Heartland’s response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus)

Heartland’s response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus)

As part of our response to the evolving COVID-19 situation, this website has been created to provide students, staff, agents, and homestay families with the most up-to-date information about COVID-19, including tips for staying healthy, information for travelers, and other useful resources.

Heartland is continuing to follow the advice of the Public Health Agency of Canada, the World Health Organization, Manitoba Health, and Ontario Health.

Heartland is also closely following updates from industry associations such as Languages Canada, and the International Association of Language Centres (IALC).



October 21, 2020

  • Effective October 20, 2020 the Government of Canada allowed an exemption from travel restrictions for international students to enter Canada. Approved DLI schools with a COVID readiness plan can now accept international students. Heartland Winnipeg is on this list and ready to welcome students who are applying for full time study of 6 months or longer.

Find out more!

October 8, 2020

  • Starting October 20, 2020, DLIs with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by their province or territory will be able to reopen to international students who are currently outside Canada. A new list of DLIs with approved COVID-19 readiness plans will be available on or before this date.
  • If you plan to come to Canada as an international student on or after October 20, 2020, your DLI must be on the list of DLIs with approved COVID-19 readiness plans before you travel to Canada. This change will apply to all international students, whether you’re travelling from the United States or from any other country.
  • This change doesn’t affect study permit holders already in Canada. If you’re already in Canada, you can continue studying at any DLI. If you leave Canada, you may not be able to return if your DLI doesn’t have a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by the province or territory in which you live.Find out more about this upcoming change.

September 28, 2020

  • Community transmission of COVID-19 is occurring across much of the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region. New clusters are occurring, but can be controlled through self-isolation, testing and contact tracing so they do not spread further. The health care system is currently able to manage COVID-19 case levels, however changes in restrictions and behaviours are required to prevent further level changes.Individuals in the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region must:
    • Wear a mask in all indoor public places.
    • Limit gatherings to a maximum of 10 people indoors and outdoors.
    • Stay home when sick.
    • Practice social distancing, hand washing/sanitizing and cough etiquette.
    • Follow public health guidance on travel and self-isolation.
    • Vulnerable people, such as seniors, are encouraged to exercise additional caution.

    Previous provisions in place for all other sectors in this region remain in place. Further direction or additional restrictions may put in place by public health at any time.

September 25, 2020

Heartland International English School in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada is ready to welcome international students back for in-person classes. International students and their co-arriving family members traveling to Canada and Manitoba must follow government regulations for the COVID-19 pandemic to keep travellers and communities safe. We have developed a COVID-19 Guidelines document which outlines what international students and co-arriving family members must do while traveling and upon arrival in Manitoba to meet these requirements. Heartland International English School is committed to operating in a way that prioritizes the health and safety of students, staff, host families, and communities. We have based the guidelines on local, provincial and federal standards and recommendations. The Manitoba government provided Canada’s Guidance for post-secondary institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • The province of Manitoba has established a mechanism to approve Heartland’s COVID-19 Protocols. We will have ongoing dialogue with the Department of Economic Development and Training to continue to meet requirements and verify ongoing adherence to the federal requirements.
  • All students and co-arriving family members must read these COVID-19 Guidelines. All students must also attend an online orientation session to learn about our safety protocols before coming to the building.
  • Please make sure you read through this package carefully so that you have a smooth journey to Canada and can start your studies successfully.

