Education Indicators in Canada: An International Perspective 2016
Chapter C
Access to education, participation and progression

C1 International students

Context

This indicator presents international students as a proportion of enrolment in tertiary education in accordance with the three International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) categoriesNote 1, which represent enrolments in colleges and universitiesNote 2. Changes in the number of international students over time are also presented, as well as their distribution by province of study and by region of origin.

Students choose to pursue their education abroad for many reasons. Some may do so because they wish to explore different cultures, societies and languages while improving their employment prospects. Growing recognition of the importance of tertiary education as a determinant of higher earnings and employability has led to a growing demand, one that educational institutions in some countries may find difficult to meet. At the same time, the globalization of markets has increased demand for workers with broader knowledge and competencies, with work increasingly performed by teams that span regions and countries.

Several factors may contribute to the choice of country for study. The language spoken and used in instruction, the quality of education offered, the tuition fees and cost of living, and the immigration policy of the destination country are all important factors. Other factors include recognition of foreign degrees, future job opportunities, and any geographical, trade and cultural links between countries.

International students represent an additional source of revenue for the institutions they attend. They may also contribute to the viability of programs when the domestic student base is somewhat limited. In Canada, as in other countries that belong to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), many institutions and governments are now actively marketing their educational programs to attract such students. In addition to the economic benefits they may provide, international and foreign students also add to the social and cultural dimensions of the communities in which they study. They may become future citizens, or they may become unofficial ambassadors when they return home.

Observations

International students in tertiary education

Chart C.1.1 Number of international students in tertiary education, Canada and provinces, 2014

Data table for Chart C.1.1
Data table for Chart C.1.1 Number of international students in tertiary education, by provinceData table Note 1, 2014
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart C.1.1 number and percentage (appearing as column headers).
  number percentage
N.L. 1,947 1.2
P.E.I. 747 0.5
N.S. 6,534 4.0
N.B. 3,375 2.1
Que. 31,713 19.4
Ont. 67,215 41.0
Man. 4,917 3.0
Sask. 3,633 2.2
Alta. 12,828 7.8
B.C. 30,873 18.9

Chart C.1.2 Distribution of international students in tertiary education, by level of education, Canada and provinces, 2014

Data table for Chart C.1.2
Data table for Chart C.1.2
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart C.1.2 Short-cycle tertiary, Bachelor's or equivalent level, Master's or equivalent level and Doctoral or equivalent level, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
  Short-cycle tertiary Bachelor's or equivalent level Master's or equivalent level Doctoral or equivalent level
percent
CAN 18.8 55.7 16.2 9.3
N.L. 2.1 53.1 30.4 14.5
P.E.I. 36.6 58.3 2.0 3.1
N.S. Data table Note 1 0.0 81.1 15.8 3.0
N.B. 6.0 74.1 15.1 4.8
Que. 7.5 52.5 25.1 14.8
Ont. 30.0 50.0 13.5 6.5
Man. 12.0 67.8 12.6 7.6
Sask. 2.4 55.5 26.7 15.5
Alta. 20.1 45.6 16.2 18.1
B.C. 14.4 66.4 12.0 7.2

Chart C.1.3a Proportion of international students among all tertiary enrolments, by level of education, Canada, provinces and OECD average, 2014

Data table for Chart C.1.3a
Data table for Chart C.1.3a
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart C.1.3a Doctoral or equivalent level, Master's or equivalent level, Bachelor's or equivalent level, Short-cycle tertiary and Total teritiary, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
  Doctoral or equivalent level Master's or equivalent level Bachelor's or equivalent level Short-cycle tertiary Total teritiary
percent
OECD 27.4 12.4 4.9 3.0 6.4
CAN 28.5 17.2 8.8 9.1 10.3
N.L. 42.9 20.0 7.1 1.5 9.4
P.E.I. 37.1 5.9 11.8 20.4 14.0
N.S. Data table Note 1 26.1 17.3 15.0 0.0 13.5
N.B. 31.1 27.2 14.0 5.7 14.2
Que. 29.8 14.0 7.6 2.6 8.3
Ont. 21.3 17.5 7.5 12.8 9.9
Man. 36.5 16.8 8.3 10.1 9.7
Sask. 47.8 27.7 7.1 3.4 10.2
Alta. 33.4 18.8 6.3 8.1 9.0
B.C. 37.6 22.5 14.5 13.3 15.6

Chart C.1.3b Proportion of international students among all tertiary enrolments, by level of education, G7 countries, Australia and OECD average, 2014

