On 16 March, Colleges Ontario released a new set of standards to strengthen the programs and supports for international students.
The document includes the following section on international education agents:
International education agents
Each college signatory commits to:
2.1 Manage its relationships with international education agents and other partners in the marketing and admissions process to support honest business practices that are in the best interests of international students and uphold the reputation of Ontario’s post-secondary sector.
2.2 Require its agents and other recruitment partners to comply with the standards under marketing, promotion and admission outlined in section 1 and to be transparent with prospective students about the rationale for recommending alternate programs.
2.3 Require its international agents to have completed an Ontario college sector-endorsed agent training program.
2.4 Monitor the performance of its education agents and other recruitment partners, including terminating contracts with any education agent who has been involved in any serious, deliberate or ongoing conduct that is false, misleading, deceptive or in breach of the law.
Those requirements broadly reflect the key obligations imposed by law on educational institutions in Australia, New Zealand and Manitoba.
Linda Franklin, the president and CEO of Colleges Ontario, said:
Every qualified student deserves to get an excellent post-secondary education. These new standards will help ensure international students can succeed in their programs.Colleges Ontario
Twenty-three public colleges have signed on to immediately begin the process of implementing the standards:
- La Cité
- George Brown
- St. Clair
- St. Lawrence
The sector has commenced work on a quality assurance process to conduct regular audits of each college’s compliance with the standards and will release further detail in coming months.
The release of the new standards comes at the same time as reports of a significant number of international students in Canada who are now facing deportation as a result of alleged misconduct by education agents. In October 2022 the Canadian investigative journalism program, The Fifth Estate, shone a light on international student recruitment in Canada, including the role of education agents and aggregators.
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