On Saturday, March 3rd, I was excited to attend the 2018 Ottawa Welcome Event for International Students and provide opening remarks on behalf of Mayor Jim Watson. The event provided a forum for foreign students to gather information that will facilitate their successful integration in Ottawa – ultimately encouraging them to stay or become “ambassadors” for the city, after graduation. This is the third event of its kind that has been hosted since 2015.
The event was hosted by the City of Ottawa, along with post-secondary institutions and many community partners. More than 200 students attended the event, which featured workshops, an information fair, as well as entertainment and networking.
The event helps support both the Province of Ontario and the City’s immigration strategies, in their common efforts to attract and retain international talent to bolster both Ontario’s and Ottawa’s economies. International students have been a proven source of skills, knowledge and talents to Ottawa’s job market – also bringing multilingual skills and global connections to our region.
Ottawa has quickly become a destination of choice for international students, experiencing a 43 per cent increase in the number of international students between 2007 and 2012, according to a 2012 Citizenship and Immigration Canada report. That same report cited that 8,500 international students were studying in Ottawa in 2012.
The Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration provided funding for this event. RBC Royal Bank also sponsored the event and presented information about their new community program that focuses on preparing and empowering youth for the jobs and labour market of the future.