Canada is currently facing a housing crisis, and the role of international students is in the spotlight. Federal officials have hinted at the possibility of implementing a cap on international student intake as a potential solution to the problem.
However, provinces have different opinions on this matter, with some feeling left out of the discussion. Let’s dive into this issue and see what the provinces have to say.
The Housing Crisis in Canada
Canada has been grappling with a housing crisis for some time now. Finding affordable housing has become increasingly challenging for both Canadians and newcomers. The government is actively seeking solutions to address this pressing issue.
Federal Suggestions: Is International Student Cap the Answer?
They believe this measure could potentially alleviate the housing crisis.
Provincial Response: Lack of Consultation
However, several provinces feel that they haven’t been adequately consulted on this proposed international student cap. Let’s take a closer look at what some provinces have to say:
British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador
According to Global News, a spokesperson for the N.W.T. government said:
“The GNWT has been in discussions with the federal government regarding potential changes around international students and, while not the main focus, a proposed cap has been mentioned.”Spokesperson for the N.W.T. government
A B.C. government official on background said,
“At this time, Provincial officials responsible for international education have not been contacted by IRCC or any other department with a proposal to cap international student enrolment. We will await and review any international student enrolment policy.”A B.C. government official
The Northwest Territories have been in discussions with the federal government about the proposed student cap.
They mentioned that while not the main focus, a proposed cap has been discussed.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Angela Picco, a spokesperson for the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Education, said international students were a crucial part of the province’s strategy to address its demographic challenges.
According to Global News, She said,
“We are hopeful that we will have the opportunity for consultation before any cap is implemented to ensure that it does not disadvantage our province, given the demographic challenges facing our province and the role of post-secondary education in attracting newcomers to this province.”Angela Picco, a spokesperson for the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Education
Picco added that the provincial government would support post-secondary institutions in increasing their enrollments of foreign students.
New Brunswick also said that international students have been important to the “province’s economy for a number of years and the attraction and retention of them is critical to our current and future workforce.”
Judy Désalliers, a spokesperson for the Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Ministry, said,
“We have seen the number of international students increase over the past few years and we hope this trend will continue. The federal government, through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, regularly meets with the provinces and territories but has not consulted with New Brunswick about a proposed cap on international students.”Judy Désalliers, a spokesperson for the Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Ministry
Quebec and Ontario
A spokesperson said, writing in French,
“The ministry will closely follow federal government decisions that could have an impact on the income of higher education establishments in Quebec.”A spokesperson said, writing in French
Ontario, home to nearly half of all international students in Canada, stated that all levels of government play a role in supporting international students but did not clearly state its stance on the cap.
Saskatchewan believes that the province and its institutions are best positioned to determine the appropriate number of international students.
They trust their institutions to manage recruitment and support for both domestic and international students.
Sam Sasse, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Advanced Education, said,
“As such, we find no justification for implementing such a restriction in our province thanks to the hard work of our institutions ensuring housing and other needs of students are being met.Sam Sasse, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Advanced Education
Our government has confidence in the ability of Saskatchewan’s designated learning institutions to manage recruitment and support for both domestic and international students.”Sam Sasse, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Advanced Education
The Importance of International Students in Provincial Labor Markets
Several provinces highlight the significance of international students in their labor markets. For example:
- The N.W.T. already caps international students at 30% of an institution’s total population.
- They emphasize the importance of attracting and retaining international students and talent for their labor market and economic development.
Views on Blaming International Students
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh stressed that international students are not to blame for the housing crisis and called for colleges and universities to provide housing.
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre acknowledged the need for housing and healthcare for newcomers.
University Revenue and Funding
Canadian universities heavily rely on international students for revenue due to declining provincial support for post-secondary education.
The fees paid by the students help bridge funding gaps in the education system.
Survey on Living Expenses
A recent survey by the Daily Bread Food Bank indicates that the estimated living expenses used during the immigration application process are significantly lower than what a typical student in Toronto spends, highlighting potential challenges related to the cost of living for an international student.
The housing crisis in Canada remains a critical issue, and the role of international students is a subject of debate. While federal officials suggest an international student cap as a potential solution, provincial perspectives vary widely.
The provinces emphasize the importance of consultation and the positive impact of international students on their communities and economies.
As discussions continue, finding a balanced approach to address the housing crisis while supporting these students remains a priority.