August 28, 2020

  • In Manitoba, wearing a mask in public places is becoming a requirement. Please see the list of places where wearing a mask is mandatory.
  • In Ontario, wearing a mask is still a requirement in public places.
  • Our pets can be infected by COVID. Here is what you need to know
  • The Government of Canada recognizes that the temporary health and travel restrictions aimed at protecting Canada and its residents and the uncertainty of when the travel restrictions will be eased have affected many international students’ decisions to apply to study here. We are continuously considering ways to provide the flexibility for students who are unsure about their options and plans for their education prospects in Canada.This is why IRCC is pleased to announce additional further temporary policy modifications in regards to the eligibility for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program for students who begin their program online from abroad. Effective immediately, three changes are being introduced:
    1. Students may now study online from abroad until April 30, 2021, with no time deducted from the length of a future post-graduation work permit, provided 50% of their program of study is eventually completed in Canada.
    2. Students who have enrolled in a program that is between 8 and 12 months in length, with a start date from May to September 2020, will be able to complete their entire program online from abroad and still be eligible for a post-graduation work permit.
    3. Students who have enrolled in a program with a start date from May to September 2020, and study online up to April 30, 2021, and who graduate from more than one eligible program of study, may be able to combine the length of their programs of study when they apply for a post-graduation work permit in the future, as long as 50% of their total studies are completed in Canada.

    These measures are available to eligible students who hold a valid study permit, have been approved for a study permit, and those who have submitted a study permit application prior to commencing a program of study in the spring, summer or fall 2020 semester, or the January 2021 semester. All student must eventually be approved for a study permit.

    IRCC will issue further guidance on our website to assure students that they won’t be disadvantaged for a situation beyond their control and they won’t be penalized if they study online for the upcoming school year. IRCC will also continue to work with public health authorities to closely monitor COVID-19 and the impacts on international students and our operations.

    For more information:

    Please consult the public release which will provide further background on the facilitation measures:

    The most recent updates on changes affecting international students can be found here:


August 20, 2020

August 4, 2020

  • CBC News has confirmed that the agreement to restrict travel across the Canada-U.S. border will be extended into August. Senior government officials confirm the arrangement limiting border access to essential travel only will be rolled over for another 30 days. The agreement, which has to be reviewed each month, was set to expire on July 21. It’s now being renewed for the fourth time since the border closed to non-essential traffic on March 21.
  • Canada has just issued a new Order in Council announcing its travel restrictions will be extended by another month, until August 31.

July 23, 2020

  • The Manitoba government released the draft plan for Phase 4 of reopening on Tuesday. The premier made the announcement at a news conference at the Manitoba Legislative Building on Tuesday. The plan could be implemented by July 25, and includes:
    •   Increasing gathering sizes to 75 people indoors and 250 people outdoors;
    •  Increasing visitation at personal care and long-term care homes, in which residents will be able to designate two support people who could visit their rooms. Residents will also be permitted up to four outdoor visitors depending on space;
    •  Changing the restrictions for faith-based gatherings, powwows and other cultural and spiritual events, as well as resuming live theatre and movie theatres. The province said no cohorts will be necessary and capacity will increase to 50 per cent or 500 people, whichever is lower;
    •  Opening casinos at 50 per cent of the facilities’ capacity;
    •  Lifting occupancy restrictions at retail settings and indoor recreation, except for gyms, fitness centres, martial arts studios, gymnastic clubs, and yoga studios;
    •  Permitting closer distancing at therapeutic health businesses and personal service businesses, including hair and nail salons, where a non-permeable barrier is installed; and
    •  Permitting counter walk-up services at bars, beverage rooms, and brew pubs as long as there is a non-permeable barrier and hand sanitizer.July 15, 2020

July 14, 2020

  • Heartland Mississauga, under the guidance of Languages Canada and in relation to other Language schools in the Toronto/PEEL District area, plans to re-open our building to students on the Tuesday after the August Civic Holiday.  Students will be in the school as of Tuesday August 4, 2020.

June 30, 2020

  • Mississauga is now in Phase 2, with more business able to open and operate safely.  Please keep checking for updates on Heartland Mississauga re-opening.

