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FILE PHOTO: People walk on the grounds of the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canada September 9, 2020. Picture taken September 9, 2020.

REUTERS/Carlos Osorio/File Photo

Ottawa caps visas for foreign students

The Trudeau government is shutting the door to hundreds of thousands of foreign students. This week, Ottawa moved to reduce the number of undergraduate international student visas for 2025 to just 360,000, a 35% cut, in an effort to tackle the housing crisis and rein in diploma mills that are profiting off the system.

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New university graduates line-up in a hall before convocation in Ontario, Canada.

Reuters

Foreign students get caught up in Canada’s housing crisis

As Canada’s housing crisis continues – with the average selling price up 6% in six months, to CA$668,754, and the average 1 bedroom rental price at CA$2,078 – policymakers are looking at the effect of international students on prices. Last year, Canada saw over 800,000 international students arrive in a country of roughly 40 million people, over half of whom ended up in Ontario. In 2022, nearly 1 in 48 people in Canada were international students on a study permit.

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Art by Annie Gugliotta

Broken housing markets could shape US and Canadian elections

The United States and Canada share hundreds of billions in annual trade, a deep defense relationship, the world’s longest undefended land border, and an affordability crisis that threatens to upend political fortunes. At the heart of that problem is housing. As both countries grapple with inflation and rising interest rates, the cost of shelter and the risk of foreclosures are rising.

The causes of unaffordable housing include a complex mix of under-supply (itself caused by several things), urbanization, marketization and speculation, immigration, population growth, temporary foreign workers, international students, and natural barriers. But whatever the cause, the US and Canada are both millions short on needed housing stock.

For President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, unaffordable shelter presents both a policy challenge and a political liability, especially as each faces looming elections. Biden is up for reelection in late-2024, and Trudeau must face voters by the fall of 2025.

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