The provincial government has just introduced new bureaucratic regulations that may impact B.C.’s International English as a Second Language (ESL) education industry and affect the industry’s ability to contribute to the provincial economy. International language instruction in B.C. is directly responsible for a billion dollars in economic activity every year and is the province’s fourth largest export industry. It directly employs 24,000 British Columbians.
When you add in the economic activity generated by international students who eat in B.C. restaurants and travel as tourists all over our province, as well as the “Home Stay” income that helps thousands of B.C. families pay their mortgages and put food on the table, that billion dollar figure balloons to more than three billion dollars in annual economic activity for B.C. — and the relationships that grow from Home Stays make our world a little smaller.
The thousands of students who study in B.C., and then return to their home countries, are also walking, talking advertisements for “Super, Natural British Columbia,” effectively mini ambassadors we send all over the world.
Their experiences entice their families, friends and relatives, and many other international students, to visit our great province.
At a time of economic uncertainty, B.C. should be growing this three billion dollar educational tourism industry rather than introducing regulatory changes that may cause it to stagnate.
B.C.’s new Minister of Advanced Education, Andrew Wilkinson, the B.C. government, and every British Columbian, needs to understand how significant the international education industry is to the B.C. economy.
The provincial government needs to take steps to allow the international education industry to flourish, innovate and continue contributing to B.C.’s economy.
Vancouver Executive Director
International Language Academy of Canada