Funding FAQs for International Graduate Students

Frequently asked questions for currently enrolled international students who are temporarily outside of Canada.

I am a currently-enrolled international student, pursuing my degree studies at York. I have a valid visa, SIN, Canadian address and Canadian bank account; however, I left Canada when travel restrictions allowed, and I doubt I will be able to return in the fall. Will I be able to accept a TA or GA contract, work remotely from outside of Canada, and be paid with wages deposited into my Canadian bank account?

Yes, for the fall, in the sense that there is nothing that constrains York from offering a contract for online/remote teaching.  Before accepting the contract, however, you should verify whether you will be outside of Canada for more than 183 days of the calendar year, since this matter can make a difference to your taxation in Canada and possibly your country of de facto residence outside of Canada, which may or may not be your country of permanent citizenship.  This statement is not meant to frighten you, but rather to encourage you to research and inform yourself about taxation in Canada and your current country of residence, so that you will be aware of any potential risks regarding tax reporting and payment, if applicable.

York International provides a basic orientation to taxation in Canada, here: https://yorkinternational.yorku.ca/taxes-in-canada/

The Government of Canada also provides a starting point for research:

https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/international-non-residents/information-been-moved/determining-your-residency-status.html

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/programs/tax-policy/tax-treaties/in-force.html

Where do I learn more about taxation in Canada?

York International provides a basic orientation to taxation in Canada, here: https://yorkinternational.yorku.ca/taxes-in-canada/

Where can I read more about residency in Canada?

I am a new international student moving to Canada in Winter 2021. I will begin my degree online in Fall 2020. Will I be offered a work assignment in Fall 2020?

You will not be able to hold a work assignment in Fall 2020 (for further explanation, please see the next question). York University will meet the employment portion of its funding commitment when you arrive in Winter 2021.

Before accepting any contract in winter, please verify whether you will be outside of Canada for more than 183 days of the calendar year, since this matter can make a difference to your taxation in Canada and possibly your country of de facto residence outside of Canada, which may or may not be your country of permanent citizenship.  This statement is not meant to frighten you, but rather to encourage you to research and inform yourself about taxation in Canada and your current country of residence, so that you will be aware of any potential risks regarding tax reporting and payment, if applicable.

York International provides a basic orientation to taxation in Canada, here: https://yorkinternational.yorku.ca/taxes-in-canada/

The Government of Canada also provides a starting point for research:

https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/international-non-residents/information-been-moved/determining-your-residency-status.html

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/programs/tax-policy/tax-treaties/in-force.html

Why can I not be offered an employment contract as a TA or GA, if the work will be carried out online and by remote means?

The answer involves different elements

  1. of Canadian and international taxation laws and agreements, including how these intersect with
  2. residency restrictions and, if and when applicable, visa regulations;
  3. employment regulations in Canada to which the university abides as well as how your home countries’ laws and regulations pertain to York university as a foreign employer;
  4. for some countries there are restrictions which disallow the sending of money, including employment wages, across the border.

International students at York come from over 60 countries, which makes no single, catch-all explanation possible in a single communication. While the mechanics of doing the work remotely seem simple enough, the mechanics of being paid for it trigger a substantial set of different risks for York University and for the student-employee.  The heart of the matter for new, international students is that without an approved study permit and visa, the latter of which is finalized upon arrival in Canada, you will not yet have a Canadian Social Insurance Number, which is necessary for York to employ you for the type of unionised TA and GA work we provide.  We have explored the possibility of whether students in other countries could apply for an Individualized Tax Number (ITN), which is sometimes used to hire non-Canadian nationals as independent contractors; however, we do not have the ability to offer what at York is unionised employment work (TA or GA) to an ITN-holder, who would be designated as a foreign, independent contractor.  Furthermore, you would not be eligible for the unionised employment benefits, and the taxation implications would be your risk to manage on your own.

I am a new international student, and will not be in Canada for Fall 2020. What happens to a credit balance on my student account?

Credit balances are being refunded. If you don’t have a Canadian bank Account and/or a Canadian address, you will be contacted by Student Financial Services to arrange transfer of the credit funds to you via wire transfer.

I have recently accepted an offer to begin in Fall 2020 at York University as a new international student. I do not want to begin my studies until on campus classes have resumed and I can begin employment as a TA. Am I able to defer my acceptance?

Deferrals are at the discretion of the graduate program. Please reach out directly to your graduate program director if you are considering deferral of your acceptance to the next admissions window.

I am a new, funded international student, and I do not want to move to Canada until I know for certain that on campus classes have resumed. I am planning on participating remotely. What happens to the funding amount I was guaranteed in my offer letter?

The funding amount is made up of a combination of funds—and can include a mix of Fellowship, awards, research assistantships and employment (TA/GA). Your Fellowship and award funds will be deposited to your student account; credit balances will be refunded via wire transfer (you will be contacted by Student Financial Services to arrange wire transfers). If you are not able to arrive in Canada during this academic year and your funding includes a research assistantship and/or and employment component (TA/GA) (which requires a Valid Study Permit and Social Insurance Number), you will have received a communication outlining your options. For details, please contact your Graduate Program.

Do I require a study permit to study remotely?

You do not. Additional information on requirements can be found on the York International website: https://yorkinternational.yorku.ca/faqs-for-international-students/

I heard the recent government of Canada announcement that discourages international students from traveling to Canada to undertake post secondary study. Does that mean I should not travel?

As of March 26, 2020, international students who hold a valid study permit or have been approved for a study permit when the travel restrictions took effect on March 18, 2020, will be able travel to Canada by air or land. Like all travellers, including Canadian citizens and permanent residents, international students who are exempt from air travel restrictions will undergo the necessary health checks, must wear a mask to enter Canada and have a concrete plan to isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Canada.

If you are currently out of Canada and wanting to return, you should check the current travel restrictions and advisories from Global Affairs Canada and IRCC. If you are an international student who is on exchange or international placement and are not able to return to Canada, we advise you to consider returning to your home country if possible. If you need any assistance in this matter, please email goglobal@yorku.ca.

For more information: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/news/2020/07/measures-to-support-international-students-during-the-covid-19-pandemic.html