Visa Crunch

The province of Ontario, not Ottawa, is to blame for the halt of foreign student admissions, says the federal officials

Although Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has accused Queen’s Park of refusing to cooperate with them on COVID-19 boundary issues, a federal government spokesman told the Sun that regions, not the federal government, have the authority to put foreign students on hold. 

On Friday, Trudeau accused Ontario’s government of being more concerned with leveling political threats than acknowledging his help in addressing questions about international students, who are one of the exceptions to Canada’s ban on foreign visitors, which was enacted last year in the early days of the pandemic.

“As I said last week when I sat here, (Ontario Premier) Doug Ford asked me to ban international students, there have been around 30,000 international students accepted by the Ontario government in the last few months,” Trudeau said. 

“It’s been a week since we got the direct order from the Premier, but they haven’t responded except for personal assaults, which makes little sense and, quite honestly, won’t help Ontarians,” he added.

This week, Ontario launched a referendum-style ad campaign accusing the Trudeau Liberals of encouraging overseas versions of COVID-19 to reach Canada due to their weak border policies. 

Trudeau’s implication that the Ontario government is to blame for the province’s influx of foreign students coincides with remarks made to the Sun this week by Kelly Ouimet, a spokeswoman for Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc, in response to questions regarding the Prime Minister’s April 30 promise to assist Ontario in addressing its issues.

“As we have seen in Atlantic Canada, provinces do have authority over who can come into their province,” Ouimet said. “Our government is committed to assisting in whatever manner we can, and we will continue to collaborate with provinces and territories to combat COVID-19.”

Students coming to Canada for full-time studies are among those removed from last year’s pandemic-related ban on foreign nationals. 

To stop the tide of planes arriving in Canada full of tainted passengers — 62 flights in April alone — Canada banned passenger flights from COVID-ravaged India and Pakistan late last month. 

Trudeau refused to admit that a faulty quarantine mechanism enabled the P.1 version to enter Canada in a wide-ranging interview with Global News focused on child care and the pandemic. In British Columbia, there have been 2,062 instances of a worry variant that originated in Brazil. 

“Every nation has its own set of problems. A diversified supply chain was one of the things we did from the beginning. You may recall that under the former administration, we outsourced the majority of our work to countries other than the United States. Obviously, we’re hoping to change that with the Biden administration.”

According to IRCC numbers, Canada is the world’s third most popular destination for international students, with over 642,000 students arriving in 2019 — nearly 220,000 from India. 

Ontario is the province that admits the most foreign students, with almost 307,000 in 2019.

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