Data table for Chart C.1.3b
Data table for Chart C.1.3b Proportion of international students among all tertiary enrolments, by level of education, G7Data table Note 1 countries, AustraliaData table Note 2 and OECD average, 2014
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart C.1.3b Doctoral or equivalent level, Master's or equivalent level, Bachelor's or equivalent level, Short-cycle tertiary and Total teritiary, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
  Doctoral or equivalent level Master's or equivalent level Bachelor's or equivalent level Short-cycle tertiary Total teritiary
percent
OECD 27.4 12.4 4.9 3.0 6.4
CAN 28.5 17.2 8.8 9.1 10.3
JPN 19.1 7.6 2.5 3.4 3.4
USA 34.7 8.8 3.5 2.0 4.2
DEU 7.4 12.2 4.4 0.0 7.2
FRA 39.9 13.5 7.3 4.4 9.8
AUS 33.5 40.2 13.1 13.3 18.3
GBR 42.5 36.9 13.7 5.5 18.2

Chart C.1.4 Distribution of international students in tertiary education, by region of origin, Canada and provinces, 2014

Data table for Chart C.1.4
Data table for Chart C.1.4
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart C.1.4 Asia, Europe, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America and Oceania, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
  Asia Europe Africa Latin America and the Caribbean North America Oceania
percent
CAN 64.2 13.7 10.5 5.9 5.2 0.5
N.L. 67.2 6.0 14.8 7.1 4.6 0.2
P.E.I. 69.0 1.2 10.1 4.4 15.3 0.0
N.S. 76.2 2.6 7.2 9.6 4.2 0.2
N.B. 38.2 4.6 30.0 23.7 3.2 0.4
Que. 24.8 42.6 18.3 5.3 8.2 0.8
Ont. 76.5 6.4 7.9 5.6 3.2 0.4
Man. 68.0 3.4 20.8 3.9 3.7 0.3
Sask. 73.9 3.2 16.9 3.6 2.1 0.4
Alta. 75.9 6.0 8.3 6.1 3.1 0.5
B.C. 74.2 8.5 4.3 4.6 7.8 0.6

Definitions, sources and methodology

This indicator examines the proportion of international students in the different categories of tertiary education.

International students are those who are pursuing education in a country other than their country of residence or the country in which they were previously educated. In Canada, the concept of “international students” includes non-permanent residentsNote 3, such as those with a study permit. It also includes those enrolled in a Canadian program from a Canadian institution that is not located in Canada (also known as “offshore students”) as well as non-Canadian students studying via the Internet.

Foreign students correspond to a broader concept that includes students who are educated in a country for which they do not hold citizenship. In Canada, the concept of “foreign students” includes all “international students”, plus all students who are landed immigrant/permanent residentsNote 4.

The proportion of enrolment at a given education level by international students is obtained by dividing the number of students who are neither Canadian citizens nor permanent residentsNote 4 of Canada by the total number of students at that level, and multiplying this ratio by 100. The total number of students includes all individuals educated in Canada, whether they are Canadian citizens, permanent residents or foreign nationals as well as “off-shore students”, but it excludes all Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are educated abroad.

The Canadian data were drawn from Statistics Canada’s Postsecondary Student Information System (PSIS), which covers only public postsecondary institutions. Results for some jurisdictions rely in part on estimates made for non-responding institutions. Due to certain methodological adjustments that have been made to the PSIS collection tool to improve reporting and mapping to ISCED, comparisons of results with those from previous years should not be made.

The OECD data on foreign students and international students reflect the 2013/2014 academic year and are drawn from the UOE collection of statistical data on education, which was carried out by the OECD in 2015. In Canada and other OECD countries, domestic and international students are usually counted on a specific day or period of the year (e.g., the PSIS enrolment data reflect the number of students who were enrolled in courses between September 30 and December 1, 2013, for the academic year 2013/2014). This procedure may not capture the total number of international students as some students may study abroad for less than a full academic year (e.g., those that enter in the winter or spring terms).

Note: The corresponding OECD indicator is C4, Who studies abroad and where?

Tables for C1 International students

C2 Transitions to the labour market

Context

This indicator focuses on transitions from education to the working world. The percentages of individuals between 15 and 29 years of age who are considered to be “in education” or “not in education” are presented, along with their respective employment situations. Such information can be helpful in understanding how young adults may combine school and work, or how they may transition from one to the other. The “not in education” portion of this population is further examined with a focus on those individuals who are neither employed nor in education (or training), a group sometimes referred to as the “NEET” population.

