Student Travel and Pre-Departure Sessions

Welcome to Cape Breton University! We can’t wait to welcome you for the Winter 2024 semester. Below you will find helpful information that will help you prepare for your travels to Canada to begin your studies.

International Student Travel: Winter 2024

In preparation for your arrival in Canada, please carefully review the terms from the Government of Canada to make sure you meet the criteria for travel. Students who have not secured housing and accommodations should not travel to Canada and are encouraged to defer their studies to a future semester.

Refer to the Pre-arrival Checklist that will guide you to prepare yourself before you arrive in Canada.

Distance Learning and its Potential Impact on Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP)

Starting January 1, 2024, students must complete at least 50% of their program in-class inside Canada. The time spent studying outside of Canada will be deducted from the length of the Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP). We recommend that students not take more than one course online per semester to give themselves the best chance to get a three-year PGWP.

Detailed information on PGWP can be found on the IRCC website.


Wondering if you can work while studying. Please click here for more information and remember that you can not work until your classes start on January 6th, 2024.

Arriving at your port-of-entry into Canada:

When you arrive at a port-of-entry into Canada, you’ll meet a border services officer who will make sure you meet the basic requirements for arrival in Canada.

Travelling to Sydney, Nova Scotia

Airport pick-up in Sydney, Nova Scotia, will be available from January 2 – 8, 2024. Airport pick-up requests must be submitted 48 hours prior to your arrival time in Sydney, Nova Scotia. All students must have accommodations secured before booking. For more information about on- and off-campus housing, please visit


International Student Health Insurance

Arriving in Canada on January 1 or later? Your international student health insurance plan with Cape Breton University will begin on January 1, 2024, or on the date you arrive in Canada if you arrive after January 1, 2024. Arriving in Canada before January 1, 2024? We strongly encourage that you enroll for the emergency plan to cover you until December 31, 2023.

Please visit and click EARLY/LATE ARRIVALS. You can also learn more about international students health insurance at CBU. A list of international students health insurance FAQs is also available.

Pre-Departure Sessions

CBU’s pre-departure series is an opportunity for students to learn more about CBU and ask questions to our International Student and Study Abroad Centre team. Please see the full pre-departure schedule below with links on how to access each. Miss a session? Following each session, a full recording, including the top five key takeaways, will be posted below.

Pre-Departure Session Schedule

Information Session with CBU’s Advising Centre (International Student Advisors, Academic Advisors, Academic Success Coaching & Student Life)

Our Pre-Arrival Session with CBU’s Advising Centre took place on Wednesday, October 25. You can now access the recording.

Key takeaways from the session:
  • International Students are here on a study permit and they advised to be aware of their
  • Please defer, if you:
    • have not received your visa by December 1, 2023
    • have not secured housing/accommodations by December 15, 2023
  • New Students are required to have academic advising before being registered for courses. Information on advising can be found here.

    • Please note that registration deadline for Post Baccalaureate Students (Except PB Occupational Health and Safety) is December 1, 2023
  • Our Career Services team is a great resource for students that provides different workshops and informations about employment here in Canada. They can be reached at
  • Student life is vibrant her on campus and students are recommended to attend the January Orientation and checkout the Events page for events happening throughout the semester.

Information Session with CBU’s Housing and Ancillary Services Team

Our Pre-Arrival Session with Housing and Ancillary Services Team took place on Friday, October 27. You can now access the recording.

Key Takeaways from the session with our housing and ancillary services team:

  • Having safe, secure and comfortable housing is very important to ensure the best possible experience during your time at CBU.
  • Living on campus is a great option for students as they begin their journey at CBU, especially as newcomers to Canada.
  • We have a number of different options for on-campus residence which can be found here.
  • While living off campus is an option, housing in the local community is limited. We post available listings that have been vetted by our Off-Campus Housing Coordinator here.
  • If you choose to live off-campus, please keep the following things in mind:
  • Please be aware of scams. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. We recommend doing as much research as possible before selecting your accommodations.
  • Ensure you sign a lease with your landlord and familiarize yourself with the rights you have as a tenant.
  • Housing must be secured by December 15, 2023. Do not travel to Canada until you have secured your housing. If you are unable to secure housing by December 15, you will need to defer your studies to the alternate semester listed on your acceptance letter. If no other date is available, please contact

Information Session with Cape Breton – Victoria Regional Centre for Education (School Board)

Our Information Session with CBVRCE took place on November 1. You can now access the recording.

Key Takeaways from the Information session with the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional Education Centre (School Board):

• If you have family and dependents who are going to join you while you are pursuing your degree, we would recommend that you first travel by yourself first and work on acclimatizing yourself and getting yourself sorted first before bringing them here.

Children of study and work permit holders can register and attend a school at a free cost.

