Ontario’s public colleges are very pleased to support Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada Minister Marc Miller’s new measures to further protect international students from fraud and strengthen the integrity of Canada’s immigration system.
We know that many international students choose Ontario as a destination of choice to study and they are attracted by our high-quality post-secondary institutions and welcoming communities. These young people add vitality to communities and fill essential employer needs.
Ontario’s public colleges have long been working together as a system to ensure we maintain and strengthen this high-quality public post-secondary education and experience. This includes having strong measures in place to support the applications from genuine students and protect international students from fraud.
Every one of Ontario’s 24 public colleges is committed to protecting and supporting international students. We have collaborated over a number of years on substantive measures to protect students.
Recently, this has included the development of a new app – OCAS Verify – that lets the federal government and the Canada Border Services Agency quickly authenticate international students’ offer letters and payment status.
The app is currently used at 12 of Ontario’s public colleges and has over 590,000 offer letters available for verification. Since October 2022, there have been over 73,000 requests for verification.
The Ontario public college system also came together to develop and implement new sector-wide standards for international education that were released earlier this year. These standards build on the strong and long-standing commitment to quality that Ontario’s public colleges already have in place.
The standards set clear requirements for everything from the marketing of programs to the assistance provided to students once they arrive in Canada. They also require international agents working for the public colleges to complete a sector-endorsed agent training program. These new international student standards are subject to a third-party audit that is now getting started.
Attracting international students continues to be essential to producing a stronger workforce and economic growth. International students contribute over $12 billion each year to the Ontario economy.
We know the province will continue to need skilled workers across a range of key sectors – international students can play an important role in filling those labour market needs across the province.
We also know there are significant challenges that must continue to be addressed. Ontario’s 24 public colleges are committed to addressing them.
We will continue to partner with governments and our communities to ensure Ontario remains an attractive destination for international students and that our immigration and international student systems operate with integrity and fairness.