While international education services are Canada’s fourth largest export, Manitoba’s international students comprise just 2.7% of Canada’s total.
“Few Canadians realise the economic importance of international education in Canada”
However, while Manitoba is a small player in comparison to Ontario and British Columbia, the MCIE report revealed that the number of international students grew from 4,873 in 2008 to 14,298 in 2016, a 300% increase.
Additionally, Manitoba’s 14,298 international students spent nearly $375m in tuition, living expenses and tourism due to visiting family and friends, while the sector contributed over $69m in tax revenue to the Manitoba government.
Overall, international education contributed $306,300,000 to Manitoba’s GDP in 2016, according to the report, a more than six-fold increase from the 2010 figure.
“Few Canadians realise the economic importance of international education in Canada,” the report reads.
“By increasing the current international student numbers from 2.7% of the total in Canada to our proportionate share of 3.3% [its] economic impact increases to $458m, and tax revenues increase to $84m.”
The report also outlined some recommendations for the Manitoba government and business community to help recognise international education as a significant part of the province’s economy and future development.
“This report establishes the importance of this sector to the Manitoba economy and reinforces international education’s potential,” Carmelle Mulaire, MCIE president told The PIE News.
“It’s a good news story that brings solid evidence and generates discussion with new stakeholders from the public and private sectors.”
However, a recent blow to the international education sector in Manitoba could impact future international student numbers.
Earlier in 2018, Manitoba eliminated health care eligibility for international students – a move many feared would draw students to other provinces, where healthcare is provided.
In response, HEIs in Manitoba geared up to support their international students by offering alternative healthcare plans developed with health insurance providers, and in some cases waiving costs for the first year in a bid to help students adjust to the new regime.
In addition, Manitoba has recently unveiled two new fast-track immigration pathways for international graduates of post-secondary institutions in the province.
The International Student Entrepreneur Pathway and Graduate Internship Pathway are part of the province’s International Education Stream, which was created a year ago as part of the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program renewal, which allowed the province to nominate a set number of immigration candidates for permanent residency each year.
The International Student Entrepreneur Pathway is for international graduates who have completed a minimum two-year program at a Manitoba post-secondary institution and who want to establish and operate a business in Manitoba.
Candidates are expected to invest in and actively manage the business.