• Please note, your child cannot attend school in our system unless they are 4 years of age before December 31.

• Health insurance is needed for the child and we recommend purchasing one the moment you or your dependents land in Canada. The students health insurance only begins from January 1; so if you are arriving before this date, please purchase health insurance up until this date.

• Todd McDougall is a parent navigator and can help you properly navigate any the challenges you or your child may face. He can be contacted in the following email address

Information Session with CBU’s Post-Baccalaureate Diplomas team

Our Information session with the Post-Baccalaureate Diplomas team took place on November 3. You can now access the recording.

Key Takeaways from the Information session with the Post-Baccalaureate Diplomas team:

• All our our students need to be academically advised before they are able to register for courses. Using your CBU email address, please contact the following based on your program:

  • – PB Supply chain management, PB Healthcare management, PB Business Management and PB Business Analytics.
  • – all other students

• Please follow the worksheet that is provided to you in your advising email.

• Pre-requisite courses are courses that need to be completed before they can take certain courses. Please ensue that you are meeting these pre-requisites when you are required to according to your degree worksheets.

• Please request for a co-op work permit at the time of entry into Canada. Co-op work permits allow students to partake in an internship during a semester and our PB programs have a internship or capstone component to them.

• Maximum number of courses PB students can register for is 4. Please ensure that you are registered for a minimum of 3 courses in Winter and Fall semesters to be considered full time and be in compliance with your study permit conditions.

Insurance 101 & Nancy Dingwall Health and Counselling Centre

Our Insurance 101 & Nancy Dingwall Health and Counselling Centre Information Session took place on November 10. You can now access the recording.

Key takeaways:
Nancy Dingwall Health and Counselling Centre

  • The Nancy Dingwall Health and Counselling Centre is a collaborative health care centre with nurses (including a mental health nurse), physicians and counsellors on site working together to meet the needs of our patients.
  • Located on campus and available for the CBU family.
  • Call 902-563-1359 or email for appointments.
  • Confidentiality: Any information students shared with the centre is kept private.

Learn more about the Nancy Dingwall Health and Counselling Centre.

Insurance 101

  • health insurance is mandatory for our international students. Students joining in January will be charged approximately $900 for coverage from January 1, 2024 (or the day you arrive in Canada) until August 31, 2024.
  • If you are arriving before January 1, 2024 please purchase a health insurance that covers you until your insurance kicks in.
  • If students are going to be in Canada prior to January 1, we recommend that they purchase a health insurance plan. Health care is very expensive in Canada.
  • Students are recommended to purchase travel insurance for their travel, renters’ insurance if they are staying off campus, and car insurance if they will be having a vehicle here.
  • Insurance is important and protects students from unforeseen circumstances.

Registrars Office and Student Accounts

Our Information Session with the Registrars Office and Student Accounts took place on November 15. You can now access the recording.

Key takeaways:

  • To be considered a full-time student at CBU, students need to be registered for a minimum of 9 credits (three 3 credit courses) or Internship/Capstone project in the Fall and winter semesters. International students are recommended to always be a full-time student in these semesters to be in compliance with their study permit conditions and to be eligible for Post graduate work permit.
  • Post-baccalaureate students need to complete one semester before being eligible to apply for program change.
  • Students are advised to use the ServiceHub for any general information that they are seeking.
  • Being on a waitlist for a course does not guarantee you a seat in the course. Students are recommended to register for a different course or section that is available. You can reach out to your academic advisor about the course you could take.
  • Be aware of CBU’s financial policies and payment deadlines.
  • If you see a negative balance in your compass student account, this means that there is a credit in your account that can be used for future course registrations and fees.
  • An international health insurance charge of approximately $900 will be charged in your Compass Student Account in January and this coverage will be from January 1 or the first day you arrive in Canada until August 31, 2024.
  • For any general queries, students can reach out to the following emails:

Information session with Service Canada and CRA

Our Information Session with Service Canada and CRA took place on November 17.

Key takeaways:

  • International students looking to engage in employment opportunities are required to have a condition in their study permit that allows them to do so and a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN). Information on working in Canada as an international student can be found on the Government of Canada website.

  • Apply for a Social Insurance Number.

  • Please continue to check CBU’s events page for SIN clinics.

  • Please keep your SIN secured.
  • Scams and frauds are unfortunately on the rise and students are advised to be careful. CRA and Service Canada sometimes contact residents using phone calls and mail. They will typically ask you for more information and not use scare tactics. Residents can call the CRA and Service Canada directly to verify what has been requested. The CRA and Service Canada do not ask for money, e-transfers or vital information to be shared.

  • International students are eligible for GST/ HST credit. Learn how to apply for the GST/HST credit.

  • Residents of Canada are expected to file for income tax from March 1 to April 30 for the previous calendar year.