Quebec International Students At Universities In Outlying Regions To See Tuition Fees Slashed

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Canada immigration news: International students are to get a huge break on tuition fees provided they study in one of six fields at Quebec French-language colleges and universities outside of Greater Montreal.

That’s a difference of roughly $21,000 per year in tuition per student, with the average tuition paid by Quebec international students with a study permit plummeting from $24,000 to $3,000 per school year.

The program will cover that portion of the student’s tuition costs until graduation.

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Under an initiative to attract international students to Quebec’s outlying regions, provincial Immigration Minister Jean Boulet announced Thursday international students who qualify for this program will also be allowed to work up to 20 hours per week.

International Students In Quebec’s Outlying Regions Get Tuition Break

The break being given to international students in Quebec is a strategy being deployed by the francophone province to increase the number of immigrants in its outlying regions.

“I am very happy to announce this new strategy which will have a great impact on the academic pursuits of immigrants and in their settlement in Quebec,” said Boulet in a statement in French.

“This is a win for the French-language education and, as a result, ensures the long-term integration of these immigrants into our society and its values,” said the minister responsible for the Ministre de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI). 

“Our government is committed to working towards a truly regional model of immigration and in encouraging the vitality of our educational institutions, our economy, and Quebecois society. This is a win-win situation.”

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To qualify for the break in tuition, foreign nationals need to be full-time students at either a college or university outside of Greater Montreal in Quebec in a qualifying, French-language program in:

  • information technology;
  • engineering;
  • healthcare;
  • social services;
  • education, or;
  • early childhood education. 

The program will start with the autumn semester this year and will cover that portion of the student’s tuition costs until graduation.

“This new strategy will provide a further incentive for international students to attend our educational institutions in the outlying regions,” said Advanced Education Minister Danielle McCann. 

“This is important for the ongoing vitality of our universities and colleges. It is also good news for Quebecois society. These people will come to get an education and will be able to count on quality learning in stimulating environments.”

Quebec is increasingly bullish on immigration to its outlying regions which typically retain far fewer new permanent residents.

Health And Safety Of Quebec Temporary Foreign Workers Also Getting Boost

In another bid to boost immigration to the regions, Quebec announced earlier this week that it would deploy health and safety inspectors to ensure the well-being of temporary foreign workers throughout the region in six sectors of the economy.

“Temporary foreign workers no longer work only in agriculture. With the relaxation of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the government of Quebec needed to improve the health and safety resources available to temporary foreign workers and their employers,” said Boulet.

“Deploying this squad (of health and safety inspectors) will raise awareness in workplaces about the rights and obligations of workers and their employers.”

Under that provincial initiative, Quebec’s health and safety commission, the Commission des Normes, de l’Équité, de la Santé et de la Sécurité du Travail (CNESST), is also going to offer consulting services to the employers of temporary foreign workers to help them meet their obligations.

 “Temporary foreign workers are important to help meet the challenges posed by the labour shortages and so it is vital that all efforts be made to ensure they are being well treated,” said Boulet.

Quebec has had a squad of workplace health and safety inspectors for temporary foreign workers in the agricultural sector for the last three years, since 2019, because they then comprised the lion’s share of temporary foreign workers in the province.

That program, though, was seasonal.

Quebec Deploying Squad To Six Sectors To Protect Temporary Foreign Workers

Under the expanded version of the program, the new squad of health and safety inspectors, which will be fully operational by next spring, will offer services throughout the year to several additional sectors in addition to agriculture, including:

  • retail;
  • manufacturing;
  • hospitality;
  • food processing, and;
  • healthcare.

Quebec sees temporary foreign workers being at least a partial fix for its massive labour shortages.

Many of these foreign nationals, though, are largely unaware of their rights and responsibilities under Quebec’s labour laws and the businesses and non-profits that employ them have to be held accountable for providing the right working conditions and for meeting the province’s employment standards.

The inspectors will also offer personalized consulting to employers to help them understand their responsibilities towards temporary foreign workers.

“Temporary foreign workers are vital to the biofood sector. They contribute to the economic growth of Quebec businesses,” said provincial Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Minister André Lamontagne.

“I invite all of our producers, our processing plants and fishers to use all of the tools made available to them by this squad and add their efforts in workplace safety to those of our government so that our temporary foreign workers can do their jobs with dignity.” 

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