IEC & COVID-19: our questions to the Government of Canada

Published: 23-09-2020



The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) office in Paris has agreed to answer some of our questions regarding International Experience Canada in the context of the COVID-19 health crisis. We thank them for their availability.

The information provided are correct as of the date and time they were submitted for publication (September 23, 2020 at 11:00 a.m.).

When will the 2020 IEC season resume?

To protect Canadians from the spread of COVID-19, Canada has put in place travel restrictions since March 16, 2020. These restrictions are in effect until September 30, 2020. For International Experience Canada (IEC), the processing of applications and rounds of invitations are on hold.
At this time, no decision has been made on when the 2020 IEC season will resume. For updates, be sure to follow @CanEmbFrance and @IEC_EIC.

What about IEC applications currently in process?

No IEC applications currently in process will be closed or refused for lack of documentation or inability to complete the application process in time, such as giving biometrics or completing a medical exam. The date for resuming processing of these applications has not yet been decided.

If a candidate has found an internship or a job in Canada, will he or she be able to submit an application for an International Co-Op or Young Professionals permit soon?

The date of the next round of invitations is not known at this time. Follow @CanEmbFrance and @IEC_EIC to stay informed.

Which Working Holiday participants can currently go to Canada?

There are two different situations:

1. IEC participants (Working Holiday, Young Professionals and International Co-op (Internship) categories) with a letter of introduction who have not yet entered Canada or obtained their work permit.

These participants can come to Canada if they have:

  • a valid job offer which includes a written note from their employer in Canada that says:
    – their business is continuing to operate (no matter the sector of activity)
    – they will start work after the 14-day mandatory quarantine
  • a Port of Entry Letter of Introduction
  • proof of adequate health coverage

For the Internship and Young Professionals categories, a valid job offer means a written confirmation that the job offer submitted in support of your work permit application is maintained despite the pandemic, and that you will be able to start working after your 14 days quarantine.

For the Working Holiday category, although no job offer was required to submit the work permit application, a job offer is required to be exempt from travel restrictions.

For all three categories, there is no specific requirement regarding the type of job.

2. Participants in the Working Holiday category who have obtained their work permit, are outside of Canada and wish to return.

These participants do not need to prove that they have a valid job offer to re-enter Canada if they are outside the country temporarily and they have already:

  • landed in Canada (that is you usually live in Canada even if you do not have a job there)
  • activated their Port of Entry Letter of Introduction, and
  • have a valid work permit

When they re-enter, they must quarantine for 14 days.

To demonstrate that they are established in Canada, they should make sure that they have in their possession documents showing that they usually live in Canada. These could be a rental lease, utility bills, bank statements, etc.

Participants who cannot demonstrate that they usually live in Canada will be required to submit a valid offer of employment.

For all travelers, the final decision regarding boarding and admission to Canada belongs to Canadian border services officers. To be admitted to Canada in the context of the travel restrictions, foreign nationals must satisfy the officer that their entry into Canada is for essential purposes and not discretionary.

Can IEC participants currently go to Canada with their spouse and / or children and what steps must be taken?

The vast majority of people cannot currently travel to Canada: visitors, business visitors, family members, and students starting new courses in Canada. These restrictions apply to foreigners from any country, of any nationality. There are only a few situations where there may be exemptions from travel restrictions.

Spouses and children who wish to accompany an IEC participant to Canada must obtain written authorization from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) by following the instructions on this page.

Do IEC participants receive pay during the 14-day quarantine period?

For information on what is expected from employers of temporary foreign workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, please refer to this page.

Can IEC participants quarantine in a seasonal rental or in a shared apartment?

You must have a suitable place of quarantine that includes basic necessity products. A seasonal rental which provides these products can be appropriate. When other people – who did not travel with you – are present in the same accommodation, the latter must allow you to isolate yourself from them. You can use the shared spaces at your quarantine location, as long as you disinfect these spaces after using them and wear a mask if it is not possible to maintain a distance of two meters.

How can IEC participants get to their place of quarantine?

Use private transportation such as a private vehicle, if possible.

Can this place of quarantine be in a different city than the one of arrival?

Yes. You must follow the recommendations in force to travel to your place of quarantine.

Some provinces and territories have additional travel restrictions – consult their websites for further details.
For more information on the mandatory 14 days quarantine, please consult this page.

What do you recommend IEC participants who cannot go to Canada and whose letter of introduction/POE Letter expires soon, to do?

If your letter of introduction (LOI) expires in less than 30 days and you do not want or cannot travel to Canada due to the COVID-19 situation, use the IRCC Web form to request an extension of your LOI. This extension can be up to 12 months. You must explain the reasons for your request. Make sure to select ‘International Experience Canada’ in the menu for ‘Type of application submitted’.

If you have already obtained a 3 or 6 month extension of the validity of your current letter of introduction, you can use Web form to request a further 9 or 6 month extension, depending on your situation, to be able to reach a total of 12 months.
Use the Web form to request an extension only if your LOI expires in less than 30 days.

Do you know when the Canadian borders will reopen?

Travel restrictions are in effect until September 30, 2020. It is the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness who will announce whether the measures will be extended or not. Until now, these announcements have been made within 48 hours of the date the restrictions are in effect.

Is Canada considering to reopen its borders to temporary workers first and later, to tourists?

We do not have any information on this subject.

Did you know? The Embassy of Canada in France offers monthly online information sessions on IEC, study permits, work permits and immigration to Canada.
To find out about upcoming activities, we invite you to consult our calendar of webconferences, forums and information sessions and to subscribe to our Newsletter.
To stay informed of the impact of the pandemic on travelling to and working in Canada, be sure to consult these pages regularly:

There is no point going to or calling the Embassy of Canada in France as no information will be given in person or by phone – all the information is available on the websites and on social media:
Facebook: CanEmbFrance | CitCanada | IntlExperienceCanada
Twitter: @CanEmbFrance | @CitImmCanada | @IEC_EIC


5/5 (2)


There are no comments at the moment but feel free to add your own 🙂

Recommended articles