The Ontario government has declared a housing guarantee and a prohibition on new PPPs.

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Posted on January 29, 2024


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Under new provincial government regulations, Ontario-based universities must guarantee accommodation is accessible for every foreign student they enroll. In addition, while authorities assess the efficacy of current models, new public-private partnerships between universities and businesses will be temporarily prohibited. 

In an effort to curb “unsustainable growth,” the federal government decided to limit the quantity of study permits it grants to applicants for admission to Canada. The failure of provincial governments, and Ontario in particular, to make sure that universities and colleges are providing adequate support for overseas students has put them under fire. 

Based on population size, study permits will be distributed among the provinces; local governments will then be left to determine how these are distributed among schools and institutions.

The province of Ontario’s minister of colleges and universities, Jill Dunlop, unveiled a number of initiatives aimed at “improving the integrity” of the postsecondary education system on Friday.

Former immigration minister Sean Fraser noted last year that some universities “have five, six times as many students enrolled as they have spaces for them in the building,” highlighting the persistent problem of Ontario’s lack of affordable student accommodation. 

Private partnerships have been the driving force behind the rise of Ontario’s public college market in recent years, as evidenced by the increase in overall income from CAN$268.2 million in 2020/21 to $420.3 million in 2021/22. International students who are eager to remain and work in Canada make up the majority of students at several of these institutions. 

The PPPs’ entire business model will be threatened by the federal government’s decision to deny post-study work visas to students enrolling starting in September. 

Other actions that Ontario announced are: 

  • A thorough evaluation of the programs provided by postsecondary educational establishments that enroll a sizable number of foreign students.
  • enhancing vocational college monitoring in areas such as improved data handling, documentation procedures, and the effectiveness of compliance inquiries. 
  • Make sure the curricula offered satisfy the demands of the labour market so that graduates may find employment in Ontario.
  • In order to guarantee that the “best academic outcomes are being achieved,” efforts are being made to increase the response rate to student outcome surveys.

“The issues arising from the recent surge in student immigration to Canada, such as deceptive recruitment tactics by unscrupulous actors, inaccurate information about citizenship and permanent residency, fraudulent claims of assured jobs, and substandard housing for students, necessitate prompt attention and cooperative efforts,” stated Dunlop in a statement.

“At the same time, in order to place even more people in fulfilling professions in the health care and skilled trades, we need to fortify the connections between Ontario’s labor market demands and the programs being provided to students.”