In Canada and most other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, education policy-makers strive to encourage young people to complete at least their secondary education. As successfully reaching this milestone has become the norm for students in the majority of OECD countries, those who fail to do so will likely have much more difficulty when they enter the labour market, where lacking a high school education is usually an impediment to finding a job.

Recognition of the importance of postsecondary education for economic and social success—both for individuals and society—is widespread. However, the decisions that young people make regarding their education are often influenced by economic conditions.  They may, for example, be inclined to leave school and enter the work force when the labour market is strong, or they may decide to continue with or return to their education when the labour market is weak and it is more difficult to find a job.

The transition from school to work is not always an easy process, and complexity may be added by a combination of factors including personal circumstances, the type and length of schooling received, and the labour market and overall economic conditions that younger people may face. It is also important to find ways to understand how this complexity may affect the NEET group, particularly the youngest members, as teens aged 15 to 19 will have both lower educational attainment and less work experience than young adults in their twenties.

Observations

Young adults in education, not in education

Chart C.2.1 : Portrait of the 15- to 29-year-old Canadian population by age group and education and employment status, 2016

Data table for Chart C.2.1
Data table for Chart C.2.1
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart C.2.1 In education, Not in education, employed and Not in education, unemployed or not in the labour force (NEET), calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
  In education Not in education, employed Not in education, unemployed or not in the labour force (NEET)
percent
15 to 19 82.9 10.8 6.3
20 to 24 41.3 43.8 14.8
25 to 29 12.4 70.5 17.1

Chart C.2.2.1 : Distribution of the 15- to 19-year-old population by education and employment status, Canada and provinces, 2016

Data table for Chart C.2.2.1
Data table for Chart C.2.2.1
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart C.2.2.1 In education, Not in education, employed, Not in education, unemployed or not in the labour force (NEET), Canada average, in education, Canada average, not in education, employed and Canada average, not in education, unemployed or not in the labour force (NEET), calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
  In education Not in education, employed Not in education, unemployed or not in the labour force (NEET) Canada average, in education Canada average, not in education, employed Canada average, not in education, unemployed or not in the labour force (NEET)
percent
OECD 87.2 6.3 6.5 82.9 10.8 6.3
Can. 82.9 10.8 6.3 82.9 10.8 6.3
N.L. 85.4 9.0 5.6 82.9 10.8 6.3
P.E.I. 82.9 11.1 6.0 82.9 10.8 6.3
N.S. 80.6 11.1 8.3 82.9 10.8 6.3
N.B. 83.4 9.8 6.8 82.9 10.8 6.3
Que. 79.7 13.1 7.3 82.9 10.8 6.3
Ont. 86.7 8.1 5.2 82.9 10.8 6.3
Man. 79.3 14.0 6.7 82.9 10.8 6.3
Sask. 77.6 13.9 8.5 82.9 10.8 6.3
Alta. 80.7 13.1 6.2 82.9 10.8 6.3
B.C. 81.0 11.9 7.1 82.9 10.8 6.3

Chart C.2.2.2 : Distribution of the 20- to 24-year-old population by education and employment status, OECD, Canada and provinces, 2016

Data table for Chart C.2.2.2
Data table for Chart C.2.2.2
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart C.2.2.2 In education, Not in education, employed, Not in education, unemployed or not in the labour force (NEET), Canada average, in education, Canada average, not in education, employed and Canada average, not in education, unemployed or not in the labour force (NEET), calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
  In education Not in education, employed Not in education, unemployed or not in the labour force (NEET) Canada average, in education Canada average, not in education, employed Canada average, not in education, unemployed or not in the labour force (NEET)
percent
OECD 44.8 38.2 17.0 41.3 43.8 14.8
Can. 41.3 43.8 14.8 41.3 43.8 14.8
N.L. 33.2 42.7 24.1 41.3 43.8 14.8
P.E.I. 34.1 45.2 20.7 41.3 43.8 14.8
N.S. 35.6 48.6 15.8 41.3 43.8 14.8
N.B. 34.0 41.2 24.8 41.3 43.8 14.8
Que. 45.6 40.1 14.3 41.3 43.8 14.8
Ont. 45.5 39.7 14.7 41.3 43.8 14.8
Man. 35.1 48.5 16.5 41.3 43.8 14.8
Sask. 30.7 54.1 15.2 41.3 43.8 14.8
Alta. 29.6 54.9 15.5 41.3 43.8 14.8
B.C. 39.0 48.5 12.4 41.3 43.8 14.8

Chart C.2.2.3 : Distribution of the 25- to 29-year-old population by education and employment status, OECD, Canada and provinces, 2016

