FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Alireza Kamyabi
UBC Graduate Student Society
VP External Relations
Graduate students call on federal government to utilize university residence isolation plans
as an equitable alternative to mandatory hotel stay for arriving international students
Eight graduate student societies and associations, representing 91,000 graduate
students across Canada, are calling on the federal government to approve university-administered quarantine plans at university residences as an equitable alternative to 3-day mandatory hotel stay for arriving international students.
On February 21st, 2021, Canada introduced new restrictions on international travel requiring all travellers arriving in Canada to isolate in a federally-approved hotel for three days at their own expense. While restrictions on international travel to Canada are required to ensure safety and wellbeing of travellers and residents, we believe the unequitable barriers to entry to Canada must be mitigated for those that must enter the country for essential travel.
Graduate students are a group that must enter Canada to be able to partake in their studies, which is primarily research which takes place in research facilities on and around campuses.
As organizations advocating on behalf of graduate students, our priority is the health and safety of our respective student bodies and broader community. We believe university residences’ isolation programs are a safe, equitable and affordable alternative to mandatory 3-day hotel stay for international graduate students who must enter the country for their research and studies.
Quotes from GSS/GSA Student Leaders on the impact of this letter:
“We believe there is an opportunity here to utilize university residence isolation programs as a safe and affordable alternative to mandatory hotel stay that will reduce costs for students and allow for greater utilization of hotel space for other arriving groups. Our university residences’ quarantine plans have proven to be safe and effective programs so far and we think approving them would be beneficial especially as we universities to re-open and more students arrive in Canada:
– Alireza Kamyabi, Vice-President External Relations, Graduate Student Society of University of British Columbia Vancouver
“International graduate students are key contributors to the academic mission of Canadian universities, and we need to reduce travel-related barriers so they can begin or continue their studies here. Our universities’ federally-approved isolation packages are the ideal compromise between affordability, safety, and accessibility for these students.”
– Marc Waddingham, President, University of Alberta’s Graduate Student Association,
“It’s already difficult for international students to adjust to a foreign country. In addition to that, incoming international students face high financial stress due to increased payments that are required to start a life in a new home country. Forcing students to also pay a minimum of $2,000 for a hotel room stay is creating more financial barriers for students, especially when universities are prepared to receive international students during the pandemic and have government approved quarantine plans in place.”
– Humaira Inam, President, University of Saskatchewan’s Graduate Students’ Association