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Host fees hike in Canada – ESQ survey

Host payments are on the rise in Canada, with homestay programs paying on average CA$95 more than last year – a 13% jump, a survey conducted by ESQ Educational Services on 42 programs has found.

Whistler was the location with the most expensive homestay program. Photo: coloringcuties/Pixabay

Figures were lower elsewhere, such as in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick

In last year’s edition, the survey found the average monthly payment was $750, while this year it jumped to $845. The report attributed the main reason for the increase to demand for homestay accommodation generated by a larger influx of international students into Canada.

“Canadian educational programs are acutely aware that cost is an important factor”

But the increase is not uniform across Canada, with some areas experiencing less growth than others. While 46% of survey respondents said they wouldn’t increase compensation, in other areas fees are forecast to rise substantially.

Whistler, British Columbia, was the location with the most expensive homestay program, with fees reaching $1200 per month and rising to accommodate increasing demand.

“Demand from students to study in Whistler, British Columbia, is so high that the school district there is planning to raise its homestay fees from $1,200 to $1,500 per month, an increase of 25%,” ESQ Educational Services president Doug Ronson told The PIE.

Figures were lower elsewhere, such as in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, averaging $600 to $700. Popular cities such as Toronto or Vancouver were on the $800 line.

Asked how the hikes could impact on international students’ choices, Ronson said the sector is aware that cost is a decisive factor.

“Canadian educational programs are acutely aware that cost is an important factor for students and parents in choosing a study destination,” he said.

“They know they must balance the need to pay hosts competitive rates with offering an outstanding educational experience at a reasonable price.”

Commenting on the findings, Jennifer Wilson, managing director of Canada Homestay Network, told The PIE that although some of their programs have seen an increase, it hasn’t been uniform – and in most cases limited to a standard 2-3%.

“While it’s true that our programs have also seen an increase in some areas this year, I wouldn’t attribute that entirely to the rise in student registrations, nor is the increase 13% across all regions,” she said.

“In some cases, there have been no changes; in most others we have adhered to our standard of 2-3%, which is in line with the cost of living increases across Canada last year.”

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