Canada’s public colleges in the province of Ontario have established new standards for programs and supports for international students.
The Standards of Practice document, which was published on March 14, 2023, provides a common set of minimum standards for international student activity. The package aims to reinforce and strengthen policies, programs, and supports for international students studying in Ontario’s 24 public colleges.
According to the latest statistics, Canada has been the fastest-growing study destination for much of the last decade, with 30% year-over-year growth and a record high enrollment of more than 800,000 foreign students in 2022 alone.
In this context of rapid expansion, initiatives like the Standards of Practice package are necessary to ensure the well-being of international learners and to enhance their opportunities for academic and personal success.
The Standards of Practice package provides specific guidance with respect to marketing and recruitment, engagement with and management of education agents, and delivery of programs and services for international students.
23 committed colleges
The package has been signed by 23 of the member colleges, and each signatory college commits to ensuring that marketing to international students is accurate and transparent, requiring that international agents representing their college have completed a sector-endorsed agent training program, managing its relationships with international education agents and other partners in the marketing and admissions process to support honest business practices that are in the best interests of international students, ensuring that information on services, supports, and facilities are readily available to students, both before and after arrival, and providing targeted assistance to help international students adjust to life and study in Canada.
The Standards of Practice document builds on existing practices, the legislative and policy framework, and quality assurance mechanisms that guide all college activities. The introduction to the document outlines that the goal of these standards is to support the well-being of international learners to enhance their opportunities for academic and personal success.
Boosting the quality of education
Linda Franklin, the President and CEO of Colleges Ontario, believes that every qualified student deserves an excellent post-secondary education, and these new standards will help ensure international students can succeed in their programs.
The new standards framework for Colleges Ontario builds on similar initiatives for other key destinations such as The London Statement, New Zealand’s Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners Code of Practice, Australia’s Agent Code of Ethics, Australia’s National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students, and the American Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education’s Standards for New Student Orientation.
The Standards of Practice package is an important step towards enhancing the experience of international students in Ontario’s public colleges.
By providing a common set of minimum standards, students can be assured that they will receive high-quality education and support services. The package also helps to address concerns around the exploitation of international students by education agents and institutions.
It is a welcome initiative that demonstrates Ontario’s commitment to providing high-quality education and support services to international students. The package sets a new benchmark for the treatment of international students in Ontario’s public colleges and will contribute to Canada’s reputation as a leading study destination.