Hi everyone,

Hope you have had a successful start of the school year. International Student Connect (ISC) sessions are already taking place across the province and we wanted to take a moment to share some information and updates with you.

This past quarter (July-September) we delivered 70 sessions and served 1,038 students in Ontario. We also welcomed two new partners to the project: OCAD University and The Schulich School of Business. We are happy to have you join our community! 

Below is a summary of the great work that all of our partners have done since the inception of ISC back in 2014.

Supporting the spouses of international students

In 2018, there were 572,415 international students in Canada at all levels of study, and the province of Ontario hosted the largest number (277,320) across the country.

Some international students come to Canada accompanied by their spouses or common-law partners, many of whom are highly educated and experienced professionals. Yet they struggle to adapt to their new life.

They tend to face language barriers, culture shock, lack of social support, isolation, psychological stresses, child rearing responsibilities and limited knowledge about the various services available to them.

The combination of all these barriers makes it difficult for many spouses and common-law partners to pursue their own career goals and to find or keep suitable employment.

We at the ISC project are aware of this reality and work to help not only international students, but also their spouses and common-law partners to integrate to Canada successfully.

We do this by providing them with relevant settlement information and assistance at both our Let’s Connect and One-On-One sessions.

Spouses and common-law partners of international students are eligible for an open work permit, which allows them to access the self-directed components of employment services offered at settlement agencies and Employment Ontario offices across the province. However, they may not access assisted programs and services

This is where ISC project can help fill the gap and provide them with orientation and support during their settlement process.

To learn more about this topic, watch ISC’s webinar Supporting Spouses of International Students in Ontario. This webinar provides information about all the resources available to spouses and common-law partners of international students, and offers strategies on how they can improve their community connections and overcome challenges.

Watch Webinar Now!

New countries added to Student Direct Stream

Depending on where they live, international students may be able to get their study permit faster through the Student Direct Stream (SDS). Most SDS applications are processed within 20 calendar days. However, some may take longer.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recently added more countries to the SDS. To be eligible, students must be a legal resident living in one of the following countries: China, India, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Senegal or Vietnam. 

Learn more about the eligibility requirements and application process here.

Financial aid for international students

The financial aid options available to international students who want to study in Canada include scholarships, bursaries, awards, grants, fellowships, and loans. Students should contact the financial aid office at the school they plan to attend. Below is a list of potential scholarships:

Ontario Trillium Scholarships
Every year, Ontario awards 75 Trillium Scholarships – a value of $40,000 per year. The money is awarded to the best doctoral students from around the world to support their studies in Ontario. These scholarships can be renewed for up to 4 years. For more information, students can contact a university’s office of graduate studies.

Federal Government Scholarships
International students may also apply for scholarships awarded by the federal government. Get more information on scholarships for international students here.

Study in Canada Scholarships
On September 5, 2019, Global Affairs Canada introduced a new scholarships program for Canadian post-secondary institutions to welcome international students from diverse regions worldwide to schools and programs across Canada.

Funded by the Government of Canada, these scholarships will be awarded to students from all academic disciplines, for post-secondary programs of up to two years leading to a diploma, post-secondary or post-graduate certificate, or Master’s degree at a college, technical or vocational institute, or university in Canada. Click here to find out more.

Masters and Doctoral levels
Some universities, such as Brock and McMaster University in Ontario have implemented special programs for students studying at the masters and doctoral level.  For more information click below:
·       Brock's Free PhD International Students Program
·       McMaster's Lower Tuition for International Students

International students can find fellowships from schools, organizations and the Canadian federal and provincial governments. These awards are stipends that do not require repayment. For more information select the hyperlinks below:
·       Fellowships in Canadian Government Laboratories Program
·       Fulbright-Carlos Rico Award for North American Studies
·       Jeanne Sauvé Foundation Public Leadership Program

Building on Success: Canada's International Education Strategy (2019-2024)

International education makes a large and growing contribution to Canada’s prosperity. In 2018, international students in Canada contributed an estimated $21.6 billion to Canada’s GDP, and supported almost 170,000 jobs for Canada’s middle class.

Building on Success: Canada's International Education Strategy (2019-2024) was developed on the premise that international education is an essential pillar of Canada’s long-term competitiveness.

In the next five years, the strategy will aim to diversify the education sector, boost Canada’s innovation capacity, promote global ties and foster a vibrant Canadian economy. It will also help ensure that Canada’s labour force has the needed skills and talent to enable Canada to compete in global markets, creating middle-class jobs and fostering prosperity in communities across the country.

Read the full Building on Success: Canada's International Education Strategy (2019-2024).

What is International Student Connect?

International Student Connect (ISC) is a bilingual pilot project that provides settlement support and orientation to international students pursuing a post-secondary education in Ontario. It is coordinated by COSTI Immigrant Services and funded by the Government of Ontario.

Our goal is to help international students integrate successfully should they choose to settle in Ontario after graduation. Information is provided through 1-2 hours Let’s Connect sessions or One-On-one sessions at Colleges and Universities.

Check out the ISC Handbook and learn more about the project here.

We want to hear from you!


Your feedback is important to us. Send us an email to and let us know what information you would like to receive in the next ISC Newsletter.
Copyright © 2019 International Student Connect. All rights reserved.

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COSTI Immigrant Services
2301 Keele Street, Unit 102
Toronto, ON
M6N 3Z9

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International Student Connect · 2301 Keele Street · Unit 102 · Toronto, On M6N 3Z9 · Canada

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