Internationalizing Ontario’s Postsecondary Sector – Market Overview

ApplyBoard - Ontario's International Postsecondary Education Strategy

Internationalizing Ontario’s Postsecondary Sector – Market Overview


In a world that is becoming increasingly more interconnected, those who fall behind in the effort to globalize often find themselves facing consequential effects to their economies and innovative drive. In order to remain current and relevant in today’s society, it is becoming more important than ever that countries invest in international postsecondary education so that only the best talent and skills are harvested into the labor market.

Currently, Canada remains a strong leader in the international education market with many domestic students travelling abroad and international students coming in for their studies. Specifically, Ontario has become an attractive place of study for international students due to its high quality, reputable universities and colleges that prepare students effectively for the real world.

As of Spring 2018, the Ontario provincial government has devised a strategy that allows the province to keep up with the fast paced, global demands of the internationally educated student. However, before you read on about these policies, it is important to understand the current strengths of both Canada and Ontario in terms of the international education market. This article will provide an overview of the market potential for international education in Canada and Ontario as well as the current traction the entities hold, demonstrating that their results are nothing but positive.


Overview of Canada’s International Education Market

ApplyBoard - Overview of Canada’s International Education Market

Over the past decade, the Canadian education service market has remained strong and consistent in terms of its ability to generate revenue and maintain its quality. In 2015, education related services generated $5.8 billion in exports, and claimed its place as one of the top 10 exports in all of Canada. Whether it was the spread of information sparking interest in the Canadian education system or Canada’s reputation as a safe and inclusive place to study, students from over 187 countries choose Canada as their postsecondary destination. Of those students, 20 to 27% stay to become permanent residents, especially international graduate students.

On the domestic side, about 86% of all Canadian postsecondary students have indicated an interest in studying, interning, or researching overseas. Currently, Canada is represented in over 119 countries, where students broaden their interests and explore their future careers abroad. Countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, France and Ireland remain the most popular destinations for Canadian exchange students. Of all students who have done an exchange, 71% have said that their experiences have impacted their future career plans.


Issues that need to be addressed nationally

ApplyBoard - Issues that need to be addressed nationally

Whether you are a domestic or international student in Canada, one thing is for certain – an international experience is becoming an invaluable asset for the workplace. In the Global Mobility Survey conducted by the Canadian Relocation Council in 2017, CEOs across the world have been surveyed on what they would like to see in their companies. 77% of all CEOs surveyed expressed great concerns about the skill shortages in the labor market that can impact their growth and as a result, are finding it increasingly necessary to have the ability to recruit talent from all over the world. In order to keep talent within Canada, the Canadian government needs to increase accessibility for the international experience for both domestic and international students so that their workforce can remain highly skilled and prepared for the challenges of a globalized world.


Overview of Ontario’s International Education Market

ApplyBoard - Overview of Ontario’s International Education Market

In the current market, Ontario is doing extremely well in terms of attracting international students. With exceptional STEM programs and varying types of environments for students to choose from, Ontario will hope to see about 20% of all postsecondary students be international student by 2022. Specifically, Ontario wants to increase the enrolment of students in STEM programs by 25% of the next 5 years, as they tend to be the most popular for international students. Economically, international students have contributed $7.8 billion in 2016 with $1.8 billion of that coming from tuition and fees charged by the universities. In addition to their economic contributions, international students are highly valued for their cultural diversity they bring to local communities and college/university campuses. International students are said to enrich local life, especially if they are studying in French communities.


Current Strengths of Ontario’s Postsecondary Education System

Current Strengths of Ontario’s Postsecondary Education System

Overall, Ontario excels in its quality delivery of its postsecondary programs with 7 of its universities ranking within the top 400 schools in the world (according to the Times Higher Education) and its colleges being well known for their career preparation abilities. In addition to being able to learn from the best, students are able to have easier pathways to immigration should they choose to stay in Canada after their studies. With strong connections to the global labor market, international and domestic students enjoy the ability to establish a network across the world and build upon their professional careers. Ontario also offers French and bilingual programs that allow students to study a wide variety of programs in the French language. This, paired with affordable program rates in the attractive Canadian dollar, if Ontario is able to build upon its current strengths, it will be looking at a bright future of growth and prosperity in terms of international education.


A Preview of Ontario’s International Education Strategy

Below is a snapshot of what will be discussed in future articles. Stay tuned to learn about Ontario’s International Education Strategy!

ApplyBoard - Ontario's International Postsecondary Education Strategy

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All information presented above is sourced from Ontario’s International Education Strategy, Spring 2018, written by the Ministry of Education.


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Dawson Phan, Marketing Assistant at ApplyBoard

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