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Enrolment cap on international students impacts local postsecondary schools


NORTH DURHAM/KAWARTHA LAKES: The recent announcement by the federal government that there will be a cap placed on international student enrolment, for the next two years, has drawn mixed reactions from local postsecondary education stakeholders in Durham Region, Kawartha Lakes, and the surrounding area.

The new two-year cap on international students could mean a reduction of as much as 50 percent of the current number of international students at Sir Sanford Fleming College in Lindsay, Durham College and Ontario Tech University in Oshawa and Whitby.

While this latest development will not impact current students, it may affect those who have applied, internationally, to study at these institutions starting in 2024.

Fleming College President, Maureen Adamson noted, the impending cap on international students is expected to have adverse humanitarian and economic impacts on the area.

“It is important to recognize the relationship between international students and our local economies,” explained Ms. Adamson. “The implementation of international student caps poses a threat, not only to the educational experiences of all of our students but also to the vitality of our regional economy. The economic impact of a 50% reduction of international student enrollment will be a staggering loss to our communities: Peterborough, Lindsay and Haliburton.”

Representatives from Durham College and Ontario Tech echoed many of those sentiments, noting, both postsecondary schools are home to a combined international student body of nearly 5,000, from dozens of countries around the world.

As Ontario struggles with a shortage of skilled labour, stakeholders commented on the importance of international students in bridging some of those gaps.

“International students who come to Ontario are essential to bringing in top talent for key sectors of the workforce, here in our area and across the province,” added Ms. Adamson. “They usually come with a diploma or degree and are ready to move quickly into the labour market.”

While other areas of the province have seen skyrocketing numbers of international students in recent years, those students are typically enrolled at private career colleges in the Greater Toronto Area. A much lower number of the, recent spike in, international enrollments are studying at traditional postsecondary schools, as are found in Durham and Kawartha Lakes, limiting the local impact on housing, compared to other parts of the province.

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