Minister, attorneys say they worry worldwide college students will probably be blamed for the housing disaster


Advocates name on the federal authorities to finance the development of recent dormitories, pupil residences

Posted: September 09, 2023

An indication welcomes worldwide college students to the Conestoga School campus in Kitchener, Ont. (Trishla Parekh/CBC)

Immigration Minister Marc Miller and pupil advocates throughout the nation say they fear immigrants and worldwide college students are accountable for the housing disaster.

“It's one in all my fears,” Miller mentioned in a current interview with CBC Information. “I fear concerning the stigmatization of particularly folks of range who come to this nation to enhance it, and that features worldwide college students.”

Miller instructed CBC Radio

House last week
that Canada is on observe to welcome round 900,000 worldwide college students this 12 months. In 2011, this determine was solely 240,000.

Housing Minister Sean Fraser floated the thought final month of capping the variety of worldwide college students Canada brings in.

Miller instructed CBC Information Canadians' issues concerning the variety of worldwide college students transcend housing to questions on public confidence within the “integrity” of the immigration system itself.

Immigration Minister Marc Miller mentioned he feared the talk over the housing disaster may stigmatize worldwide college students. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Scholar and immigrant advocates say they worry speak of an admissions cap may result in unfair focusing on of susceptible communities.

“Even when that wasn't the intention, we on the School Scholar Alliance realized straight away that this was how folks would translate it and it will give folks the chance to stigmatize this already at-risk inhabitants,” mentioned Azi Afousi, president of the School Scholar Alliance. School.

Afousi, whose group represents 50,000 college students in Ontario, insists worldwide college students are usually not inflicting the housing disaster.

“It didn't begin with them. It's ongoing. It's about planning. It's not only one concern,” she mentioned.

She mentioned post-secondary establishments in Canada received't be capable of supply the applications they do for Canadian college students if they’ll't gather the excessive charges worldwide college students pay to check right here.

Miller mentioned worldwide college students pump $20 billion to $30 billion into universities and schools every year by tuition and different charges, and their contributions are “enormous to the economic system.”

ALBANIA: The minister is contemplating a restrict for worldwide college students

Wasiimah Joomun, government director of the Canadian Alliance of Scholar Associations, mentioned there may be “no actual knowledge to point out that worldwide college students are inflicting this downside.”

“If we're capable of get knowledge that claims, 'This quantity of worldwide college students are getting this quantity of housing, that's why we have to cut back the quantity,' we'll be completely satisfied to go searching and see,” she mentioned. . “However I don't assume there may be a lot factual knowledge.”

Syed Hussan, government director of the Migrant Employees Alliance for Change, mentioned there may be “completely no hyperlink between migration and housing”.

“We all know this,” mentioned Hussan, whose group represents roughly 30,000 present and former migrant college students, “as a result of in 2020 Canada closed its borders. So there was no revenue within the nation and but housing costs had been grew up.

“If you create a easy argument of provide and demand… to say, 'Extra individuals are coming, there's not sufficient housing, and that's the issue,' it ignores the position of buyers, the beneficiaries, the truth that there aren’t any restrictions on how a lot you elevate rents in most components of the nation.”

Blaming newcomers is nothing new: Hussan

MSA is a part of the Immigrant Rights Community, which advocates for momentary international staff employed on farms, in fisheries, and as caregivers and well being care staff.

Hussan mentioned blaming immigrants and immigrants for low wages or lack of well being care or housing is nothing new.

“When wages are low, folks blame international staff… It's the identical story and worldwide college students are successfully migrant staff,” he mentioned.

Hussan mentioned most worldwide college students take low-wage jobs within the service, development or well being care sectors to assist pay for his or her training.

Gauri Sreenivasan, co-executive director of the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR), mentioned worldwide college students already face racism when looking for housing.

“CCR is deeply involved that the present blame recreation will expose these populations to extra hurt and let these with energy on this scenario, together with business and monetary actors, stroll away,” she mentioned.

Construct extra dormitories, pupil housing: attorneys

Damanpreet Singh, worldwide pupil commissioner for the Canadian Federation of College students, mentioned regardless of Fraser's “very embarrassing” assertion, he doesn't assume worldwide college students will probably be scared away.

“Canada is versatile and welcoming,” he mentioned, including that governments ought to fund the development of extra purpose-built housing for college students and supply lease vouchers whereas college students can afford rising rents.

Joomun mentioned she has spoken to a lot of universities that report they’ve area for extra pupil residences however don't have the cash to construct them.

Scholar advocates say offering universities and schools with funding to construct housing will permit universities to draw Canadian and worldwide college students to campus settings the place housing is cheaper and simpler to construct.

“If you construct pupil housing…they don't need to have the identical facilities that a luxurious house has,” Afousi mentioned.

Miller instructed CBC Information worldwide college students and immigrants aren’t any extra accountable for the housing disaster than rising rates of interest — however the quickly rising variety of worldwide college students is an issue.

He mentioned the truth that worldwide college students pay tuition charges three to 4 instances greater than home college students creates “perverse incentives” to draw them to Canada.

A part of that subject might be addressed, he mentioned, by having a dialogue “with the provinces concerning the systemic underfunding of upper training” that has prompted establishments to depend on greater charges from worldwide college students.


Peter Zimonjic

senior author

Peter Zimonjic is a senior author for CBC Information. He has labored as a reporter and columnist in London, England, for the Every day Mail, Sunday Instances and Every day Telegraph and in Canada for Solar Media and the Ottawa Citizen. He’s the creator of Into The Darkness: An Account of seven/7, revealed by Random Home.

With information from CBC's Olivia Stefanovich

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