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Canada responds on London Statement

Canada – an active player in the roundtable on international education that led to the agreement on agent principles – has spoken to The PIE News about why it has not signed up to the London Statement, issuing a fairly mysterious statement. The G4 statement on principles for ethical agent recruitment, known as the London Statement on account of it being agreed in London on the fringes of Going Global, has been backed by the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland so far – but not by the USA or Canada.

Pat Killingley (left) of the British Council and Colin Walters of AEI in Australia spearheaded the London Statement initiative

"We at AIRC believe that US universities need an approach that has real incentives and real penalties"

“No decisions have been made about signing the Statement of Principles,” said a spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. “At all times, we act in the best interest of Canadians.”

The USA is split over the issue of agencies with sector association NACAC currently considering its official position on commission payments made internationally, but the use of agents is not such a contentious issue in Canada. Indeed, Languages Canada has implemented an interesting initiative with Russian agency association, AREA, for example.

Meanwhile, in the USA, the American International Recruitment Council (AIRC) – a non-profit body positioned as an authority on agent standards which provides a (paid-for) accreditation service for education agencies keen to work with US institutions – has welcomed the news of the London Statement but claimed it does not go far enough.

Dr. Stephen Foster, AIRC President, says: “The document calls for agents and their representative bodies to voluntarily sign up to the Statement. We at AIRC believe that US universities need an approach that has real incentives and real penalties, such as AIRC’s robust certification program that enforces transparency and high professional standards on the part of recruitment agencies.”

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