VIDEO: More changes needed to keep international students in Canada from living in ‘third-world conditions’: Brampton Mayor Brown


Published December 13, 2023 at 3:12 pm

Over 60% of Indian international students live in unsuitable housing in Brampton, StatCan says

Big changes coming to financial requirements for international students in Canada are a good start, but Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown is calling on Ottawa to do more to keep learners from living in what he called dangerous “third-world conditions.”

The federal government announced last week that the cost-of-living requirement for Canadian study permit applicants will be more than doubled from $10,000 to $20,635 starting on Jan. 1.

The update came after hundreds of international students were facing deportation in June following an admissions scandal that saw some students receive fake offers of acceptance without their knowledge from a now-shuttered consulting company in India.

And while Brown said upping the fund requirements will go a long way to ensuring students will be better financially prepared for their studies in Canada, the Brampton mayor said he wants Ottawa to track “associated address” for where applicants will live to prevent overcrowding and unsafe conditions.

“It’s treating international students as an ATM, it’s taking advantage of their hopes and dreams,” Brown said in an interview with publisher Khaled Iwamura.

“In some cases you have families that their life savings go to sending one child to school in Canada, and to have them sleeping outdoors in a park or to have them sleeping with 12 people in a basement apartment that doesn’t meet fire code is wrong,” he said.

The financial requirement threshold hadn’t been updated in over a decade, but the feds say it will now be adjusted annually when Statistics Canada updates the low-income cut-off (LICO).

Immigration Minister Marc Miller likened some colleges to “puppy mills,” in that they provide international students with an inadequate education while giving them a chance to get a visa to work in Canada and to eventually immigrate.

Brown commended Miller for “thinking outside the box” to find solutions to what he called an international student crisis that’s being felt in Brampton and other Ontario big cities.

“We need to have more accountability that the person coming to Canada is not going to be living in third-world conditions and that we have appropriate housing for students,” Brown said.

A Brampton food bank made headlines after turning away international students who were cutting into their supply for those in need like seniors, refugees and people with disabilities. The food bank policy pointed to the federal cost-of-living requirements as justification, which requires students prove they have enough money to support themselves for the duration of their studies.

Along with the updates to financial requirements, the ministry is also updating some temporary policies that were set to expire at the end of the year, including a policy that lengthened the time graduating international students could work in Canada without an employment visa.

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