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Essay: How attractive is Canada as a destination for study?

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  • Published: 30 September 2022*
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British politician Tony Blair once said, “A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in. And how many want out.” Relating this to the current immigration state of Canada, if we base the desirability of this country, and with the numbers that show how many come to settle down—Canada is a very wanted country. Immigration to Canada has been around over 150 years ago. According to charts, the year with the highest recorded number of immigrants was 1913 with over 400,000 people. This number slowed down after the first World War through the Great Depression and World War II. 1

The educational system in Canada is ranked as one of the best ones in the world. 2 This is probably why people from all over the world choose to come to study in Canada. However, despite the fact that Canada is a great place to study in and that foreign students want an education on a more global scale, Canada is known to be a good recruiter as well. According to ICEF Monitor, there has been a record of 572,000 students in 2018, resulting to a 5-year overall growth rate of more than 72%.3 With this information, and relative insight, prospect students are interested in the quality of education and the benefits that would come after. These are beneficial both ways. In exchange for these expensive fees that international students pay, they get great education. This quality education comes with a huge price tag. International students ($52,000 per AY) pay about 3-6 times more than domestic students (ex $16,000 per AY). This mind boggling number though was clarified to be because International students do not pay taxes, and Canadians believe taxpayers should be given discounted prices on education. The $52,000 (example) is the non-discounted price, per se. 4 Despite the huge price tag, Canada’s price for international education is still competitive worldwide.

According to international.gc.ca, in 2015 and 2016 respectively, international students and their families have contributed a total of $10.5 billion and $12.8 billion to the country’s GDP. 5 In addition to that, the article has also claimed that long-term international students are employed to over 150,00 jobs in Canada. More recently, they have contributed about $21.6 billion to Canada’s GDP along with being employed to 170,000 jobs.

The enrolment of international students have drawn more domestic students, as well. This is because the fees for international students have paved way and subsidized for more space and seats for interested students. 6

RESOURCE BASED VIEW

VRIO FRAMEWORK

VALUE

With Canada having just about 37 million in a 9.985 million km2 piece of land, there is so much space for people to open businesses, people to migrate in, and what not. Albeit not all 9.9million km2 is all livable, these house so many resources that can open up so many industries.

The education sector also boasts a stellar quality of education that is comparable on a global scale, for a competitive price. This and a few other factors is what drives people to come and study here. The foreign students industry allows the country’s financial resources to boom. This is because the spread between how much a domestic student pays and how much an international student pays is wide, and can allow the education sector to make room and pave way for more domestic students to get education and pay so little.

Education is available mostly everywhere. The question here is if the education available is comparable to most educational systems in the world. Are foreign students (the question in study) Valuable to 1. Educational Industry and 2. Canadian Businesses? Yes. In the aforementioned statement, we have explained how foreign student fees are relatively higher and why this is the case. It benefits the public colleges and schools to continue to expand and take in more students.

As for Canadian Businesses, the age range that this section would apply to, (legal age to work in Canada) we have discussed in the competitive dynamics section of this paper that explain the benefit this brings to Canadian businesses, specifically businesses that offer entry-level jobs/menial jobs. Foreign students/temporary foreign workers have filled 31,000 agricultural jobs, 6,200 as nannies, and 4,000 as counter/food staff according to the data the researcher has gathered. This is not to say that Canadian businesses have preferred foreign workers, it also has something to do with locals/domestics not wanting to work in these sectors. Having these people available, Canadian businesses have filled their job openings that need to be filled. When “studying in Canada” is marketed to foreign countries, they also give the promise of “Study + Work”. This is a way for foreign students to support themselves while they are in Canada.

RARITY

Canada is listed as one of the top 10 best education systems in the entire world. Since education in Canada is almost equally subjected across the nation, and that schools and universities have a standard of good quality, making them globally recognized, benefiting them with a world class education. 7

The acceptance of foreign students do not just apply to university or college students but to foreign exchange high school students as well.

As for the study in question, international education as a “business” is present worldwide. In fact, as of 2018, Canada with 15.2% is only behind Australia with 23.8% and New Zealand with 21.1% where there is an abundance of international students as well. 8

But, is education rare, per se? Not really. International education is available in other countries as well. What makes studying in Canada rare are the benefits that come along with it that other countries might not be able to offer.

