronto is seeking clarification from the Government of Canada on the details regarding letters to support those students who have a valid study permit (issued before March 18) for re-entry into Canada. We will update the FAQs on the Vice Provost Students site when we have further clarity as well as provide divisions with a draft communication for international students. 

Please note we have also been in active discussion with IRCC regarding the resumption of processing of new visas and study permits for students affected by the pause in these services imposed on March 18, 2020.  IRCC has noted there are processing delays which will continue into the foreseeable future. Working with our colleagues across the sector, we will continue to raise this issue.


Support to students whose academic progress was significantly impeded due to COVID-19 - from OISE, July 21

The following measures are being put in place by the School of Graduate Studies and by OISE to support students whose academic progress has been significantly impeded due to COVID-19,

1.        Extending Registration with Tuition Fee Exemption

Research-stream and professional degree students who demonstrate that their academic progress was significantly impeded due to COVID-19 related disruptions may be exempt from tuition for up to one academic session. Please note that students still will be charged non-tuition ancillary, incidental fees and system access fees that are associated with the registration session.

Students who need to register for an additional term beyond their normal program length as a result of delays incurred due to COVID-19, may request a COVID-19 exemption from tuition for up to one session using the OISE-version of the SGS form “Registration with Tuition Exemption on Basis of Progress Delays Due to COVID-19” (found within the Registration section of this OISE ORSS website link). This form identifies criteria that must be met for departments/divisions to approve these requests.

Students should submit their request in the academic session for which they are seeking tuition fee exemption.

Applications must be received by the SGS registration deadline (as published in the SGS sessional dates):

  1. By August 28, 2020, submit this form to your Supervisory Committee for verification that the above criteria have been met. Pay incidental, ancillary, and system access fees that appear on your ACORN invoice.
  2. By September 7, 2020, submit the form with your Supervisory Committee’s verification to your Graduate Administrator to obtain departmental authorization signature in order to meet the SGS registration deadline.

1.1.    Students in Research-Stream and Professional Programs with a thesis/major research component

For students in research stream programs (MA, PhD) or professional programs with a major research component (MEd option MRP or Thesis, EdD), completion of the form requires approvals from the supervisory committee and the graduate chair of the home graduate unit.

For research-stream students, disruption will need to be documented using the COVID-19 mentoring record (https://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/resources-supports/supervision-guidelines/). If you have not yet filled out this form please contact your supervisor to complete the form at your earliest convenience. This form is required as part of the eligibility criteria for the tuition fee exception, whether you decide to apply this coming term or in a future term.

Eligibility Criteria:

  1. Students were making good progress with their thesis/dissertation/major research paper prior to COVID-19 and data collection or access to necessary sources has been significantly impeded due to pandemic-related impacts (e.g., labs closed, fieldwork cancelled, access to materials, archives or library sources has been impeded, personal circumstances).
  2. Additional work is needed before the thesis/dissertation can be defended (e.g., insufficient data or material) or the major research paper can be completed.
  3. All feasible alternative academic activities (e.g., writing sections of dissertation or publications, coursework, professional development) have been completed.
  4. The revised research plan will require an additional session of registration.
  5. The student will be outside the funded cohort and will receive little or no other funding towards tuition charged in the session for which they are applying for an exemption.

1.1.1. Students who need to register for one extra additional term in the Fall 2020 term in order to complete their program:

Steps:

  1. Fill out the OISE-version of the SGS form “Registration with Tuition Exemption on Basis of Progress Delays Due to COVID-19 Form” (found within the Registration section of this OISE ORSS website link)
  2. If you have not filled out the SGS COVID-19 mentoring record yet, contact your supervisor to fill it out as it will be required as part of the approval process (https://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/resources-supports/supervision-guidelines/).
  3. By August 28, 2020, obtain your supervisor’s signature on the “Registration with Tuition Exemption on Basis of Progress Delays Due to COVID-19 Form” to confirm that eligibility criteria are met as determined by your supervisory committee and that the disruption has been documented. Pay incidental, ancillary, and system access fees that appear on your ACORN invoice.
  4. By September 7, 2020, provide to the Graduate Liaison Officer of your department both the “SGS Registration with Tuition Exemption on Basis of Progress Delays Due to COVID-19 Form” and a copy of the SGS COVID-19 mentoring record. 

1.1.2. Students who may need to register for one extra additional term in the future in order to complete their degree:

Steps:

  1. Contact your supervisor and fill out the SGS COVID-19 mentoring record (https://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/resources-supports/supervision-guidelines/).  This form will be required to attest the delays you have incurred due to COVID-19.
  2. Submit the OISE-version of the SGS form “Registration with Tuition Exemption on Basis of Progress Delays Due to COVID-19 Form”(found within the Registration section of this OISE ORSS website link) by the SGS registration deadline for the additional term needed to complete your degree.

1.2.   Students in coursework only programs

For students in coursework only programs (MEd, MA-CSE, MT), completion of the form requires approvals from the program director and graduate chair/coordinator of the home graduate unit.

Eligibility Criteria:

  1. Students were making good progress prior to COVID-19 and academic activities or access to necessary resources for degree completion has been significantly impeded due to pandemic-related impacts (e.g., required courses or experiential learning activities have been cancelled or deferred, personal circumstances.
  2. The completion of outstanding academic activities will require additional time beyond the program length of their degree program, as published in the SGS Calendar entry for their graduate unit.

Steps:

  1. Fill out the OISE-version of the SGS form “Registration with Tuition Exemption on Basis of Progress Delays Due to COVID-19 Form”(found within the Registration section of this OISE ORSS website link)
  2. By August 28, 2020, obtain your program coordinator’s signature to confirm that eligibility criteria are met. Pay incidental, ancillary, and system access fees that appear on your ACORN invoice.
  3. By September 7, 2020, provide to the Graduate Liaison Officer of your department the OISE-Version of the SGS Form “Registration with Tuition Exemption on Basis of Progress Delays Due to COVID-19.”

2.   Funding Package for Year-4 Funded Cohort Doctoral Students

Doctoral students who have not achieved candidacy at the end of year 3 of their program, as required by the funding package eligibility requirements, will continue to receive full funding for one term provided they are granted the one-year Candidacy Extension by the School of Graduate Studies (https://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/253/2019/06/ExtensiontoAchieveCandidacy.pdf).

For students who were normally expected to achieve candidacy by August 2020, this means approval of the one-year Candidacy Extension from SGS will also restore your funding package for Fall 2020. If candidacy is not achieved in the fall term and you wish to have your funding also restored for Winter 2021, please fill out the Request to Restore Graduate Student Funding Package and submit to oise.gradfinast@utoronto.ca by December 1, 2020:

https://utoronto.sharepoint.com/sites/oise-dp/gfo/info/Lists/Documents%20Centre/Attachments/9/FundingRestorationApplication2020-21.pdf

3.  Contacts:

Contact information for OISE’s Office of the Registrar and Student Services (ORSS), can be found at:

https://www.oise.utoronto.ca/orss/Contact_Us.html