Facts and Figures
Our new video highlights our research on international students in Canada
- Canada ranks as the world’s 4th most popular destination for international students (Source: Project Atlas)
- There were 494,525 international students in Canada in 2017, representing a 119% increase since 2010, and an increase of 20% over the previous year (Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada).
- International students made up 11% of the postsecondary student population in Canada in the 2015-2016 academic year (Source: Statistics Canada).
- Students from China make up 28% of Canada’s international student population, followed by students from India (25%), South Korea (5%), France (4%) and United States (3%) (Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada)
- Countries with the fastest growing number of international students in Canada (2016- 2017): Vietnam (+89%), India (+63%), Iran (+45%), Bangladesh (+41%), Brazil (+28%), and Mexico (+16%) (Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada)
- Three-quarters all international students in Canada are studying at the postsecondary level.
- Students studying at the primary, secondary or cégep (QC) level make up about 14% of the international student population in Canada.
- Of the 494,525 international students in Canada, 48% are in Ontario, 24% are in British Columbia and 12% are in Quebec.
- According to CBIE’s International Student Survey (2015), Engineering, business and the natural and social sciences are the top fields of study of international students in Canada.
- The top alternate study destinations considered by international students in Canada are the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
- According to CBIE’s International Student Survey (2015) 15% of post-secondary international students have previous experience pursuing studies in Canada. Of those, 8% begin their Canadian education experience at the secondary or primary level.
- Canada’s coordination in pathways programs for international students is not well developed compared with other global destination hubs. For example, in Australia, 80% of international students arrive at post-secondary education through well-defined pathways programs, compared with 30% of international students in Canada (Illuminate Consulting Group, 2015.
- 97% of Canadian universities offer education abroad programs and 82% of Canadian colleges and institutes offer education abroad.
- Despite the documented personal and national benefits of education abroad, only 3.1% of full-time Canadian undergraduate university students and 1.1% of full-time college students have a credit or not-for-credit education abroad experience annually.
- Approximately 30% of German students, 10% of US students, 13% of Australians go abroad at some point during their degree.
- The top barrier to participation for Canadian students remains financial.
- In 2014, CBIE made a call for Canada to provide 50,000 education abroad awards by 2022 in order to overcome Canada’s critical international skills deficit.
CBIE, A World of Learning: Canada’s Performance and Potential in International Education 2015, unless otherwise noted:
 OECD, Education at a glance 2014
 ICEF Monitor, Summing up international student mobility in 2014
,  Roslyn Kunin and Associates Inc., Economic impact of international education in Canada – Final report: An update, 2012
 Illuminate Consulting Group, International Students Pathways in Canada, 2015
,  Universities Canada, Canada’s Universities in the World: AUCC Internationalization Survey, 2014
,  CICan, Internationalizing Canadian Colleges and Institutes: The First National Report on International Education and Mobility, 2010
 Advisory Panel on Canada’s International Education Strategy, International Education: A Key Driver of Canada’s Future Prosperity, 2012
 Generation Study Abroad website, Today’s Numbers, 2015
 Universities Australia website, Outbound Mobility, June 26, 2013.