For students interested in studying abroad, Canada is a safe, open and tolerant multicultural society with a unique educational system that offers a rich variety of academic programs.
Canada’s education system
A country with a very diverse cultural mix (over 200 ethnic origins and 200 mother tongues within its borders), Canada does not have a national education system or a federal department. The federal government has given territorial governments responsibility for managing their own education systems, which cooperate with the 13 Canadian provinces (Alberta, New Brunswick, Northwest Territories, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Quebec, Yukon and Saskatchewan) to deliver post-secondary programs.
The Federal Government
Provides financial support for post-secondary education and the teaching of its two official languages, English and French. According to UNESCO’s World Report on Adult Learning and Education, Canadian provinces and territories have educational programs at different levels that respond to the needs of specific populations.
It offers scholarships, bursaries, grants and funding opportunities for part-time, full-time, students with disabilities, students from low- and middle-income families, and students with dependents.
Offers the Canada Student Loan Program (CSLP) to help make post-secondary education more affordable and accessible to students who need assistance.
It is responsible for the education of indigenous populations, federal prison inmates and armed forces personnel.
Provides revenue to universities and colleges through transfer payments.
Ease of residency and promising employment
International students are considered strong candidates to become permanent residents because of their language skills, educational credentials and work experience in Canada. Policy changes have helped increase the number of hours of paid work allowed for international students and the length of work permits after graduation. These changes have also helped develop specific immigration programs in the provinces aimed at international students.
A CBIE research report revealed that 52% of prospective international students plan to apply for permanent residency because Canada has better job opportunities than their home country, and 59% of prospective international students plan to apply for permanent residency because Canada has a better standard of living than their home country.
With a study permit, students may work on campus if the institution they attend is publicly funded and offers degree programs. Students may also work as a graduate, research or teaching assistant for an off-campus employer that has a formal affiliation with the institution, such as a teaching hospital or research institute.
Full-time students may also work off-campus for any employer. These leaves typically allow up to 20 hours per week during term time, and full-time during vacation. As of February 14, 2019, the Canadian federal government released changes to the Post-Graduation Work Permit program, making employment in Canada after graduation much easier for international students. A Post-Graduation Work Permit allows an international graduate to work anywhere in Canada in any job for up to three years after completing a degree or diploma at a Canadian public university or college. The application deadline is now six months and students can apply for the permit up to 180 days after completing their degree or diploma. However, to be eligible, students must attend a public post-secondary institution.
Canada is safe
The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security reports that the overall rate of violent crime is lower in Canada than in the United States. Despite an increase in tourism in 2017, police reported that the overall crime rate in the city of Montreal, Canada, decreased and homicide rates are the lowest in 45 years. The majority of crime occurring in Vancouver is non-violent in nature. Street crime aimed at robbing people is rare. The level of crime in Halifax has minimal impact on the work and life of the community. A 2017 Calgary Police Commission report stated that 95% of citizens agreed that Calgary is a safe place to live.
The Institute for Economics and Peace ranked Canada as the eighth most peaceful country in the world in 2016 and 2017 and sixth in 2018. The first country to officially adopt multiculturalism as policy, Canada follows a set of principles outlined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Quality, affordable education worth leaving home for.
Canada’s education systems are considered among the best in the world and are responsive to the needs of diverse populations and age groups. Canadian universities offer more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, as well as professional degree and certificate programs.
In the Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings, three Canadian universities are ranked in the top 50, with the highest, the University of Toronto, ranked 22nd.
Although international students pay more than Canadian citizens to go to university, it is still less than they would pay in other countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States or Australia. Some universities in Canada charge low tuition fees to international students and fees typically range from $5,000 to $10,000 per year for undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs.
According to a recent study by the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), there were 494,525 international students in Canada in 2017 at all levels of study, an increase of 17% over 2016 and 34% between 2014 and 2017. Between 2008 and 2017, more than 1.5 million new jobs were created for university graduates, almost three times as many as were created for graduates of all other types of postsecondary education combined. More than half of university students benefit from co-ops, internships and service learning as part of their university education, and 78% of universities promote intercultural engagement through events, activities and training.
At the University of Alberta, graduates have the highest employment rate in Canada and one of the best in the world, according to university rankings.
Canadian universities strive to internationalize their campuses and seek to provide students with opportunities for unforgettable experiences that help them improve their professional and interpersonal skills.
For example, McGill University’s Buddy program has helped thousands of international students settle in McGill and Montreal by matching international students with current students and offering them language support, cultural orientation and more.
Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia has a diverse community of students from more than 110 countries, and offers the International Learning Champion Award to recognize Dalhousie faculty and staff members who have made a significant impact in promoting and supporting international learning experiences for Dalhousie students.