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Ontario’s Strategic Approach to International Student Allocation for Labour Market Needs

Ontario's Strategic Approach to International Student Allocation for Labour Market Needs

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In a move to address the challenges posed by federal regulations limiting international student study permits, Ontario is taking proactive steps to ensure that its postsecondary education system aligns with the province’s labour market demands.

With a focus on attracting top talent to critical sectors, the province aims to bolster economic growth and meet the needs of key industries
Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities, emphasized the importance of attracting international students to Ontario’s postsecondary institutions, particularly in areas crucial to the province’s economy. By collaborating closely with colleges and universities, Ontario is prioritizing programs that prepare graduates for high-demand jobs in skilled trades, healthcare, STEM fields, hospitality, and child care.

To achieve this, Ontario will allocate the majority of permit applications—96 percent—to publicly assisted colleges and universities, while the remaining four percent will be distributed among language schools, private universities, and other institutions. Career colleges, however, will not be included in this allocation.
Criteria for allocating applications will prioritize programs in high-demand sectors, ensuring that institutions do not exceed their 2023 permit levels. Additionally, there’s a cap to ensure that the ratio of international permits does not surpass 55 percent of the institution’s 2023 first-year domestic enrollment, excluding high-demand areas.

Recognizing the significance of French-language skills in the job market, Ontario will prioritize French-language enrollment to meet employer demand. The government will also collaborate with institutions to align programming with labour market needs and support economic growth.

To facilitate a positive experience for international students, the government is mandating publicly assisted colleges and universities to guarantee housing options for incoming students. Moreover, substantial investments have been made to support the mental health of all postsecondary students, with specific measures outlined in the Strengthening Accountability and Student Supports Act, 2024, pending approval.

International students completing their studies at designated learning institutions (DLIs) in Canada may apply for a post-graduation work permit. However, changes announced by the federal government will affect students enrolled in programs delivered through private partners at publicly assisted colleges starting May 15, 2024.

Overall, Ontario’s strategic allocation of international student applications reflects a commitment to aligning higher education with labour market needs, fostering economic growth, and providing a supportive environment for international students to thrive.

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