Work and Study in Canada: Opportunities for International Students


For many, finding a path to work and study in Canada is the first step towards making a dream come true. With its lush landscape, the reception of the best universities and a open and well-regulated immigration system, it’s no wonder that students from all over the world are flocking to the country. Statistics also support this claim: In May, an agent survey found Canada to be the “The most attractive study destination”, mainly driven by the government’s strong response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While students are naturally drawn to larger, more well-known cities such as Vancouver and Toronto, the country’s Atlantic provinces are quickly becoming the first choice for those looking to work and study in Canada. Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and New Brunswick are among the provinces that international students are considering.

Canada offers some of the most lenient immigration policies in the world, attracting students from all over / Source: Daniel SLIM / AFP

An important factor influencing this movement is its affordability compared to the most populous Canadian cities. Canadian universities set their own tuition fees depending on a number of factors, including international or original student status and the nature of the program. This means that while attending a world-class university remains a draw, many students end up refusing their best university choices for cost reasons. Major cities in Canada like Toronto and Vancouver are no exception.

In contrast, the Atlantic provinces offer a much lower cost of living and therefore are much more favorable to a student’s wallet. It was found that an undergraduate student in Toronto would spend approximately 144,100 CAD (approximately $ 112,128) more in tuition and rental fees over a four-year period than a St. John’s student.

Ontario remains the most popular destination for working and studying in Canada. It is home to heavily populated cities like Toronto, Ottawa and Hamilton, which in turn are home to some of the best universities in the country, such as Queen’s University and the University of Toronto. Ontario also offers many opportunities for students to stay in Canada to work after graduation.

Small towns in Atlantic Canada are known for their affordability and livability / Source: Cole Burston / AFP

Many small towns in Canada also offer routes to permanent residence. for international graduates through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), which allows provinces to tailor their immigration to local needs. While cities like Toronto and Vancouver have their own PNP programs, Atlantic Canada is actively seeking highly skilled and highly skilled graduates to compensate for their aging populations.

the Atlantic Pilot Program (AIPP), a government-funded pathway program designed to help students find employment after graduation. The program is scheduled to end in December 2021, but will be replaced by a new program that allows international graduates to obtain permanent resident status.

It is clearly a popular movement. In 2021, some 12,695 international graduates obtained permanent residency status in Canada, the highest annual total in Canadian history.

Apart from that, Atlantic Canada is a major draw because of its economic growth. Nova Scotia, for example, is a rapidly developing tech sector home to a number of emerging tech companies. New Brunswick, known for its vast expanse of healthy forests, also attracts a host of companies in key sectors such as agro-tech, energy innovation and digital technology.

Atlantic Canada is known for its lush forests and beautiful landscapes / Source: Timothy A. CLARY / AFP

It does not take into account the quality of life in Atlantic Canada. Students are surrounded by stunning scenery, ocean views, and overall natural beauty. Many universities in these provinces have campuses that stretch for miles, and hidden trails, ski retreats, and mountain views are not uncommon. The smaller scale of cities in Atlantic Canada naturally also accounts for the shorter travel times, allowing students more opportunities to enjoy the vast environment available to them outside of class.

Some well-known universities in Atlantic Canada include Dalhousie University, which ranks among the top 300 institutions in the world and the top 20 in Canada. Sainte-Marie University and the University of New Brunswick are also highly regarded universities in the region.


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