Equipping Young Canadians to Succeed at Home and Abroadglobal_ed_cover

On November 8, 2017, the Study Group on Global Education, an independent group of educational leaders, business executives and policy experts, released a landmark report on international learning for young Canadians.

The report, Global Education for Canadians: Equipping Young Canadians to Succeed at Home and Abroad, calls for a dramatic increase in the number of Canadian university and college students participating in international study and traineeship experiences abroad. These experiences are vital to prepare young Canadians – and Canada – to meet the challenges an increasingly complex and competitive world. The report highlights the contribution of global education for:

  • Fostering the 21st-century skills that Canadian companies say they want in employees: adaptability, resilience, teamwork, intercultural awareness and communication skills;
  • Building the global connections that Canada requires in a world of rising powers and diversified trade partners; and
  • Reinforcing the values of openness and inclusion that are essential to Canada’s success as a diverse and prosperous society, particularly at a time of growing intolerance.

“It’s time for Canada to treat international learning as a national priority,” explain Roland Paris and Margaret Biggs, who co-chaired the Study Group. “We need Canadian students to develop vital skills and global connections by studying and working abroad.”

Canada’s peer countries, including the United States, Australia, and members of the European Union, have launched ambitious strategies to boost international learning for their students – with striking results.

The report calls for a Canadian global education strategy with clear goals and targets:

  • Boost the percentage of Canadian undergraduate students who participate in international study from 11 to 25 percent within ten years;
  • To help drive this change, create a new national initiative – Go Global Canada – to support 15,000 university and college students annually to study and/or work abroad as part of their programs, rising to 30,000 within ten years;
  • Set a target of 50% of all Go Global Canada students going to emerging countries within 10 years; and
  • Provide targeted support for students from disadvantaged backgrounds so that all young Canadians have the opportunity to benefit from global education.

The report sets out the elements of a pan-Canadian partnership led by the federal government. Provincial and territorial governments, university and college administrators, professors and students, and the private sector all have roles to play.

The full report is available online at here.

Praise for Global Education for Canadians

“As the 21st Century unfolds, Canada’s prosperity will increasingly depend on the ability of our institutions and our citizens to operate across international boundaries. Today, however, only a fraction of our country’s young people receive any part of their education outside of Canada. We need to make it a priority to prepare growing numbers of Canadians to operate successfully on the international stage. That means that governments, educational institutions and businesses urgently need to provide the opportunity and the incentive for young Canadians to live and study abroad and to put the knowledge and skills they gain to work for Canada.” –The Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

“Study abroad is crucial to create the skills and cultural literacy necessary in our globalized world. It is not just an economic priority, but one of inestimable social and political importance. Canada needs a more systematic approach to making international education a more available opportunity for Canadian students.” –The Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell, former Prime Minister of Canada

“If Canada is to compete in an increasingly interconnected and fast-changing world, our next generation of leaders will need the experience and connections to operate internationally. This report clearly lays out the case for expanding global education and experience for young Canadians and challenges us collectively to be a global leader in this critical area.“ –Dominic Barton, Global Managing Director, McKinsey & Company

“At a time of closing borders and closing minds, the world is increasingly looking to Canada as a partner in research, innovation, and diplomacy. As Canada looks to advance economic and political relations internationally, we need our next generation of leaders and innovators to have core global competencies, including knowledge of business culture, language skills, and intercultural competence.” –Paul Davidson, President, Universities Canada

“As the nature of work and skills changes, young people should be emboldened to seek broader and more diverse experiences. A deeper understanding of the fastest-growing regions of the world will help prepare the next generation of Canadians for future challenges and opportunities.“ –The Hon. John Manley, President and CEO, Business Council of Canada

“Too few Canadian students take the opportunity to study internationally, despite its proven benefits for employability and career advancement.  As the report outlines, global education also fosters innovation, strengthens Canadian values of openness and inclusion, and expands Canada’s global network. A collaborative approach to a pan-Canadian global education strategy is absolutely essential to ensuring that Canada remains globally connected and competitive and that young Canadians are equipped with skills for a global marketplace. –Denise Amyot, President and CEO, Colleges and Institutes Canada

About the Study Group on Global Education

The Study Group was established under the auspices of the Centre for International Policy Studies at the University of Ottawa and the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto.


Roland Paris, University Research Chair in International Security and Governance, University of Ottawa

Margaret Biggs, Matthews Fellow on Global Public Policy, Queen’s University


Ann Buller, President, Centennial College

Lisa Butler, Chief Talent and Diversity Officer, Manulife

Marie-Claude Dumas, Executive Vice-President of Global Human Resources, SNC-Lavalin Group

Robyn Fila, Program Manager, Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives, University of Victoria

Claude Généreux, Executive Vice-President, Power Corporation and Power Financial

Zabeen Hirji, Special Advisor and former Chief Human Resources Officer, Royal Bank of Canada

Nicole Lacasse, Associate Vice-Rector, Academic and International Activities, Université Laval

John McArthur, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution, and Senior Advisor, UN Foundation

Santa Ono, President, University of British Columbia

Katie Orr, Director, NSCC International, Nova Scotia Community College

Sue Paish, President and CEO, Lifelabs

Morris Rosenberg, President and CEO, Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation

Robert Summerby-Murray, President, Saint Mary’s University

Rebecca Tiessen, Associate Professor, University of Ottawa

Stephen Toope, Vice-Chancellor, University of Cambridge, and former Director, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto

Valerie Walker, Vice President, Policy, Skills and Talent, Business Council of Canada

Stephen Wallace, Secretary to the Governor General of Canada

Research Associate: Jessica Cadesky (University of Ottawa)

Coordinators: Stéphanie Plante ([email protected]) and Stefanie Morris