Doug Ford wants '100 percent' Ontario students in province’s med schools

'I'm not being mean, but I'm taking care of our students, our kids first'

Doug Ford wants '100 percent' Ontario students in province’s med schools

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced Wednesday that he wants all medical school spots in the province to be reserved for Ontario students.

The comments were made at a media gathering announcing a new medical school at York University.

"In my opinion, and we will continue working with the ministry, get rid of the 18 per cent," he said, after stating that 18 percent of students in Ontario are international.

"I'm not being mean, but I'm taking care of our students, our kids first."

NDP criticizes Ford’s statements about international medical students

Ford went on to explain that some Ontario students and their parents said they go abroad to study, then don’t return to the province, The Canadian Press (CP) reported.

NDP leader Marit Stiles quickly criticized Ford’s comments in a statement to CP.

“The premier’s comments were wildly disrespectful to the thousands of students and internationally trained physicians with experience from across the world stuck waiting for a residency spot so they can finally practise in our province,” Stiles said.

“He is telling skilled physicians from around the world looking to build a life in Ontario that they’re simply not welcome here.”

The Premier’s office later confirmed that Ford had been speaking only about medical school seats, CP reported.

International students on the chopping block amid Ontario’s university funding controversy

International students have been centred in the province’s struggle to fund its post-secondary institutions, which have historically relied heavily on their high tuitions.

Ottawa announced in January a two-year cap on new international student visas, starting with 360,000 new visas for 2024, a 35 percent decrease from 2023. The measure is meant to address the current national housing crisis, but has left universities with drastic reductions in income.

The province announced last week that it would be funneling new international student visas into post-secondary institutions that offer in-demand programs such as trades, and no permits going to private colleges.

In Ontario, international students made up about one-sixth of total undergraduate enrolment in 2021-22, CBC reported. In addition to those students, there were about 23,000 more international students in graduate programs.

The government-appointed panel tasked with recommending ways to make Ontario’s post-secondary education sector viable stated in its report in November that “many colleges and universities have passed the point where they could survive financially with only domestic students. They are financially sustainable only because of international students.”

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