Data table for Chart C.2.2.3
Data table for Chart C.2.2.3
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart C.2.2.3 In education, Not in education, employed, Not in education, unemployed or not in the labour force (NEET), Canada average, in education, Canada average, not in education, employed and Canada average, not in education, unemployed or not in the labour force (NEET), calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
  In education Not in education, employed Not in education, unemployed or not in the labour force (NEET) Canada average, in education Canada average, not in education, employed Canada average, not in education, unemployed or not in the labour force (NEET)
percent
OECD 15.7 64.8 19.5 12.4 70.5 17.1
Can. 12.4 70.5 17.1 12.4 70.5 17.1
N.L. 11.2 64.7 24.2 12.4 70.5 17.1
P.E.I. 11.5 69.4 19.1 12.4 70.5 17.1
N.S. 13.2 68.0 18.8 12.4 70.5 17.1
N.B. 7.5 72.7 19.8 12.4 70.5 17.1
Que. 16.1 67.5 16.4 12.4 70.5 17.1
Ont. 12.2 71.0 16.8 12.4 70.5 17.1
Man. 11.7 71.9 16.4 12.4 70.5 17.1
Sask. 10.3 74.5 15.2 12.4 70.5 17.1
Alta. 8.9 72.8 18.3 12.4 70.5 17.1
B.C. 11.6 71.0 17.4 12.4 70.5 17.1

Not employed, not in education (NEET)

Chart C.2.3 : Distribution of the 15- to 29-year-old population not in education, unemployed or not in the labour force (NEET), Canada, OECD and other countries, 2016

Data table for Chart C.2.3
Data table for Chart C.2.3
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart C.2.3 Not in education, unemployed or not in the labour force (NEET)(figurant comme en-tête de colonne).
  Not in education, unemployed or not in the labour force (NEET)
percent
CAN 13.1
OECD 14.6
ITA 27.4
FRA 17.2
USA 14.4
GBR 13,7
JPN 10.1
DEU 8.6

Chart C.2.4 : Distribution of the 25- to 29-year-old population not in education, unemployed or not in the labour force (NEET), OECD, Canada and provinces, 2016

Data table for Chart C.2.4
Data table for Chart C.2.4
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart C.2.4 NEET, unemployed only, NEET, not in the labour force only, NEET (total), Canada average, NEET, unemployed only, Canada average, NEET, not in the labour force only and Canada average, NEET (total), calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
  NEET, unemployed only NEET, not in the labour force only NEET (total) Canada average, NEET, unemployed only Canada average, NEET, not in the labour force only Canada average, NEET (total)
percent
OECD 8.1 11.4 19.5 6.4 10.7 17.1
Can. 6.4 10.7 17.1 6.4 10.7 17.1
N.L. 10.4 13.8 24.2 6.4 10.7 17.1
P.E.I. 9.0 10.1 19.1 6.4 10.7 17.1
N.S. 8.5 10.3 18.8 6.4 10.7 17.1
N.B. 8.0 11.8 19.8 6.4 10.7 17.1
Que. 6.6 9.8 16.4 6.4 10.7 17.1
Ont. 6.1 10.7 16.8 6.4 10.7 17.1
Man. 5.8 10.7 16.4 6.4 10.7 17.1
Sask. 6.0 9.2 15.2 6.4 10.7 17.1
Alta. 6.8 11.4 18.3 6.4 10.7 17.1
B.C. 6.2 11.2 17.4 6.4 10.7 17.1

Not employed, not in education (NEET) by sex

Chart C.2.5.1 : Distribution of the 15- to 29-year-old population not in education, unemployed or not in the labour force (NEET), by sex, OECD, Canada, provinces and territories, 2016

Data table for Chart C.2.5.1
Data table for Chart C.2.5.1
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart C.2.5.1 NEET, males and NEET females, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
  NEET, males NEET females
percent
OECD 12.2 17.1
Can. 13.6 12.6
N.L. 22.4 14.1
P.E.I. 18.0 12.6
N.S. 16.6 12.5
N.B. 18.0 16.7
Que. 14.6 11.4
Ont. 13.1 12.1
Man. 12.8 14.0
Sask. 12.7 13.9
Alta. 13.3 14.9
B.C. 12.5 12.6
Y.T. 15.3 13.5
N.W.T. 21.9 18.6
Nvt. 39.4 34.8

Chart C.2.5.2 : Distribution of the 15- to 29-year-old population not in education, unemployed (NEET, unemployed only), by sex, OECD, Canada, provinces and territories, 2016

