Attracting international students carries benefits

Published on January 24, 2014


Last week at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, I joined University President Colin Dodds as part of the launch of the International Education Strategy (IES). This important initiative seeks to increase the number of international students in Canada from 265,000 to 450,000 by 2022.

International students play a significant role in colleges and universities across our province and country. Not only do they contribute to our economy and create jobs, they enrich our educational environment, and help Canada forge bonds with the international community. Our government sees the importance of international students, and we are taking steps to increase the ease at which they can attend our world-class institutions.

The impact of the International Education Strategy will be significant. This $5 million annual contribution will be directed toward an international marketing campaign, as well as steps to streamline administrative processes for international students entering Canada. Our government believes that the additional increase of international students will create 90,000 jobs and boost our economy by $10 billion annually.

With 9,600 international students in Nova Scotia spending just over $306 million last year and sustaining nearly 2,000 jobs, our province stands to benefit significantly – with an additional 1,780 jobs likely to be created. In particular, this boost in both students and employment at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish will help the local economy and be good for local families and businesses.

The economy remains our Conservative government’s top priority. The International Education Strategy will bring about greater linkages between Canadian students and their international peers; enhance relationships between educational institutions, and forge deeper ties between governments and organizations which focus on international education. This will drive economic growth, creating jobs and long term prosperity for both our province and country in the process. By enhancing Canada’s global leadership in higher education, we will advance our country’s commercial interest in priority markets and help address needs in our economy moving forward.


Peter MacKay is MP for Central Nova and federal Justice Minister.