What is the Trusted Institution framework?
The framework will introduce “Trusted Institution” tags to qualified institutions that meet specific criteria for reliability and genuineness. These criteria are yet to be released but will generally involve the institution’s ability to:
- Practice sustainable intake of International students
- Identify genuine students
- Monitor and report on their compliance and
- Provide safe experiences to International students
Institutions will be monitored with the help of the IRCC’s data on study permit approval rates, PG student outcomes, etc. DLIs will also be required to join a new reporting scheme for sharing retention rates for international students, on-time programme completion rates, revenue from international tuition, spending on international student support services, availability of DLI-administered housing and teacher-student ratios.
Institutions that meet the stipulated conditions will benefit from a ‘lighter touch’ from the IRCC and expedited processing for its International students.
The move is part of Canada’s plan to modernize Canada’s International Student program.
What are Designated Learning Institutions
Designated Learning Institutions, or DLI, are Canadian schools approved to host international students. International students must be enrolled at a DLI to be eligible for a Canadian study permit.
All Canadian primary and secondary schools are Designated Learning Institutions, while only select Post-secondary schools have the DLI status.
A complete list of all post-secondary institutions with the DLI tag can be found at the IRCC portal.
Will the IRCC move on from Designated Learning Institutions (DLI)?
No, All Canadian institutions accepting International students must still be classified as DLI. The Trusted Institution Framework is not a replacement but a rework of the existing format. The new framework will establish a two-tiered structure among existing DLIs where the ones classified as Trusted Institutions will be privy to benefits like less handholding from the IRCC and expedited processing.
The need for the Trusted Institution framework
The recent case of 700 Indian students facing deportation due to fraudulent offer letters used on their visa applications was a sobering reality check for the state of International students in Canada. Their exploitation and mistreatment, along with the immense increase in the volume of applications, were driving causes for this new framework.
The main points of concern that were identified during a review of the IRCC’s International Student program were:
- Concerns about the vulnerability of international students
- The growth in International student application volumes
- The need to diversify the International student population
When will the Trusted Institution framework come into effect?
The IRCC selected 20-30 Canadian institutions for its data-gathering pilot in August 2023. According to ICEF Monitor, the IRCC will refine its data-gathering survey and make it available to all DLIs in fall 2023. The rollout will commence once all data is compiled and analyzed.
Is the Trusted Institution framework a response to Canada’s Housing crisis?
It’s easy to come to that conclusion, given the Minister of Housing, Sean Fraser’s recent comments targeting certain institutions he said were exacerbating the housing crisis.
“When you see some of these institutions that have five, six times as many students enrolled as they have spaces for them in the building … you’ve got to start to ask yourself some pretty tough questions,”
His comments were in the context of a new proposal to cap the number of International students to alleviate the housing crisis.
Proposal to limit international student numbers
The Canadian government’s recent idea to cap the number of International students comes at a time when an increasing number of International students are struggling to find accommodation in an already inflated and tight housing market.
With more than 800,000 international students hosted by Canadian institutions in 2022, the government wants to include and involve them in their search for a solution to the crisis.
In the words of the Housing minister, Sean Fraser:
“If they’re going to continue to bring in record numbers of students, that they are being part of the solution as well by making sure that they have a place to live,”