On May 8, 2020, Immigration Refugees Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced a temporary measure that applicants in the Working Holiday, Young Professional or International Co-op categories will only be eligible to travel to Canada if they possess the following:

  1. Valid Job Offer; and,
  2. Port of Entry Letter of Introduction (POE Letter)

The IEC program is classified as an “exemption” for travel restrictions under the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program. IRCC is continuing to accept submissions of profiles into IEC pools; however, due to service interruptions, applications are not being processed at this time.

As far as applications that have already been submitted as of March 18, 2020, if there are documents missing, or an applicant is unable to complete the application process in time due to issues giving biometrics or completing a medical exam, it will be held as pending will not be closed or refused.

Once you are a participant in one of the IEC programs, there is a mandatory requirement that you must provide documentation that you have private health care insurance, covering hospitalization and repatriation. In light of the pandemic, the participant must ensure that they have adequate coverage for COVID-19 testing or illness. Health care coverage must be valid for the entire time in Canada and cannot be purchased in Canada. Having a valid provincial or territorial health card is not sufficient, as repatriation is not covered by provincial or territorial health insurance; however, if you have coverage from your employer or the province or territory where you will be working (limited to employer-specific work permits, and not in all cases), you will not be required to purchase insurance.

Canada border services officers have been instructed to check for health care coverage at the port of entry and will deny entry into Canada to those who do not have sufficient coverage.