Ministry of Advanced Education

International Education

International Education Strategy

IES CoverInternational education is the two-way flow of students, educators and ideas between countries, and its expansion helps to create new relationships between British Columbia and other regions.

Under Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan, the International Education Strategy was developed to position the province and its residents to benefit even more from the social, cultural and economic opportunities that flow from international education activities. Specifically, the Province plans to increase opportunities for British Columbia students to study abroad and students from around the world to study and work in B.C.

Through this Strategy, the Province aims to achieve three goals:

GOAL 1: Create a globally oriented education system in British Columbia.
GOAL 2: Ensure that all students receive quality learning and life experiences.
GOAL 3: Maximize the benefits of international education - social, cultural and economic - for all British Columbia communities, families and businesses.

The International Education Strategy was built from the input of students, educators, institutions, communities and other partners who understand that British Columbians benefit from embracing new ways of learning and inviting other cultures and ideas into British Columbia’s regions, communities, and classrooms.

Progress to date:

  • Contributed $11 million in scholarship funding to Mitacs and the Irving K. Barber B.C. Scholarship Society to give more B.C. students the chance to study abroad and bring more international students to the province.
  • Strengthened B.C.’s Education Quality Assurance designation to ensure post-secondary institutions meet the highest quality standard.
  • Advanced B.C.’s reputation as a high quality education destination in key markets by working with B.C.’s Education Marketing Managers in China, India, Korea, Japan and the UK.
  • Attracted and retained highly-skilled international post-graduates with a new permanent category under the Provincial Nominee Program.
  • Continued development of the international education sector through the implementation of B.C.’s International Education Strategy.

To learn more, download the complete strategy International Education Strategy.


International education brings benefits to B.C.

Premier ClarkB.C. as an international education destination:

British Columbia has become one of the world's most popular destinations for international students and under B.C.’s International Education Strategy; the sector continues to realize significant growth.

In 2013-14, there were 114,600 international students from over 80 countries around the world attending public and private post-secondary institutions, elementary and secondary schools, and private language training schools in British Columbia, up 22 per cent since 2009-10. The Province now hosts almost one-third of all international students living in Canada.

International students in B.C. (2013-14)

By sector:

  • Public post-secondary – 39,600
  • Private post-secondary – 17,400
  • Private language schools – 43,500
  • Elementary and secondary schools – 14,100

By top five countries of origin:

    1. China -28,700
    2. South Korea  - 13,600
    3. Japan - 13,500
    4. Brazil - 8,900
    5. Saudi Arabia - 6,200

International education as an economic driver:

International education continues to create jobs and grow the economy in communities throughout the province.

By the numbers (2012-13):

  • $2.3 billion – spent by international students’ province wide.
  • $1.63 billion - contributed to B.C.'s economy.
  • 25,500 - jobs generated as a result of international education. 
  • $80 million - revenue to government from international education.
  • 4.1 million - internationally mobile students worldwide.
  • 7.2 million - international students expected globally by 2025.

Why this matters:

B.C.’s international education sector provides valuable social and cultural opportunities for educational institutions, students and communities throughout the province. It also generates significant economic growth and local job opportunities while fostering research and innovation.

By focusing on the achievement of the goals outlined in B.C.’s International Education Strategy, the province will continue to maximize all of the benefits of the international education sector for B.C., inside and outside the classroom.