• Saturday, June 22, 2024
businessday logo


Canadians concerned about housing, international student numbers – Survey

Canadians concerned about housing, international student numbers – Survey

A recent online survey in Toronto reveals that Canadians perceive an excess of international students, leading to housing shortages.

The “International Students, Understanding Canada Opinions” survey was carried out by Navigator and sampled 1,500 random Canadian adults.

According to the survey findings, 58 per cent of Canadians believe an excessive number of international students are enrolled in Canadian institutions, marking a nine percentage point increase from a comparable survey conducted in October 2023.

Additionally, the survey indicates that 61 per cent of respondents agree that the admission of numerous international students into Canada is attributed to financial mismanagement by post-secondary institutions.

Read also: Canada hastens to halt international student work permits ahead of schedule

Although a slight majority of respondents (52 per cent) support the implementation of a new cap on international student numbers, 51 per cent of Canadians participating in the survey believe that certain programs, such as healthcare, followed by agriculture and science, should be exempt from this regulation.

Mohamed Bagha, Saint John Newcomers Centre managing director remarked on the survey findings, stating, “This is not surprising. However, we are in times of growth in Atlantic Canada and we are dealing with challenges of growth. These are much better challenges to deal with than to deal with challenges of decline.”

Bagha highlights that the survey fails to acknowledge the numerous benefits international students bring to their communities.

He emphasizes their role in filling gaps in the labour market, contributing to school populations in the region, and generating increased investment opportunities for their communities.

“Our region has been one of the last regions to grow in Canada,” Bagha said.“And today it is growing because of newcomers to Canada, including international students.”

According to the survey findings, respondents perceive a direct correlation between the housing crisis and immigration.

Read also: 22 ways to work legally in Canada without a permit in 2024

66 per cent of participants believe that Canada is unable to manage the recent influx, including the significant number of international students who remain in the country after completing their education.

“We need investment, and we need increased housing supply in the market,” Bagha emphasizes, in response to the notion that newcomers are to blame for the housing problem.

“The last time we saw a population surge anything like we are seeing in Canada today, or rather the surge in housing, was back in the Second World War. I think it’s time we start looking at how can we create more opportunities to increase the housing supply and to create favourable investment opportunities.”

Bagha further adds that smaller communities in Atlantic Canada rely on younger demographics for growth. He highlighted that a significant portion of this youthful demographic in towns and cities across the region comprises international students who choose to settle down in the area after completing their education.