Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement – Annex E: International Students 2018

1.0 Preamble

  • 1.1 The Parties agree that attracting and retaining international students is a priority for each. This Annex balances the goals of maintaining the effectiveness and protecting the integrity of Canada’s International Student Program while positioning Canada and Ontario as destinations of choice for international students.
  • 1.2 In addition to bilateral work, the Parties agree to continue working collaboratively with other provinces and territories towards the achievement of multilateral objectives related to international students and immigration.

2.0 Purpose

  • 2.1 The purpose of this Annex is to facilitate co-operation between the Parties respecting matters related to international students, including maintaining the effectiveness and protecting the integrity of programs, and facilitating the entry of international students to Ontario and their transition to post-graduation employment or permanent residency, or both.

3.0 Guiding Principles

  • 3.1 In implementing this Annex and any initiatives developed under it, the Parties shall respect the following guiding principles:
  • 3.1.1 Recognizing that international students bring significant educational, economic and cultural benefits to the Parties, and that they are an important contributor to the global flow of people and ideas;
  • 3.1.2 Improving Ontario’s attractiveness as a destination for international students to study, work and immigrate, while enhancing the province’s reputation for providing high quality educational opportunities for students;
  • 3.1.3 Realizing Ontario’s long-term economic development objectives through the recognition of international students as one potential source of skilled labour for the province;
  • 3.1.4 Co-operating in the development and implementation of initiatives under this Annex that support the shared goals of the Parties, particularly with respect to facilitating study, work and immigration for international students in regions across Ontario;
  • 3.1.5 Continuing to maintain the integrity of Canada’s International Student Program through monitoring, reporting and evaluating specific initiatives developed under this Annex, which may also be further specified, as agreed to by both Parties;
  • 3.1.6 Facilitating the sharing of information between Ontario and Canada and with educational institutions, as appropriate, on matters pertaining to Canada’s International Student Program; and
  • 3.1.7 Working together to ensure that reciprocal mechanisms are in place for effective and timely bilateral sharing of data and other information (in accordance with applicable federal and provincial legislation and policies) in order to facilitate each Party’s independent, as well as their joint:  
    • administration and analysis of programs;
    • protection of programs’ integrity and reputations; and
    • planning and preparation in the event of changes to policies, programs, and procedures.

4.0 Initiatives

  • 4.1 The Parties will work collaboratively to achieve the purpose of this Annex.  Areas for consideration, discussion, and potential initiatives, where possible, may include:
    • Assessing challenges affecting the attraction and entry of international students, including French-speaking students, to Ontario;
    • Exploring opportunities to support timely access to study permits and work permits, including co-op work permits, to support international student participation in the range of educational programs to which they have been accepted;
    • Developing mechanisms to support the protection of international students impacted by unforeseen events causing disruption in the pursuit of their studies in Canada;
    • Exploring ways to jointly promote, to international students, post-secondary institutions and employers, immigration programs that support the retention and transition of international students in Ontario, including their transition to the labour market, post-graduation employment and permanent residence; and
    • Developing and implementing initiatives that may enhance the effectiveness of the International Student Program and strengthen Canada’s reputation as a top study destination, and support the province’s ability to address research and development, labour market needs, and immigration priorities through the attraction, entry, education, training, and retention of international students.

5.0 Information Sharing

  • 5.1 All information sharing between the Parties shall be in accordance with section 12.4 of the General Provisions of this Agreement.
  • 5.2 The Parties agree to share information and research, in partnership with other ministries or departments, on best practices regarding international student attraction and retention.

6.0 Governance

  • 6.1 In accordance with section 12.1 of the General Provisions of this Agreement, the AMC will be responsible for the overall implementation of this Annex. In the absence of specific direction to the contrary, Focal Points from each of the Parties will report to the AMC on an annual basis.
  • 6.2 The Focal Points for the purpose of communication and notification pursuant to this Annex are:
    • for Canada: the Director General, Immigration Branch, Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada; and
    • for Ontario: the Director, Citizenship and Immigration Division, Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration. 
  • 6.3 The purpose and potential initiatives agreed to in this Annex require a multilateral approach, which will consist of members from the Government of Ontario drawn from the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, as required and where appropriate. These members will each consult with other ministries or departments or designated learning institutions eligible to host international students, where applicable, to specific initiatives established under this Annex. For the purpose of this Annex, the contacts from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development include:
    • the Director, Postsecondary Education, Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development; and
    • the Director, Advanced Education Learner Supports, Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development.
  • 6.4 Once this Annex is in force, the Parties will submit plans for working arrangements and strategies to the AMC, as required. Updates to such plans shall be permitted during the period this Agreement is in force, as required, pursuant to the approval of the AMC.

7.0 Dispute Management and Resolution

  • 7.1 In the case of a Dispute under this Annex, the Parties agree to follow the Dispute Management and Resolution Process outlined in section 12.3 of the General Provisions of this Agreement.

8.0 Program Accountability and Evaluation

  • 8.1 The Parties agree to cooperate for the purposes of evaluation and agree to inform each other of planned evaluations and to share reports of their respective evaluations with each other.
  • 8.2 The Parties agree to undertake a joint review of International Student Program initiatives or pilot initiatives under this Annex, as appropriate. Process and review timelines will be established by the AMC, as required, referenced in section 6.1 of this Annex.

9.0 Duration and Amendments

  • 9.1 This Annex terminates on the date the General Provisions of this Agreement cease to be in effect.
  • 9.2 The Parties agree to review the effectiveness of this Annex no later than twelve (12) months prior to its expiry.
  • 9.3 Upon the mutual written consent of both Parties, the term of this Annex can be extended at any time prior to its expiry, subject to any required approval or authorization, including the approval of the Governor in Council at the Canada level, or Lieutenant Governor in Council at the Ontario level.
  • 9.4 This Annex may be amended at any time by the mutual written consent of the Parties, subject to any required approval, including the approval of the Governor in Council at the Canada level, or Lieutenant Governor in Council at the Ontario level.
  • 9.5 Either Party may terminate this Annex at any time by providing at least twelve (12) months’ notice in writing to the other Party.
  • 9.6 Start dates and the duration of any pilot initiatives developed and implemented under this Annex will be determined jointly by the Parties.
  • 9.7 The specific terms and any pilot initiatives developed and implemented under this Annex will be negotiated through separate agreements between the Parties.

10.0 Notices

  • 10.1 The Focal Points referenced in section 6.2 of this Annex undertake to give one another notice of any change in policy, regulations or legislation relating to their respective programs that is likely to affect this Annex.
  • 10.2 Any notice to be delivered under this Annex should be sent to the Focal Points noted in section 6.2 of this Annex, and should also be sent to:
    • Address for notice to Canada
      Deputy Minister
      Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
      365 Laurier Avenue West
      Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L1
    • Address for notice to Ontario
      Deputy Minister
      Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration
      400 University Avenue
      Toronto, Ontario M7A 2R9
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