Exploring the Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on International Students and Universities in Canada





COVID 19, Pandemic, International students, Canada, Universities


International students in Canada make enormous contribution to the Canadian economy. As domestic students’ enrolment has declined, international students’ admissions have compensated for economic losses that Canadian universities incur from the decline of domestic students’ enrolment. The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting international students’ admissions to Canadian universities.   Drawing on various secondary data sources, this article argues that international students in Canada are vulnerable due to their temporary immigration status. They are excluded from most governments’ relief programs aimed at supporting Canadians during this pandemic. Most international students experience psychological and financial difficulties amid the pandemic. The situation is triggering a further decline in international students’ admission, creating economic implications for Canadian universities. By exploring the challenges facing international students and the strategies required to strengthen international students' resilience and universities’ capacities, the paper contributes to our understanding of the plights of international students and educational institutions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Author Biographies

David Firang, Trent University

David Firang, PhD, is a social work professor at Trent University’s Department of Social Work. His research focuses on international migration, international students, immigrant housing and transnationalism, environmental sustainability, social justice and social policy. E-mail: davidfirang@trentu.ca

Joseph Mensah, York University

Joseph Mensah, PhD, is a Professor and a former Chair of the Department of Geography at York University, and a former Associate Director of the Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migration of African Peoples at York University. His research focuses on globalization and culture; immigrant housing and transnationalism; race, gender, and employment; and African development. E-mail: jmensah@yorku.ca


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How to Cite

Firang, D., & Mensah, J. (2021). Exploring the Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on International Students and Universities in Canada. Journal of International Students, 12(1), 1–18. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v12i1.2881



Research Articles (English)