Culturally Diverse. Canada is also listed as one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. This is one rare quality because this enhances their desirability to be chosen as a country to study in.

IMITABILITY

Given that Canada’s educational system is one of the prime educational systems in the world, this would be hard to imitate. It’s not impossible, but it would take quite a long time to imitate. This is because the educational system encompasses with the country’s culture in general. What are the people’s habits like? What are the general work/school ethic of Canadians? Questions like these. Culture plays a big role in this because one thing might work for one country but it might not work for the other. 9

ORGANIZATION

Canada’s educational organizational culture is impactful. They strictly focus on constant improvement in areas that may need it. 10 There is a great system backed up by the Canadian government that allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to be given quality education for free (in public schools), and get quality education at that. 11

Institution Based View

FORMAL

In order for one to enter and study in Canada, they must provide all necessary paperwork needed. With this in mind, there are also paperworks that Canadian institutions would need in order to operate in this endeavour. One, they may need to be a part of the DLI, or the Designated Learning Institution

INFORMAL

Canada has been known to be a very non-discriminating nation. There are articles that have taken the time to publish articles about Canada’s reputation. Canada is a very diverse country when in comes to being a host of different cultures, being a nation of new comers. Given that immigrants comprise 20% of the total population of Canada, this might give us an overview of how much cultures are available here. With French and English being the two main languages in Canada, 200 more languages spoken here have been reported—may it be a supplementary language or their own mother tongue. 12

When there is a growing population in a certain place, there is also demand for basic necessities therefore more places to shop for them, more hospitals, and other services they might need. With the rising demand, there will also be a demand for employees. This gives foreign students jobs while they are studying in Canada, if they need or want it.

Canadian businesses since then have filled numerous entry level jobs for foreign students/workers that Canadians simply did not or would not want to fill. 13 According to the data given by Citizenship and Immigration, the number of temporary foreign workers in Canada who accepted entry-level, menial jobs skyrocketed. 14 Some studies believe that Canadians who initially take these jobs (agriculture, etc) eventually leave because of the poor work environment and the safety issues. 15

Not only is the employment sector the most beneficial, the real estate industry is greatly affected by this, as well. 16 It is apparent that these students would need a place to live in while they finish their education in Canada. The system offers 3 kinds of housing opportunities: Homestay (Food + lodging), Peerstay (lodging), and renting their own space. 17

FACTORS THAT AFFECT THE INDUSTRY

Target Market’s Resources

There are a lot of needed documentations in order to obtain a study permit o study in Canada. One of these is the proof of financial resources. 19 Based from a forum of applicants to study in Canada, one advisor said that the minimum funds you must be able to present is a whole year of living expenses + tuition fees, which would amount to about $10,000—at least. This makes it difficult for some prospect students to be qualified since a lot of countries have low gross domestic income 20, 21

Designated Learning Institutions

A number of institutions are listed in the DLI section in the cic.gov.ca page which is an important factor to key in when applying for a study permit. This can also be a drawback for interested international students to apply to Canada knowing that they are only approved a study permit to study in Canada as long as their desired institution is in the DLI list.

The Talk of Labour Trafficking

To where this applies, there is actually a talk of labour trafficking in Canada. 22 This is why Canadian employers are required to advertise their business, and the position they are filling in for all Canadians, permanent residents and foreign students. They should be able to prove that the position they are trying to fill can not or is not filled by a Canadian national.

Current Federal Government

With the victory of current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet, their platforms included promises that were beneficial to the foreign exchange industry. 30 They have pledged $148 million to achieve their target of having international students comprise 20% of enrolments by 2022 in Ontario’s universities. 23

Housing Crisis

Since there is an influx of international students and a rise in population in general, there is also a ridiculously huge demand for housing. However, this current issue has not been addressed at the very maximum, there are new housing complexes available that have been constructed to help ease this. But because of this crisis, the available rooms/beds for rent are very expensive, causing them to pay more than they hoped for. 26

Refusal Due to Personal Opinion

Although these candidates would have to go through just like any other screening process, and albeit they would have the necessary documents needed in order to get a successful result from the application, there are still people who do get rejected. According to Victor Satzewich, 27 he has studied the way immigration officers make their judgment and a number of African countries have had higher refusal rates. This could be due to the fact that quite a number of those who seek asylum come from Nigeria attempt to cross into Quebec.

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