June 29, 2020

  • Welcome back to the building! Heartland Winnipeg is open again today to a select group of students and teachers to resume our in person classes. Please see the following videos on how Heartland is working to ensure a safe environment for all:

June 22, 2020

  • Heartland Winnipeg will be re-opening our building on June 29, 2020 to a small group of students who have elected to continue their studies in person.  We are continuing to be extremely careful and we are complying with the provincial safety requirements for physical distancing, sanitation of surfaces, and limiting the number of people per area.
  • As of June 21, 2020, Manitoba is now in Phase 3 of the re-opening and restoring of services plan. Some of the changes include:
    – Change: Indoor gathering limits are increased to up to 50 and outdoor gathering limits are increased to up to 100 people. Public gatherings of 50 people will be allowed indoors and 100 people outdoors, where members of the public are reasonably able to maintain a separation of at least two metres from others, except for brief exchanges. This change also applies to social gatherings, worship, weddings and funerals, as well as pow wows and other Indigenous cultural and spiritual events. These gatherings must follow public health guidelines for the venue where they are being held.
    – Change: Residents of Western Canada and Northwestern Ontario do not need to self-isolate for 14 days when entering Manitoba. Anyone entering Manitoba from designated western Canadian jurisdictions (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon, Northwest and Nunavut territories) or Northwestern Ontario (defined as west of Terrace Bay) is not required to self-isolate for 14 days if they are asymptomatic and have no known exposure to COVID-19.  Travellers from all other Canadian jurisdictions will need to continue to self-isolate for 14 days after arriving in Manitoba. Anyone entering Canada must continue to follow federal requirements for self-isolation at the time of entry.
  • As of June 21, 2020, there are some regions of Ontario in different stages of the re-opening phases.  Mississauga continues to be in Phase 1 currently.

June 1, 2020

  • Manitoba – June 1st marks the date for Phase 2 of the re-opening plan for Manitoba
  • Ontario – May 19, 2020 started Phase 1 of re-opening Ontario – the plans are still in progress

May 25, 2020

  • Canada’s health system is ready to respond to cases that arise in Canada, but it is important that individuals and communities are ready if there is widespread illness here at home.  Take time to consider what you will do if you or a family member becomes sick and needs care. Think about:
    • What food and household supplies you need for you and your family
    • What medicines you need, including renewing and refilling prescriptions ahead of time

    Discuss your plans with your family, friends and neighbours, and set up a system to check in on each other by phone, email or text during times of need.
    Please see the Government of Canada website for suggestions on how to prepare.

May 20, 2020

  • Canada’s chief public health officer is officially recommending Canadians wear non-medical face masks when maintaining a two-metre distance isn’t possible. Dr. Theresa Tam made the announcement on Wednesday, less than an hour after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke about his own approach to mask wearing and his intention to continue wearing a mask where physical distancing isn’t possible. Tam told reporters that the language on masks has shifted from “permissive” to a “specific recommendation.”
  • The significant efforts taken by Manitobans to reduce the spread of COVID-19 continue to have the desired effect and portions of the Phase 2 re-opening plan can now be implemented.  As of Friday, May 22 public health orders will be modified to:
    • Increase the limit on gathering size to no more than 25 people for indoor premises and 50 for outdoor areas, providing social distancing measures are in place.
    • Other changes such as an expansion of the types of businesses that can re-open are being discussed, and more details will be announced once those decisions are made.
    • In addition, work is underway to allow limited, outdoor visitation at personal care homes. Individual facilities are putting procedures in place and will be contacting families directly to provide details, including the start date, locations and hours for visitation. Facilities are expected to have this in place by Friday May 29. This is not a return to normal but does provide a balance between ensuring the health of residents while retaining access to social connections. Enhanced screening will occur upon arrival along with hand hygiene and physical distancing. A maximum of two visitors will be allowed at a time Indoor visits will remain suspended for now, except for compassionate reasons.

May 15, 2020

  • Ahead of the long weekend, Manitoba Public Health is advising people to remain within or close to their home communities. This includes limiting travel, even within Manitoba and neighbouring jurisdictions, to essential trips only. Travel is not permitted from southern Manitoba to areas, including campgrounds, north of the 53rd parallel. Manitobans experiencing flu or cold-like symptoms no longer require a referral from Health Links-Info Santé or their family physician before heading to a community site for COVID-19 testing. Anyone with symptoms should use the online screening tool to determine whether they meet the necessary criteria to be tested.
  • The Government of Canada COVID-19 response resource website now has many of the materials translated into many different languages.

