Ontario is the first province to stand and support international students with their challenges

In the wake of the federal government’s announcement of plans to limit the number of foreign students entering Canada, Ontario declared a moratorium on the formation of new public-private college partnerships.

Half of all international students studying in Canada attend schools in Ontario, making it the most populous province. 

An estimated projection of a  $125 million financial crisis was given by the president of Sault College as a result of removing PGWP. Removal of the option for PGWP will greatly affect  Northern Ontario schools leading to most colleges ending their partnerships. Miller responds to the backlash for this change in immigration saying,

“I’m not the minister of post-secondary education underfunding, I’m the minister of immigration,” Miller said. “Clearly, in the last decade or so or even longer, post-secondary institutions in Canada have been underfunded by provinces.”

By 2024, 360,000 international students will be approved by Ottawa and distributed among the provinces based on population, which will cause a 50% reduction in Ontario’s permit total. The distribution of enrollment among the various institutions will thereafter be determined by the provinces. Looking at the statistics one of the panel experts suggested that Ontario should take measures to support international students as the province generates most of its income from international students. 

“Many colleges and universities have passed the point where they could survive financially with only domestic students. They are financially sustainable only because of international students,” – Panel Expert.

“The challenges stemming from the recent spike in students coming to Canada, including predatory practices by bad-actor recruiters, misinformation regarding citizenship and permanent residency, false promises of guaranteed employment, and inadequate housing for students, require immediate attention and collaborative action,” said Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities.

Therefore Ontario unveiled a series of new initiatives on Friday, 26th January 2024  aimed at enhancing postsecondary education in the province and providing more protection for overseas students. These measures include encouraging all schools and institutions to ensure housing is accessible for new cohorts. The government will take actions to safeguard the quality of postsecondary education and encourage employment in vital industries, including skilled trades and health care. It will also examine the programs offered by postsecondary educational establishments that take in a significant number of international students to ensure that the quality of the offerings upholds Ontario’s reputation as a global leader in education and meets the demands of the labour market in the province. Concerning private professional institutions, the government announced that it would improve oversight through improved data management, documentation procedures, and compliance audits.

The Council of Ontario Universities and Ontario Colleges have strongly opposed the cap, claiming that it has already caused “total chaos” and that it unfairly penalizes both the “bad actors” and the reputable institutions. Nonetheless, Dunlop claims that in light of Ontario’s housing affordability crisis, the new policies to protect international students are “sensible.”

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