Canada’s recent election cycle was one of the longest in the country’s history, and the Liberal victory has given those in the international education sector a sense of optimism. Among the campaign promises of the newly elected Liberal government was a move towards easing restrictions on immigration for Canada’s significant international student population, as well as other changes and reforms aimed at students and foreign nationals. Canada’s new Prime Minister has promised to make it easier for international students to immigrate after their studies by allowing them to credit their time as students towards residency requirements. Under the current system, those wishing to immigrate to Canada need to have been legal residents for four of the last six years, but years spent as a student don’t count. The new government also hopes to increase cooperation with the civil service sector, in part to expedite student and visitor visa processing time.
Trudeau has only been in office for a few days, so it remains to be seen how he and his party will implement their campaign promises. However, the new Prime Minister has already taken steps to highlight Canada’s profile as a world leader in student action and global education. On Tuesday, Trudeau and his wife Sophie made their first official appearance at the WE Day events in Ottawa.
WE Day, a global student event that showcases young people who work to improve their communities and make change in the world, was celebrated globally with speeches, performances, and volunteer activities. The action and commitments marked by WE Day will continue through the ongoing WE Schools program, designed to encourage service learning in schools around the world.
Trudeau spoke in front of at least 16,000 Ontarian students and teachers, who came together to kick-start the program. The Prime Minister’s speech demonstrated his and his party’s vision for Canada’s future in the global community. He encouraged the WE Day students to “become engaged, successful citizens,” and “agents of positive change” in their communities and the world. WE Day and the WE Schools program aim to inspire young people to find ways to make a difference in their communities and to create a new generation of international leaders.