Ontario’s International Education Strategy – Objective 2: Contributions to Communities and the Economy

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Ontario’s International Education Strategy – Objective 2: Contributions to Communities and the Economy


In the previous blog, ApplyBoard presented the first objective of the Ontario International Education Strategy: the creation of global citizens. Contained within this goal, Ontario planned to improve the postsecondary experience for both domestic and international students by taking actions to ensure everyone has the ability and support for an international experience. In this blog, we will examine the second objective that is part of Ontario’s International Education Strategy. This objective focuses on how the government can maximize the impact of international students on Ontario’s communities and the economy. Read on to find out more about what Ontario plans to do!


Introduction to Objective 2: Contributions to Ontario’s Communities and the Economy

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Over the years, Ontario has valued the contributions of international students to Canadian society more than ever. According to the government of Ontario, international students contribute $8 billion per year to the provincial economy. Of that $8 billion, $2 billion is generated from tuition and fees alone. Beyond their numerical value, international students drive innovation and enrich local communities as a result of their diverse experiences. With many pathways that allow international students to stay after graduation, the province often finds that international students become stellar workers in Ontario’s overall skilled workforce. Noting how international students make Ontario better, the government plans on doing two things: achieving balanced, international growth and supporting the retention of international talent.


Achieving balanced, international growth

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In order to ensure that bringing in international students will benefit Canadian society the most, the growth of international students within the province needs to be balanced and controlled. Presently, not all postsecondary institutions have proportionate enrolment from international students due to their lack of advertising or attractive factors that draw international students into their schools. For example, in Northern Ontario, despite being home to quality colleges and universities, their facilities are not being taking advantage of as much as schools within Southwestern Ontario. By determining an acceptable range of how many international students are able to study in Ontario and creating a plan for sustainable growth, Ontario will be able to balance their ambitions of internationalizing their postsecondary education system with logistical limitations of hosting international students. In the upcoming years, Ontario plans to create a marketing plan in collaboration with the Ministry of International Trade to make all postsecondary institutions within Ontario as attractive as possible to international students in hopes of bringing diversity to the province.

In addition to planning ahead, Ontario plans on allowing universities to increase their proportion of spots available to international students for PhD programs (up to 10%). This action is made with the intention of meeting accelerating research needs of the world, and bringing internationally educated individuals to help change the way Ontario approaches global issues.

The final component to this action plan is to help support Ontario’s francophone community by heavily promoting its French language and bilingual institutions to French speakers across the world. With more students, these programs will be able to further develop and become a main attraction to studying within Ontario and allow for further French speaking immigrants to thrive within the province. Whether it is attracting students for all schools in Ontario or building on existing programs to help Ontario’s communities, Ontario is taking a step in the right direction to internationalizing its province.


Supporting the retention of international talent

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Ontario recognizes that its economy can only benefit from international students when they choose to bring their skills and talents with them to the province’s labour market. As a result, the government wishes to take actions to make the pathways to immigration as direct as possible, so that the transition from student status to permanent resident status achievable. In collaboration with the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, the government of Ontario wishes to add a section on the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement that encourages cooperation between the federal and provincial governments to address key issues that impact international student immigration into Ontario and the ability to obtain post-graduation employment and/or permanent residency. In order to help improve international student settlement, Ontario plans to further develop the International Student Connect program so that more international students are made aware of the many settlement organizations that exist within their city of study. In addition, Ontario plans on connecting international students to small and medium sized businesses to provide job opportunities for the students and international expertise to the employers. In the end, taking steps to keep talent within the country can only benefit Canada in the long-term whether it is a cultural, economic, or skill-based.


Want to know more about Ontario’s International Education Strategy? Check on the links below to see future and past blogs!

Blog Links


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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