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5. Conclusions

This report provides an estimate of economic impacts in Canada in 2017 and 2018 and serves as an update to the previous valuations prepared for Global Affairs Canada for the years 2008, 2010 and 2014. The report is mainly based on IRCC data on international students studying in Canada for longer than six months and Languages Canada data for short-term students. Several other secondary sources have been used to collect information to estimate the quantitative impact of international students on Canada's economy.

In addition to capturing the economic impacts of spending on tuition, fees and basic living expenses, we also capture additional tourism-related activities associated with visiting family and friends.

  • Our analysis clearly indicates that the contributions that international students make to Canada's economy are continuing to grow. In line with an increasing number of international students, overall spending increased by 77.0% from 2015 and 2018 from $12.6 billion to $22.3 billion.
  • We estimate that in 2017 and 2018, international students in Canada spent over $18.4 billion and $22.3 billion, respectively, on tuition, accommodations, and discretionary spending.
  • This significantly higher level of annual spending resulted in $16.2 billion and $19.7 billion contributions to Canada's GDP in 2017 and 2018.
  • The amount of overall annual spending by international students also generated $3.1 billion to $3.7 billion in tax revenues and supported 180,041 to 218,577 jobs in the Canadian economy in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
  • In 2018, Canada's international education services ($22.3 billion) amounted to 18.6% of Canada's total service exports to the world.
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