Ontario’s colleges have today released a new set of common sector-wide standards to strengthen the programs and supports for international students.
“These new standards reinforce Ontario’s reputation as an attractive destination for international students,” said Glenn Vollebregt, SLC President and CEO. “We gladly sign on as participants in meeting the standard as it directly fits our commitment to put students first while helping them achieve their academic goals.”
The standards build on existing programs and services and cover everything from the marketing of programs in other countries to targeted assistance to help students adapt to life in Ontario.
As well, the standards incorporate best practices from other jurisdictions and align with similar standards in the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Twenty-three public colleges have signed on to begin the compliance process immediately.
Each signatory college’s commitments include:
- Ensuring the marketing of programs to international students is accurate and transparent.
- Requiring international agents working for Ontario’s colleges to have completed a sector-endorsed agent training program.
- Ensuring information on services, supports and facilities are provided to students before they arrive in Ontario and once they are in the province. This would include information on mental well-being, student housing and employment opportunities.
- Providing targeted assistance to help international students adjust to a new environment.
The sector has initiated work on a quality assurance process to conduct regular audits of each signatory college’s fulfillment of the standards. Further details on that process will be announced in the coming months.
“Ontario needs more college graduates to help address the rapidly growing labour shortage in key sectors,” Vollebregt said. “We’re determined to see more students acquire the professional qualifications and expertise to pursue rewarding careers in our community, and at the same time help meet the needs of industries in our region.”