Data table for Chart C.2.5.2
Data table for Chart C.2.5.2
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart C.2.5.2 NEET (unemployed only), males and NEET (unemployed only) females, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
  NEET (unemployed only), males NEET (unemployed only) females
percent
OECD 6.7 5.6
Can. 7.0 3.5
N.L. 13.4 4.3
P.E.I. 9.4 6.0
N.S. 8.7 4.2
N.B. 10.3 4.2
Que. 7.4 3.5
Ont. 6.2 3.5
Man. 5.9 3.6
Sask. 7.0 3.4
Alta. 8.0 3.3
B.C. 6.7 3.4
Y.T. 6.5 X
N.W.T. 9.8 7.2
Nvt. 16.6 8.1

Chart C.2.5.3 : Distribution of the 15- to 29-year-old population not in education, not in the labour force (NEET, not in the labour force only), by sex, OECD, Canada, provinces and territories, 2016

Data table for Chart C.2.5.3
Data table for Chart C.2.5.3
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart C.2.5.3 NEET (not in the labour force only), males and NEET (not in the labour force only) females, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
  NEET (not in the labour force only), males NEET (not in the labour force only) females
percent
OECD 5.4 11.5
Can. 6.6 9.1
N.L. 8.9 9.8
P.E.I. 8.6 6.7
N.S. 7.9 8.3
N.B. 7.7 12.4
Que. 7.2 8.0
Ont. 6.8 8.6
Man. 6.9 10.4
Sask. 5.6 10.5
Alta. 5.3 11.6
B.C. 5.8 9.2
Y.T. 8.8 X
N.W.T. 12.1 11.4
Nvt. 22.8 26.7

Combining work and school

Chart C.2.6 : Proportion of 15- to 29-year-olds males and females in education who are employed, OECD, Canada and provinces, 2016

Data table for Chart C.2.6
Data table for Chart C.2.6
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart C.2.6 Males and Females, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
  Males Females
percent
OECD 25.3 26.9
Can. 34.7 44.2
N.L. 37.1 43.9
P.E.I. 33.8 45.6
N.S. 33.6 38.7
N.B. 25.7 37.5
Que. 39.5 52.6
Ont. 32.5 40.2
Man. 36.7 43.6
Sask. 35.9 46.8
Alta. 38.7 43.0
B.C. 31.3 44.5

Definitions, sources and methodology

The indicator is calculated using cross-tabulations for the following variables: school attendance, labour force status, sex, age (15 to 29 overall; 15 to 19; 20 to 24; and 25 to 29) and educational attainment (highest level of education attained). Individuals are categorized by their education status (in education or not in education) and their labour force status (employed, unemployed, or not in the labour force). Some historical data are also presented.

The “in education” group captures both full- and part-time students, while “not in education” portrays those who are no longer pursuing a formal education. As per the OECD definition, the educational institutions considered for this indicator are primary and secondary educational institutions, colleges and universities. Employment status is based on International Labour Organization (ILO) guidelines. The employed are defined as those who during the survey reference week: (i) work for pay (employees) or profit (self-employed and unpaid family workers) for at least one hour; or (ii) have a job but are temporarily not at work (through injury, illness, holiday, strike or lock-out, educational or training leave, maternity or parental leave, etc.). The unemployed are defined as individuals who are, during the survey reference week, without work, actively seeking employment and currently available to start work. And not in the labour force captures individuals who are not working and who are not unemployed; i.e., individuals who are not looking for a job.

In addition to those who are employed, the total “not in education” portion of the 15- to 29-year-old population also includes those who are neither employed nor in education (or training). Such individuals are sometimes referred to as the “NEET” population. This captures a somewhat diverse group of young people in a number of possible situations. Some may be part of this group by choice, perhaps taking time off work and/or school to travel or to start families and care for their young children. Some might prefer to be working, but have abandoned the job search temporarily. These people would be seen as “not in the labour force”Note 8 as opposed to those who are seeking work but are unemployed. The group of people who are not in education and are either “unemployed” or “not in the labour force” is a population that could potentially be at risk for economic and social difficulties.

The data were obtained from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey (LFS), and they cover the first quarter or the average of the first three months of the calendar year, which excludes summer employment. The LFS does not collect data on official work-study programmes in which students might participate; in Canada, these would be considered education in the form of a co-op or student intern programme.

Note: The corresponding OECD indicator is C5, Transition from school to work: Where are the 15-29 year-olds?

Tables for C2 Transitions to the labour market

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