Students call on the government to provide increased support for Ontario’s international students

May 3rd, 2018

Toronto, ON - In the wake of the release of Ontario’s International Postsecondary Education strategy, students, represented by the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA), reaffirm their advocacy that the Ontario government must provide increased supports for Ontario’s international student population.

OUSA was invited to consult on the development of Ontario’s International Postsecondary Education strategy. The pillars of student advocacy on this important issue continue to be tuition and financial aid, employment and immigration, health services, student support services, and exchange and credit transfer. In particular, OUSA recommends that the provincial government begin regulating international student tuition by cohort to provide affordability and bring predictability to the cost of their education, and allow international students to buy into OHIP coverage to improve their access to quality healthcare.

“While the goals outlined in the province’s strategy are admirable, it is necessary for our government to take immediate action in addressing the concerns of Ontario’s international student population,” said Andrew Clubine, student at the University of Waterloo and President of OUSA. “The government’s key actions to provide full program tuition transparency is a step in the right direction, however our international students deserve to have tuition costs that are both transparent and predictable.”

OUSA recognizes that the development of an internationalization strategy is a difficult task, and applauds the government for taking the first steps towards improving post-secondary education for this segment of our student population. By recognizing the need to improve the international student experience in Ontario, support the retention of international talent, and ensure prudent, high-quality growth, the government has acknowledged the importance of this significant cohort of post-secondary students.

“International students contribute to a positive community environment, and enhance the vibrancy of campus life," said Stephanie Bertolo, student at McMaster University and Director of OUSA. “With Ontario’s universities continuing to be a primary destination for international students studying in Canada, it is important that we recognize the benefits that they bring to our communities and campuses, and that we support them during their studies at our institutions.”

OUSA looks forward to working with the government and other stakeholders in ensuring that Ontario’s international students benefit from an affordable, accessible, and high quality post-secondary experience. It is necessary that as international student enrollment continues to grow, our sector shifts our focus from the financial benefit this cohort brings to our campuses, and begins to provide international students with the support and transparency required for them to succeed during their studies.

OUSA represents the interests of 150,000 professional and undergraduate, full-time and part-time university students at eight student associations a cross Ontario. Our vision is for an accessible, affordable, accountable, and high quality post-secondary education in Ontario. To achieve this vision we’ve come together to develop solutions to challenges facing higher education, build broad consensus for our policy options, and lobby government to implement them.

Deborah Lam                                                         
Operations & Communications Director
Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
[email protected]