Colleges and institutes support immigrant integration for Canadian prosperity

Ottawa, October 19, 2021 – A new report by Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) outlines how members help Canada achieve its ambitious immigration targets, while supporting the integration of immigrants and international students, and improving their labour market outcomes.

Against the background of an economy looking to rebound post-COVID-19, Canada announced ambitious new immigration targets, aiming to bring in over 400,000 new permanent residents each year from 2021-2023.

Tapping into the global talent pipeline is an important step to support ongoing economic prosperity as the population ages and birthrate remains low. But for Canada to truly benefit from this new human capital, immigrants need to be supported, their foreign credentials must be recognized as much as possible, and they must have access to training opportunities that will help them succeed professionally in their new country. Canada’s colleges and institutes help on all these fronts.

“Canada needs immigrants, but they continue to face barriers that generate frustration and prevent employers from fully benefiting from the valuable human capital that they bring. This includes a growing immigrant wage gap and difficulties getting foreign credentials recognized”, notes CICan’s President and CEO, Denise Amyot. “Colleges and institutes across Canada play a critical role in supporting skilled immigrants and helping their integration through a variety of services and learning opportunities. Not to mention the growing number of international students joining us from around the world, many of whom hope to put their skills to work here in Canada. Collectively, Canada’s public colleges and institutes are therefore ideally positioned to support a truly national approach to integration and settlement services.”

Colleges and institutes represent the fastest-growing level of study for international students in Canada, accounting for just under half of all study permit holders at the post-secondary level. This is a significant source of skilled newcomers for communities across Canada, as many seek permanent residence after graduating with in-demand skills that match the needs of the local labour market.

CICan members are also critical providers of immigrant support services, including English and French language training, employment related services, and connections to employers via work-integrated learning opportunities in programs targeted to the local labour market. What’s more, they regularly offer specialized academic upgrading programs for international and newcomer students, built on decades of experience. More recently, skilled newcomers are benefitting from expanding upskilling and reskilling options, including short and tailored microcredentials, available at colleges and institutes across Canada.

To fully take advantage of these promising human resources, CICan has issued three recommendations focused on the development of a national employment pipeline for skilled newcomers, more employer-recognized national microcredentials and new permanent residency streams for international students graduating from colleges and institutes.

Read the executive summary

See the full report for more information.

About Colleges and Institutes Canada:

Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) is the voice of Canada’s publicly-supported colleges, institutes, cegeps and polytechnics, and an international leader in education for employment with ongoing programs in over 25 countries. CICan’s members add over $190B to Canada’s economy each year and contribute to inclusive economic growth by working with industry and community partners to offer more than 10,000 programs to learners in urban, rural, remote, and northern communities.


For more information:

Julien Abord-Babin
Senior Strategic Communications Officer
Colleges and Institutes Canada
Phone: 613-746-2222 ext. 3131
Twitter: @CollegeCan