May 11, 2020

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19): financial assistance for newcomers, temporary residents and refugees
    Canada is helping people who face financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you live in Canada, even temporarily, there may be support for you. Some of the information on this page is available in multiple languages.

May 8, 2020

  • Health Canada is warning Canadians about the risks of improperly using hand sanitizers, disinfectants, household cleaning products and bleaches, and reminding them to always read and follow the directions on product labels. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an increased demand for, and use of, these products. However, there have been several reports of unintentional poisonings from their improper use. Between February and March of this year, poison centres across Canada received 58% more cases of people being poisoned by, or exposed to, hand sanitizers, disinfectants, household cleaning products and bleaches, compared with the same period last year. Please read more. 
  • Heartland Winnipeg and Mississauga is still operating remotely and offering classes online for the foreseeable future.  We hope to re-open our building to our students soon, but as health and safety are most important, we will not rush to do so without a full plan. Please check back for updates as they are available.

May 1, 2020

  • As we prepare for some business to reopen, please see the Heartland video message from President Gary Gervais.

April 30, 2020

  • Manitoba – Restoring Services (Phase One) – Beginning May 4
    Critical public health measures and current travel restrictions will remain. This includes mandatory self-isolation upon one’s return to Manitoba and limits on travel to the north. Priority elective surgeries have been restarted, diagnostics screening will resume and some non-essential businesses will be reopened:

    • schools will remain closed
    • non-urgent surgery and diagnostic procedures restored
    • therapeutic and health care services restored
    • retail businesses reopen
    • restaurants – patio/walk-up services restored
    • hairstylists and barbers reopen
    • museums, galleries and libraries reopen
    • outdoor recreation and campgrounds reopen

    If results during or at the end of phase one or any future phases are not favourable, the province will not proceed with further easing of secondary public health measures and may reintroduce others. If disease activity remains low, we will give serious consideration in mid-May to reducing the restrictions on group size.

    Additional information on Restoring Services (Phase One)

  • Ontario – Reopening businesses and public spaces
    Reopening will be gradual and occur in stages. There will be two-to-four weeks between the launch of each stage to allow health officials to assess conditions before moving to the next one. This will determine if measures should be adjusted, loosened or tightened. This approach will enable the government to ensure there are appropriate measures in place to open safely and limit health risks. Everyday actions to protect your health, like physical distancing, frequent hand washing and staying home when ill, will continue through each stage.In the first stage, we will consider:

    • opening select workplaces that can meet current public health guidelines
    • allowing essential gatherings of a limited number of people
    • opening some outdoor spaces
    • continued protections for vulnerable populations

April 29, 2020

  • You now automatically have 90 days (instead of 30) to give your biometrics. You have 90 days, even if your biometrics instruction letter (BIL) says that you have 30 days. Check here for more information: Biometrics collection extension

April 23, 2020

April 20, 2020

April 14, 2020

  • The Province of Manitoba has extended the public health orders it issued on March 30 to the end of April, 2020, including the following orders:
    • Public gatherings are limited to 10 people
    • All non-essential businesses must remain closed. This closure does not prevent these businesses from operating on a remote basis, or employees from coming onto the business to perform repairs, provide security, etc.
  • Global Affairs Canada’s International Education Division is pleased to provide the following information and guidance that may be of assistance to international students. The resources listed provide information on study permit-related issues, as well as travel restrictions and exemptions that may affect international students, and Government of Canada programs for
    which international students may be eligible.
  • Immigration Status and Related Travel – Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has published detailed information on how the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is affecting immigration, refugees, citizenship and passport services. More information can be found at the following to IRCC links:
  • For international students specifically:
    • International students who remain in Canada can apply to renew their study permit, and can continue to study and work while their application renewal is being processed.
    • At this time, international students who held a valid study permit granted before March 18, 2020, will be able to travel to Canada.
    • If a study permit was issued to an international student on, or after, March 18, 2020, they are currently not allowed to travel to Canada.
    • If your in-class courses are being moved to an online-only format because of COVID-19, your eligibility for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program won’t be affected. This includes students who have a study permit or who have been approved for a study permit for a program starting in May or June but who are unable to travel to Canada at this time due to travel restrictions. International students in this situation may begin their classes while outside Canada and may complete up to 50% of their program while outside Canada if they cannot travel to Canada sooner.

