Canada’s Provinces Oppose Proposal to Cap Int'l Student Numbers Amid Housing Crisis

Canada North America International Studies Higher Education News by Erudera News Sep 15, 2023

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Several provinces in Canada are opposing the government’s plans to cap international student numbers as it tries to solve the housing crisis.

Canadian Housing Minister Sean Fraser recently proposed limiting the number of international students entering Canada to address the country’s soaring housing prices., reports.

Fraser, Immigration Minister Marc Miller, and Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc have all said Ottawa is considering the possibility of imposing a limit on student admissions, local media reports say.

Such remarks were not welcomed by provincial and territorial governments, which said they had not been consulted on limiting the number of students.

After being contacted by the Global News, three provinces, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, denied having been contacted about the proposed limit. Only the government of the Northwest Territories admitted it had been reached out about the cap.

“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,” a spokesperson for the NWT government told the Global News.

Representatives from other provinces said they are waiting to review any international student admission policy and to be consulted over the matter before any decision is made. They also highlighted the importance of international students, particularly when addressing demographic challenges.

The Minister said that he plans to start talks on student numbers and find out what else can be done to fix the housing crisis.

Fraser, who previously served as immigration minister, said that the sharp increase in the number of international students in Canada was putting pressure on the housing market; therefore, a cap is one of the options that is being considered.

“I think that is one of the options that we ought to consider. The government has not yet made a decision,” he told reporters last month.

According to official data, there were more than 800,000 international students studying in Canada last year, a 193 percent increase from 2012, when a total of 275,000 overseas students were enrolled at Canadian educational institutions.

The housing crisis in Canada has worsened this year, causing authorities to consider the first-ever cap on international students.

In order to address the housing affordability crisis, Canada needs over 22 million housing units by 2030, meaning there should be 3.5 million additional housing units in the country to restore affordability, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) said.

Aled ab Iorwerth, Deputy Chief Economist at CMHC, has highlighted the need for a drastic transformation of the Canadian housing sector, including government policies.

>> Nova Scotia Minister: Int'l Students Should Find Housing Before Moving to Canada

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