Budget 2023: Canadian Universities Disappointed With Lack of Funding for Student Mental Health, Int'l Education

Canada North America Higher Education News International Studies by Erudera News Apr 05, 2023

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The higher education sector in Canada has expressed disappointment over the annual budget released by the government on Tuesday, March 28, saying there is a lack of investments in research, international education, and student mental health support.

Universities Canada, representing Canadian universities at home and abroad, made a request to Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appealing for an increased budget for higher education, Erudera.com reports.

The letter from President of Universities Canada Paul Davidson, written on behalf of universities, says the budget was a missed opportunity to secure the country’s future prosperity. It adds the government has set a clear goal to have a clean economy in the next few years but has failed to recognize the role that universities play in this plan to succeed.

“Your government’s own advisory panel on the federal research support system recently issued its final report which recognized that Canada is falling behind international competition in support for research and recommended that your government increase research funding and boost scholarships for graduate students,” the letter reads, highlighting the need for actions otherwise Canada will be beaten in the global competition for talents.

Another issue mentioned in the letter is mental health support on campuses. Universities said the government has also failed to keep its promise to allocate $500 million for mental health services on campuses and called on Prime Minister to act quickly and provide the funds to address this matter.

They said the time is running out to offer the necessary support for students whose mental health has been affected during the COVID-19 pandemic days.

Davidson emphasized that despite delays in work and visa processing that are damaging the country’s reputation among international students, the government had not allocated a budget for new investments in the immigration system.

“We are at a critical moment for Canada and this budget missed the mark on investing to secure Canada’s future prosperity. Throughout the pandemic, Canada’s universities delivered: for students; in research; and as stabilizers and catalysts in their communities.”

Announcing this year’s budget, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Honourable Chrystia Freeland, said it would offer relief to Canadians who need it the most and that in these challenging times, there is no better place to stay than Canada.

On the other hand, according to HESA President Alex Usher, the Budget 2023 is the worst for higher education since 1995.

International students contribute more than $22 billion to the Canadian economy. In 2022, Canada set a new record by attracting a total of 551,405 international students, the majority from India and China, 226,450, and China 52,165, respectively.

>> Canada: Ontario Colleges Introduce New Set of Rules to Strengthen Programs for International Students

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