April 13, 2020

  • Physical distancing is essential to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Please see the guidelines provided by the Government of Canada.  “Effective immediately in Manitoba, fine amounts for breaching these emergency orders will be set at $486 for individuals and $2,542 for businesses who violate the orders, the province said. “These are necessary steps to protect all of us,” Pallister said. The City of Winnipeg will assist in enforcement. Community service ambassadors will be out to educate the public about the orders and physical distancing requirements starting Saturday. They will be in parks and closed city facilities, such as athletic fields, skate parks and play structures.”
  • “Thousands of complaints have been made by residents across the GTA since emergency measures to limit gatherings and enforce physical distancing came into place, but only a handful of charges have been laid. Last week, municipalities in the 905 region said they would begin actively enforcing orders made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to slow the spread of COVID-19 and would issue fines of $750 wherever applicable.” 

April 8, 2020

  • This is a difficult time for everyone. It is important take a few moments each day to reflect on how you are feeling. We have created a simple but effective list that may help you in caring for your mental health.

April 6, 2020

  • Canada Emergency Response Benefit is now available to apply for.  This will only be available for some International Students who have a valid Social Insurance Number and have already been working in Canada. If you have stopped working because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) may provide you with temporary income support. The CERB provides $500 a week for up to 16 weeks. For more information, please check:
  • Who is eligible? The benefit will be available to workers:
    • Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
    • Must have a valid Social Insurance Number;
    • Who have stopped working because of COVID-19 and have not voluntarily quit their job or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits;
    • Who had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and
    • Who are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods, they expect to have no employment or self-employment income.

April 5, 2020

  • Health Canada is advising the public, as well as healthcare professionals (HCPs) to use caution when considering the use of homemade masks to protect against the transmission of COVID-19. Homemade masks may include those that are:
    • made of cloth e.g., cotton
    • with pockets to insert other masks or filters
    • to be worn over N95 respirators (in an effort to reuse respirators)
  • Homemade masks are not medical devices and consequently are not regulated, like medical masks and respirators. Their use poses a number of limitations:
    • they have not been tested to recognized standards
    • they may not provide complete protection against virus-sized particles
    • the edges are not designed to form a seal around the nose and mouth
    • the fabrics are not the same as used in surgical masks or respirators
    • they can be difficult to breathe through and can prevent you from getting the required amount of oxygen needed by your body
    • they may require frequent adjustment, increasing the amount of times your hands come into contact with your face and increasing the probability of infection

March 31, 2020

  • Care for Your Mental Health. The COVID-19 pandemic brings a high level of stress and anxiety as it rapidly changes the way we work, socialize and live. Caring for your mental health is important in these times. Access to a new digital therapy from Morneau Shepell will soon be available to Manitobans.
  • AbilitiCBT digital therapy program is a new digital therapy program that will help with anxiety symptoms related to the COVID-19 pandemic. You will be able to connect to a professional therapist trained to help you deal with:
    • pandemic challenges
    • the state of uncertainty
    • physical isolation
    • care for family and community members
    • information overload
    • stress management
  • The chief provincial public health officer is issuing orders under The Public Health Act as approved by the minister of health, seniors and active living.  The following measures will be in place as of 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, April 1:
    – Public gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people at any indoor or outdoor place or premises.
    – All restaurants and other commercial facilities that serve food are prohibited from serving food to customers in their premises.  This prevents eat-in dining at all facilities.  However, restaurants and other commercial facilities can prepare and serve food for delivery or takeout.  If this takes place, the operator of the restaurant must ensure that all people maintain the appropriate social distancing from other customers when picking up food.
    – All businesses that are not listed in the schedule of critical services that accompanies the order must close between April 1 and April 14. This closure order does not prevent these businesses from operating on a remote basis.
    – Municipal transit services, taxis and other private vehicles for hire can continue to operate.  The operator of the vehicle must take measures to ensure there is a reasonable separation of people in a vehicle.  This order does not contain specific distance restrictions because it is hard to impose a limit in small vehicles.  The goal is to ensure a reasonable level of spacing between people.

