International students enrich the culture and vibrancy of our communities. Many begin their studies as a pathway to citizenship in Canada and face a series of challenges including exploitation by immigration consultants, employers, landlords, financial pressures, and others. These challenges also impact the capacity of city, regional and policing resources.
Recognizing these challenges, the City of Brampton and Sheridan College convened a Round Table last fall and brought together a wide range of community leaders and groups to identify solutions. A planning committee worked over six months culminating in a summit in July.
The goal of this effort is to develop The Brampton Charter for International Student Success with a concrete action plan to make a positive difference in the lives of international students who choose to study and stay in Brampton. The community charter will include recommended actions and a mechanism for accountability. A draft is expected this fall.
There is also a growing need for affordable accommodation for students both on-campus and off-campus. In the last three years, Brampton’s growth included 18,000 new non-permanent residents (mostly international students). To accommodate this growth, City Staff has been working with post-secondary institutions and community stakeholders to identify, prioritize specific issues and concerns and make recommendations that will influence policy development and resource allocation. Any major influx of students will include plans to address safe and legal student accommodations.
As Canada’s fastest growing big city, we have an opportunity to create more liveable neighbourhoods with high quality of life indexes, and complex challenges to ensure property standards are maintained and housing is affordable. Students contribute significantly to our local economy and we continue to work with all stakeholders to address these challenges.