Canada has been trying to deal with the disease since 2018 — and it shows no signs of letting up. On Wednesday, a new crop of more than 9,300 students will start their studies at the University of Toronto.
Story continues below chart of university enrolment from 1968 through March 2019
In this state of their mandatory 25-year sentence, they can teach us a thing or two about reaching our long-term goals. Like so many of the scores of Canadian students abroad who are spending their summer months helping Trudeau’s administration deal with a still-pervasive pandemic, students in the U.S. are well aware of this crisis.
One of the architects of Canadian immigration policy, Eric Verdonckerle, told me that since 2014 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has removed the exception permitting students and scholars from the country to live in the U.S. after graduation. “It’s definitely harder to engage in the U.S. now,” he told me. “Our highest-profile alumni are dropping off the radar and living abroad.”
When Montreal, Quebec’s largest city, experienced an outbreak of West Nile virus in 2014, University of Toronto professor Mathieu Coulombe began offering students in quarantine its French-language courses to boost their chances of studying for a master’s degree. The lesson since then has been simple: students, like the rest of us, are politically and socially aware. Last spring, Canadian officials fretted that a new Ebola outbreak was about to erupt in Mexico. Ten months later, the fight has been a relative win.
This week, Swiss Re, the risk-management company, said that Canada’s economy stands to gain $31 billion by the year 2036 if foreign students were permitted to stay and work long after they graduate. The company found that a total of 42 percent of Canadian university students come from the United States, which lost an estimated 500,000 students to return home in 2017. They also concluded that if the proportion of domestic applicants for science and technical jobs exceeded 50 percent, it could create a 5 percent economic loss.
Canada has also found a way to regain control of its international student population. It’s now cut off the pipeline, curtailing the number of students whose student loans it will pick up after they return home. The amount of money it allows returning students to borrow from the government, known as post-grads, is capped at $40,000.