Ottawa, November 8, 2017 —  The Study Group on Global Education – an independent group of educational leaders, business executives and policy experts established under the auspices of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto and the Centre for International Policy Studies at the University of Ottawa –  released a landmark report today 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 in order to prepare young Canadians – and Canada – to meet challenges in 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 needs young Canadians to be equipped with the skills, competencies and global connections to succeed as leaders, workers and entrepreneurs in an increasingly complex world,” says Randall Hansen, interim director of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. “Many of the benefits of international learning – including improved academic outcomes and employment after graduation – appear to be strongest for students from less-advantaged backgrounds. A carefully crafted and adequately funded global education strategy would boost the participation of less-advantaged students in international learning, and would equip young Canadians from all walks of life to succeed both at home and 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 degree 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 at


Roland Paris,
Margaret Biggs,
Dena Allen,

Support 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


About the Study Group on Global Education

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


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