Minister Carr unveils new International Education Strategy to help Canada compete in global markets and create jobs

News release

August 22, 2019 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

To thrive in today’s global economy, young Canadians need to be adaptable, resilient, and able to work with people from different backgrounds. When we encourage Canadian youth to study abroad, and when we attract international students to study in Canada, we foster important connections and create good-quality jobs. Together with the provinces and territories, the Government of Canada plays a key role in helping to shape Canada’s world-class education system.

Today, the Government of Canada launched a new International Education Strategy that will give more young Canadians opportunities to study abroad and gain the skills they need to compete in a global marketplace, while advancing Canada’s standing as a high-calibre location in which to study, do research and work.

The Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification, represented the Government of Canada at an event in Edmonton, Alberta, which brought together students, professors, educators and other key partners in education. He made this announcement in partnership with the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, and the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.  The strategy was developed with input from the provinces and territories, as well as key educational partners from across the country, including education associations.

The strategy includes an Outbound Mobility Program pilot project that will give more Canadian post-secondary students opportunities to study and work abroad—particularly students who are less likely to have the opportunity to do so.

Through these opportunities, students will develop the skills and networks needed to help Canada compete in the global marketplace. The pilot will be delivered by Colleges and Institutes Canada and Universities Canada. Up to 11,000 Canadian students will benefit from the pilot project over its five-year duration. 

Under the new strategy, the international education sector will maximize its potential and create new jobs for Canadians across the country by:

  • encouraging more young Canadians to study and work abroad so they can later apply those skills to growing Canadian businesses
  • enriching Canada’s learning environment by attracting students from a greater variety of countries
  • increasing exports of Canadian educational services and products 


“Providing young Canadians with more opportunities to gain education and experience abroad will ensure that they are better equipped for the jobs of tomorrow. This is part of our plan to grow the middle class and ensure that more Canadians get a fair chance at success.”

- Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

“Our government is ensuring that Canadian businesses have the talent they need to compete internationally, so they can create good jobs right here at home. Canada is a leader in international education, and our new strategy will strengthen our trade diversification efforts, boost our innovation capacity, promote closer people-to-people ties, and foster a vibrant Canadian economy.”

- Jim Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification

Ensuring that Canada attracts the best and the brightest students while having the tools to better protect students and maintain program integrity is paramount to the success of this strategy.”

- Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

“Study abroad changes lives. The new Outbound Student Mobility pilot is significant news for young Canadians, and for Canada. Canada’s universities look forward to working with our partners in government and the higher education sector to enable more students, from all backgrounds, to participate in global mobility experiences.”

– Paul Davidson, President, Universities Canada 

“In an increasingly globalized world, study and work abroad programs are essential international learning experiences that ensure students are culturally literate, resilient, and adaptable. The Outbound Mobility pilot will equip Canadian students to remain competitive in today’s global marketplace. We look forward to working with our members to ensure that students have the global skills needed to succeed.”

- Denise Amyot, President and CEO, Colleges and Institutes Canada

Quick facts

  • In 2018, more than 720,000 international students at all levels studied in Canada—the largest number ever.  

  • International education represents an important service export sector for Canada. Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service supports more than 800 educational institutions and businesses offering education-related services and products.

  • In 2018, international students contributed an estimated $21.6 billion in expenditures to Canada’s economy.

  • The Government of Canada works closely with the provinces and territories, which have jurisdiction over education, to market Canada’s education services abroad.

  • As announced in Budget 2019, the Government of Canada is investing $147.9 million over five years, with $8 million per year ongoing, in the new International Education Strategy.

  • Approximately 11% of Canadian undergraduate university students study abroad over the course of their degrees—this number is estimated to be even lower for college students. In contrast, students from France, Germany, Australia and the United States go abroad at rates of 33%, 29%, 19% and 16% respectively. 

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Michael Jones
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of International Trade Diversification 

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
Follow us on Twitter: @CanadaTrade

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Mathieu Genest
Office of the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Media Relations, Communications Branch
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Véronique Simard
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
Follow us on Twitter: @Jobs_Emplois 

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