Canada launches new strategy to attract international students

by Ray Clancy on January 21, 2014

Canada has launched a new international education strategy aimed at attracting more international students and researchers to the country and supporting Canadian students abroad.

Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, said it will foster innovation and create jobs and opportunities in every region of the country and is designed to maintain and enhance Canada’s global position in higher education.

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Funding of $5 million per year will be dedicated to supporting the objectives of the new International Education Strategy, part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan 2013

The plan targets to attract more international researchers and students to Canada, deepen the research links between Canadian and foreign educational institutions and establish a Canadian partnership with provinces and territories and all key education stakeholders, including the private sector.

The strategy is the result of extensive consultations by an advisory panel and will help Canada build on its already strong education advantages and performance, according to Fast. ‘Capitalizing on these vast opportunities will create jobs and economic growth and help Canada retain and enhance its global leadership position and become more prosperous, innovative and competitive,’ he said.

As approved in the Economic Action Plan 2013, ongoing funding of $5 million per year will be dedicated to supporting the objectives of the International Education Strategy. This investment will be primarily dedicated to branding and marketing Canada as a world class education destination to audiences within six priority markets.

In addition, the strategy will provide $13 million over two years to the Globalink programme of Mitacs, a national not for profit organisation that fosters innovation through research and training programme such as student mobility between Canada and Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Turkey and Vietnam.

The strategy seeks to double the number of international students choosing Canada by the year 2022 without displacing Canadian students and Fast said that attracting more than 450,000 international researchers and students to Canada by 2022 will create at least 86,500 net new jobs for Canadians, bringing the total of jobs sustained by international education in Canada to 173,100 new jobs.

It will also see international student expenditures in Canada rise to over $16.1 billion, generating economic growth and prosperity in every region of Canada and provide an approximate $10 billion annual boost to the Canadian economy.

‘Our government recognises that international education is a key driver of jobs and prosperity in every region of Canada. By working closely with key stakeholders every step of the way, and by developing a plan that will align our efforts with those of our provincial and territorial partners and members of the international education community, we are ensuring that Canada stays ahead of the curve in a global environment that is fiercely competitive,’ said Fast.

‘As a key component of Canada’s new Global Markets Action Plan, this strategy will also help us advance Canada’s commercial interests in priority markets around the world and ensure that we maximise the people to people ties that help Canadian workers, businesses and world-class educational institutions achieve real success in the largest, most dynamic and fastest growing economies in the world,’ he added.

According to Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, the plan is rooted in Canada’s already strong economic leadership on the world stage and is further proof of the expertise and capabilities Canadians have to offer.

Amit Chakma, president and vice chancellor of Western University and chair of the Advisory Panel on Canada’s International Education Strategy, described international education as a key driver of the Canadian economy.

‘By supporting the vast majority of our recommendations and by setting clear targets for growth, this comprehensive strategy will strengthen Canada’s leadership position in this vital sector and deepen ties between Canadian and international postsecondary institutions, while sowing the seeds of economic growth and prosperity across Canada,’ he said.

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