Canada’s International student community

The number of overseas students studying in Canada at any given point in time varies with the reporting organization that is being quoted. Global Affairs Canada (GAC) includes both short and long-term students in the final statistics that it complies. The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), on the other hand, takes into account only those students with valid work or study permits.


Whatever the source, the numbers are simply mind boggling.


A. Over the years. . .


The international student community makes up nearly 15% of overall involvement in universities in 2017/18. More significantly, it signifies a slightly-over 8% rise over the 2009/10 figures. Today, the figures are quite staggering. There were over 528000 foreign students in the country in 2020, despite this being a 17% decrease year-on-year. Then, as the COVID-19 pandemic abated somewhat, the student figure increased to 621,600 in 2021.

Not only this, impressive as it may be. According to the Statistics Canada official release dated 24/11/2021, International students accounted for all of the growth in postsecondary enrolments in 2018/2019.”


B. It’s the province stupid. . .

Courtesy: ,,


The proportion of overseas students varies widely across provinces and territories.

    • Ontario and British Columbia are far ahead of the rest of the pack.
    • Understandably, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island turn out to be more popular destinations for the international student community than the middle provinces such as Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.
    • Not surprisingly, colleges located in the Northern Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon are filled exclusively by Canadian students.


Some provinces score over others on several parameters such as weather, population diversity, living expenses, availability of part-time jobs, opportunities to network with potential employers.


1. ,lowest college/university fees for international students


Undoubtedly, the top honours go to Newfoundland and Labrador. New Brunswick comes a close second, at least at the undergraduate level. Masters level qualifications, though, are far more expensive.


2. weather and the taxman


Maclean’s 2022 University Guide gushes that “[f]or the most desirable weather, no province in the country comes close to B.C.” You can enjoy summers that are warm as well as mild winters in many places here. If one is to believe, British Columbia is also the place where you have to shell out the least in terms of tax. Now, isn’t that just what the doctor ordered?


3. jobs and living expenses


Ontario tops as the place where the most number of jobs are available. According to ,, as of May, 2022, there is an availability of 170,988 jobs in this province alone. At the same time, it is also the most expensive place to live in. On the other hand, you might decide to plump for New Brunswick, especially if you find yourself on a tight budget. It is, after all, the cheapest province to live in Canada in 2022.


4. student community life


Many consider Quebec City to be the best in Canada for students. And widely known for its ancient architecture and “European feel”. The cosmopolitan nature is perhaps due to it being “inhabited by a large number of minorities.” Students find Quebec not only economical but also easy to commute because of its robust public transport network. The icing on the cake is the city enjoying the lowest unemployment rate in the entire country.


5. safest and most women-friendly


In an overall safe country, LaSalle, ON, is safer than its more famous and glamorous siblings. It has a Crime Severity Index (CSI) of 19.15, “which is 75% lower than the national index” (, Coupled with a relatively high income-rate and low unemployment (3%), LaSalle comes across as a good place to live in Canada.


Twice, Victoria, capital of British Columbia, has been rated the most women-friendly city in the country. It was also the only city in Canada with a woman in the mayor’s chair. When women frequent the corridors of power, there is perhaps an even greater chance than otherwise in bringing about a fairer and more equitable society.


C. Most popular courses among international students. . .


An entire detailed report on the various courses can – and will – be written for your in-depth and informed analysis. For the moment, suffice it to say that the list is made up of the usual suspects. They are usually popular with the Indian students there.

Computer Science & IT



Business Management

Finance & Analytics

Medicine & Nursing

Psychology and Human Resources



Agricultural Science and Forestry


An overwhelming number of students admit that they have chosen Canada because it provides a world-class education that is pocket-friendly at the same time. Its diversity and welcoming spirit also count as factors that have influenced their final decision.


D. The purpose. . .


The above may be true to some extent yet the single-most important intention for taking this step remains the desire to secure a permanent residency (PR) status in Canada, and enjoy a far better life than what international students are used to in their native country.


According to ,, 70% of students surveyed expressed the desire to pursue permanent resident status and remain in Canada. Not only that, a whopping 40% embarked on their Canada study plan in the first place precisely because it is relatively easy to settle in this country.


Even among the rest, a fairly significant proportion wished to spend a few years in the country, and gather valuable work experience before taking the next step.


,Canada, the Promised Land,. . .here we come!


A lot more may be said on this topic. For the moment, though, this should do. . .


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