Employment Equity Partnership

Partners’ Roundtable: Day 3

Day 3: Post-secondary education and
international talent migration

Canadian society is undergoing a fundamental demographic transformation. Despite decades of talking about equity, diversity, and inclusion in society and the academy, this demographic transformation is not reflected in academia and the absence is especially notable in the composition of faculty and leadership, which remain overwhelming White and primarily male. With most international students originating from Asia and Africa, creating a pool of talent for future permanent residents, academicians address the issue of whether the current leadership in academia is ready to understand and cater to the needs of a diverse student population and emerging needs within the Canadian workforce.

Day 3 Schedule

What is the data saying?

  • Global pandemic has highlighted a number of inequities like systemic racism and the urban versus rural divide when it comes to access to learning have become amplified1
  • Also includes, domestic violence and disparities in technology that have become more apparent as we all spend more time working from home2
  • International students in Canada alone contribute to $21.6 billion in tuition, accommodation and other expenses, and also contribute in non-monetary terms by connecting Canada to the world economy through cultural exchange3
  • Reduced numbers of international students to Canada mean not only reduced income for universities and reduced internationalization of both universities and surrounding communities, but also a reduction of an important pool of permanent residents. International students “are vitally important to regional population growth,” with 65% expressing “a ‘real desire’ to be permanent residents of Canada following graduation,” according to Peter Halpin, executive director of the Association of Atlantic Universities4
  • Immigrants’ contributions to the cultural diversity and internationalization of communities are often lost in discourses dominated by economics4
  • Studies now show that COVID-19 has exacerbated the existing inequalities, resulting in adverse effects on women’s research. This impact could have devastating, long-lasting effects for female graduate students, postdocs and young faculty members who are in the early stages of their careers, and who could continue to feel the negative effects of pandemic in the years to come5
  • Some of these impacts relate to inadequate access to childcare, inequitable division of domestic labour, and ongoing inequalities in care work and service roles, which, in addition to being exacerbated by COVID-19, are reproducing systemic inequities5
  • Gaps in education: Privileged families are isolating children from COVID-19 in ‘learning pods,’ while racialized and lower-income families are hesitant to return to public schools, transit and communities with unknown risks6
  • COVID-19 serves to exacerbate the inseparable systems of embedded inequities — of which education is a major foundational pillar — thereby adding to the problems of those most vulnerable to its effects in educational, social, economic and other areas6