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Why Are “Tutors” Exempt From Travel Restrictions?

Canada exempt “tutors” from travel restriction as they are now considered immediate family members. This is causing confusion for people who are only familiar with the word being used in academia.

In Canada, many individuals think of “tutors” as people who help students study a particular subject.

However, the Canadian government groups them in with “guardians” under the list of family members who are exempted from travel restrictions. They define tutors and guardians as: “people who are responsible for caring for a foreign citizens minor who is living apart from a parent for an extended period of time, for instance, to attend a secondary school in Canada.”

Minors are people who are under the age of eighteen (18) in Canada.

Different countries have varied definitions of guardians and tutors, though they both serve similar functions. A guardian or tutor does not assume all parental responsibilities, as in the case of adoptive parent, but has the power to make decisions on behalf of a minor when a parent is not available.

Canada’s immigration department, also called Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) said that a number of foreign national children who study in Canada live with a tutor or guardian during their studies instead of with their parents.

Tutors and guardians were included in the exemptions because IRCC wanted to avoid some situations where they were detached from their foreign national wards.

“The Canadian government first implemented travel restrictions to contain the spread of coronavirus pandemic during the March break, when some of these minors of foreign nationals were travelling overseas,” IRCC said in an email.

“Tutors and guardians were included in the definition of an immediate family member to make sure these minors of foreign nationals were not stranded because the people accommodating them in Canada did not meet the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations’ definition of an immediate family member.”

In order to travel to Canada, the tutor or guardian must be able to prove that they normally live at the same address as the minor. Live-in caregiver or nannies are not considered to be tutors or guardians.

Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) provides the following list of some of the acceptable document that prove the status or employment as a tutor or guardian:

  • documents that specify the relationship to the child;
  • documents that specify legal responsibility for the child and authority to make decisions on behalf of their parents;
  • documents indicating power of attorney; or
  • an affidavit or judicial court order.

The onus is on the tutors or guardians to satisfy the immigration services officer that they meet the requirements for entry into Canada.

Travellers should also have documentations that will specify their reason for travel and length of stay.

In addition, they should provide any other information that may show how they meet the exemption. The final decision is made by a border officer on a case-by-case basis, based on the information and documents available to them at the time of processing.