National Dialogue on International Students

Ottawa, Ontario

May 22 to 23, 2024

About This Event

This national event will focus on charting a path forward for the Canadian international education sector and its support to international students. Discussions will focus on what we have done right, where and when things started to go wrong, and how, as a country, we can chart a sustainable path forward.

To that end, we will convene a range of both traditional and non-traditional actors in this sphere to delve into the complex issues faced by some international students and to explore how best to support them in areas such as labour market and community integration, housing and mental health.

Following the event, a summary report of the key recommendations that emerge from the discussions will be produced and shared with relevant federal and provincial governments and other key stakeholders.

This event is by invitation only.

READ DISCUSSION PAPER

Thank You to Our Sponsors

World Eduction Services
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Program

This program is subject to change.

7:30 - 8:30 Registration and Coffee
8:30 - 8:40 Welcome & Opening Remarks
Claudette Commanda, Algonquin Anishinabe Elder, Chancellor of the University of Ottawa
8:40 - 9:15 Results from CBIE’s International Student Survey
CBIE will present the findings from its 2023 International Student Survey which offers a comprehensive overview of where Canada is succeeding and where it is failing in its support for international students.
9:15 - 10:45 Fireside Chat – Policy Perspectives on Ensuring a Welcoming and Supportive Environment for Canada's International Students
Governments welcome incoming international students to achieve a variety of public policy objectives, to: enhance the quality and sustainability of institutions; strengthen competitiveness by attracting and retaining the best global talent to meet current and future labour market needs; foster people-to-people connections that advance global understanding and solidarity; meet United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; advance foreign policy and trade interests; and, to counter population decline, among others.
In the context of Canada’s current and future international education strategies, and in light of the recent cap on international students, this session will be a strategic discussion about the policy path forward related to the inbound mobility of international students. A specific focus will be on clarifying expectations in regard to ensuring a welcoming and supportive environment for international students.
10:45 - 11:00 Health Break
11:00 - 12:15 The View From the Frontlines: Responsible International Education Leadership – Panel Discussion
This session will offer perspectives from institutional leaders about responsible, ethical and sustainable approaches to international student recruitment and supports to the success and wellbeing of international students. Contributors will also discuss how they are trying to balance these objectives with the significant challenges they face in fiscal constraints and funding issues, and the infrastructure, support mechanisms, labour market and immigration realities of their communities. They will also be asked to explain what steps they are taking to respond to the challenge of ensuring a welcoming and supportive environment for international students.
12:15 - 12:45 Lunch
12:45 - 13:15 Keynote Address – Strengthening the Integrity of Canada’s International Student Program
The Honourable Ratna Omidvar, Independent Senator, Senate of Canada
1:15 - 14:30 Community Perspectives on Ensuring Welcoming and Supportive Integration for Canada's International Students – Panel Discussion
This session will explore issues around international students’ experiences in their local communities, in particular as it relates to successful strategies for fostering connections between international students’ lives on campus and their surrounding communities. Contributors will be invited to explore approaches that work for a range of locations including large urban centres and small remote communities. They will also be asked to outline what actions they feel are required to respond to the challenge of ensuring a welcoming and supportive environment for international students.
14:30 - 14:45 Health Break
14:45 - 16:00 Business Perspectives on Ensuring Welcoming and Supportive Labour Market Integration for Canada's International Students – Panel Discussion
Many international students rely on local work opportunities to support their studies and living costs in Canada. Increasingly, students are facing challenges with accessing employment in their communities – either there are not enough jobs for all students, or they are experiencing barriers to hiring, retention, and fair employment practices. This session will explore what more needs to be done to foster employment opportunities in ethical work environments for international students during their studies. Contributors will also be asked to discuss what actions they see as necessary to respond to the challenge of ensuring a welcoming and supportive environment for international students.
16:00 - 16:05 Health Break
16:05 - 16:55 Student Perspectives on Study, Life and Work in Canada
This session will be an opportunity to hear directly from international students on what is working and what is not working in the support they and their peers are receiving in their study journeys in Canada. Contributors will be invited to share their perspectives on how best to respond to the challenge of ensuring a welcoming and supportive environment for international students now and into the future.
16:55 - 17:00 Closing Remarks
17:00 - 19:00 Networking Reception
8:30 - 9:00 Registration and Coffee
9:00 - 9:05 Welcome & Opening Remarks
9:05 - 10:20 Supporting the Mental Health and Well-being of International Students - Panel Discussion
This session will examine the influx of mental health concerns being faced by a growing number of international students and what is needed to provide further services and facilitate and encourage access to and take up of existing services in an interculturally aware and sensitive manner.
10:20 - 10:45 Health Break
10:45 - 12:00 Meeting the Accommodation Needs of International Students - Panel Discussion
This panel will delve into the intersection of international student issues with Canada’s housing crisis and the range of experiences that international students are having in communities across the country in finding and affording adequate housing. Strategies for short and long-term solutions to ensure the Canada’s interests in both maintaining the flow of international students and in addressing the housing crisis will be discussed.
12:00 - 13:00 Lunch
13:00 - 14:30 Where Do We Go From Here? Recommendations for the Path Forward – Table Discussions
Dialogue participants will engage in table discussions to share their key takeaways from the national dialogue. Each table will present up to 5 key recommendations back to plenary on how to address the challenge areas that have been explored.
14:30 – 14:45 Health Break
14:45 - 16:00 Where Do We Go From Here? Implementing a New Path Forward on Canada's International Students – Panel Discussion
This summary discussion will weave together topics of the event and explore roles & responsibilities, and a path forward. Contributors will discuss the necessary structural, policy and programming changes, the development of new strategic partnerships and coalitions, mechanisms for sharing and scaling up best practices, along with additional research, data and knowledge mobilization required to support the sector’s continued efforts to support the success of international students and uphold the integrity of the EduCanada brand.
16:00 - 16:05 Closing Remarks

Travel

Air Canada Logo
Travel with Air Canada and receive a 5% discount on standard fares and 10% on flex fares and higher. For international travel, receive a 10% discount on standard fares and higher.
Promotion Code: QVVR3A81
Travel Dates: These rates apply to bookings made to travel to Ottawa between May 15 – May 30, 2024

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Travel with WestJet and receive a 5% discount on Econo fares and 10% off EconoFlex and Premium fares for travel within Canada. Receive 2% off Econo, 5% off EconoFlex and 10% off Premium base fares for guests travelling internationally.
Promotion Code: 8J3S7ET
Travel Agent GDS Only: YBK63
Travel Dates: These rates apply to bookings made to travel to Ottawa between May 15 – May 30, 2024.
Exceptions: No discount will apply to Basic or Business Class bookings.

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Please note: All attendees are responsible for arranging their own accommodations.