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The cap on study permits will be studied by a Senate committee

Photo: Christine Muschi The Canadian Press The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Marc Miller, will be invited to testify before the Senate Committee on Official Languages.

The Senate Committee on Official Languages ​​will study the cap on study permits, fearing that it will have “a considerable impact on French-language colleges and universities outside Quebec.” The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Marc Miller, will be invited to testify.

Under this measure, announced last January, Ottawa plans to grant approximately 360,000 study permits in 2024, or 35% fewer than in 2023. But “stakeholders are already expressing their concerns that the federal government has acted without sufficient consideration for French-speaking post-secondary institutions outside of Quebec,” wrote Senator Rose-May Poirier, vice-chair of the committee.

More than two months ago, the Association of Colleges and Universities of the Canadian Francophonie (ACUFC) expressed its “deep concern with regard to such an unqualified measure which could have unforeseen consequences […] on Francophone minority communities.” French-speaking post-secondary establishments “count on international clientele to generate revenue that allows them to stay afloat,” Martin Normand, the director of international relations, explained to Devoir of the ACUFC.

The association also highlighted a “blatant contradiction” of the measure with the new version of the Official Languages ​​Act and with the Francophone Immigration Policy, which aims in particular to attract more French-speaking foreign students outside Quebec.

Recognizing that Francophones could be affected, Ottawa for its part assured “to seek mechanisms to minimize the impact” of its decision. Rather than attacking Francophones, the federal government claimed it wanted to target “malicious actors” who do not welcome students, whether in terms of housing or mental health support services.

In Ontario, French is a priority

The Ontario government, responsible for distributing permit quotas among establishments, said Wednesday it will prioritize programs “where labor demand is high, in order to meet the needs of the Ontario labor market.”

People enrolled in French-language programs will also be given priority, “given the growing demand in the job market for workers who are proficient in French,” said the Ministry of Colleges and Universities.

Queen’s Park will award “96% of study permit applications to publicly funded colleges and universities,” the release read. Language schools, private universities, and “other establishments in the province” will have to share the remaining 4%. Vocational colleges will not be able to welcome foreign students.

In 2022, Ontario welcomed 51% of all international students to the country, at all levels of study, according to the Canadian Office for International Education. From now on, foreign students will not be able to represent more than 55% of an establishment's students, except in “high demand sectors”.

This report is supported by the Local Journalism Initiative, funded by the Government of Canada.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116