March 30, 2020

  • Heartland is proud to continue offering high value cultural activities, online! As part of our normal class schedule, Friday afternoons are reserved for giving students the chance to participate in unique, Canadian experiences.  With our new online platform, we can still bring this important part of English learning to students, in the comfort of their home!
  • Friday, April 3rd will be our first online activity – a live musical performance and Q&A with Marie-Elyse Badeau, an accomplished viola player from the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.
  • Friday, April 3rd we will also offer an Immigration Session with on of Manitoba’s top immigration lawyers, Reis Pagtakhan, following the WSO performance.

March 27, 2020

  • Following provincial recommendations, Heartland’s buildings will continue to be closed until at least April 17th.  Heartland online classes will remain available for current students and new applicants during this time.

March 24, 2020

  • Heartland’s first online class start date was March 23, 2020.  The online placement test was a success and students were able to join their classmates virtually for their first classes. Overall the reviews have been positive! We are looking at ways to expand on this option to include more new students who are already in Canada, and hopefully students who are abroad as well. Please keep checking for updates.

March 20, 2020

  • The province of Manitoba (which includes the city of Winnipeg) is declaring a provincewide state of emergency under The Emergency Measures Act to protect the health and safety of all Manitobans and reduce the spread of COVID-19. The public health orders currently in place for a period of 30 days include:
    • Limiting public gatherings of more than 50 people at any indoor or outdoor place or premises. This includes places of worship, gatherings and family events such as weddings and funerals.
      • This does not apply to a facility where health care or social services are provided. Retail businesses including grocery or food stores, shopping centres, pharmacies or gas stations must ensure separation of one to two metres between patrons assembling in the business. Public transportation facilities must also ensure that people assembling at the facility are reasonably able to maintain a separation of one to two metres from others assembling at the facility.
      • Limiting hospitality premises where food or alcohol is served or any theatres offering live performances of music, dance and other art forms as movies theatres to 50 people or 50 per cent of the capacity of the premises, whichever is lesser.
      • These establishments must be able to ensure social distance of one to two metres between customers.
    • Immediate closures of all bingo and gaming events.
    • Immediate closures of all wellness centres offering physical activities, gyms, fitness centres and athletic clubs and training facilities.

March 19, 2020

  • Heartland developing online placement test and orientation to allow new students to join virtual classes soon.  News will be released soon.

March 18, 2020

  • First day of online classes for both campuses a success.

March 17, 2020

March 16, 2020 – Heartland Winnipeg:

  • working towards offering online classes. More details to be announced as soon as possible
  • reduce class sizes by adding another classroom
  • reconfigure desks in classrooms to allow more space between students
  • is only admitting new students who have already been in Winnipeg for 14 days or longer and have been symptom-free
  • is requiring all students to wash hands before entering class
  • installed two hand-sanitizer dispensers outside of elevator

March 12, 2020

  • Heartland created a COVID-19 website resource page where we post the most up-to-date information about COVID-19, including tips for staying healthy, information for travelers, and other resources for students, staff, agents, and homestay families.

March 9, 2020

  • COVID-19 hand-out circulated to all staff and students, and added to weekly student orientation

March 6, 2020

  • Posters mounted throughout school advising students on how to stay healthy (wash hands, avoid touching face, staying home when sick, etc.)
  • Additional cleaning procedures scheduled
  • Communication circulated to staff