MONTREAL — Quebec university administrators and professors are praising the provincial government’s rejection of an idea by the federal housing minister that Canada could cap the number of student visas it issues.
They say that limiting the number of international students will do little to address housing shortages and would instead hurt university research and deprive Quebec of skilled immigrants.
On Monday federal Housing Minister Sean Fraser suggested that capping the explosive growth in the number of international students recruited to Canada in recent years was an option to reduce demand for housing.
Quebec Premier François Legault and other ministers swiftly rejected that idea, reminding Ottawa that education is a provincial jurisdiction.
Daniel Jutras, the rector of Université de Montréal, says he is opposed to a cap because of the benefits international students bring to research programs.
Víctor Muñiz-Fraticelli, a law and political science professor at McGill University, says he doesn’t think there’s a link between the housing shortage in Canada’s largest cities and rising numbers of international students, who compose a small fraction of residents.
According to a Quebec Education Department report, there were around 48,400 international students at the province’s universities during the 2019-2020 school year — 14 per cent of the total student body.
More than 540,00 new international study permits were issued by the federal government in 2022, up 24 per cent from 2021.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 24, 2023.
The Canadian Press