Information on Survey Participants
LooneyTooney.ca released the results of its survey of 100+ Indian students across Canada from 20+ colleges and universities. LooneyTooney.ca wanted to ascertain how the current India-Canada spat is impacting the well-being of Indian students. The survey was conducted between 22 September 2023 to 27 September 2023.
Students from over 20 colleges and universities participated in the survey. The colleges include:
- York University
- Seneca College
- Ryerson University
- Centennial College
- Dalhousie University
- Fleming College
- George Brown College
- Humber College
- McGill University
- University of Toronto
- University of Waterloo
- Humber College
- University of Ottawa
- University of Alberta
- Widener University
- Carleton University
- Simon Fraser University
- Thompson River University
- University of Calgary
- Widener University
“Indian students in Canada are a vital bridge for people-to-people contact between the two countries. The students are worried about the short-term implications of the spat on their career and personal plans. Their well-being should be a paramount concern for various stakeholders who should take actions to mitigate the negative impact of current tensions.”Ashish Bhatia, Founder of LooneyTooney.ca
One important reason to conduct the survey was to provide a data point to the stakeholders like federal/provincial governments, colleges/universities, and even ordinary citizens to be able to take action to reassure the student community. These students have become a major source of revenue for colleges but even if we set aside the economic impact, it is our duty to ensure their well-being on humanitarian grounds.
Insights from the Survey
1) 69% of students are anxious due to the tensions
As a percentage, more females are anxious than males. Students who have spent less time in Canada report feeling more anxious than those who have stayed here longer.
2) Many students are also worried about their safety but their parents are paranoid
One concerning aspect of the survey is that over 30% of students are feeling less safe in Canada. This could be because of various reasons which are difficult to ascertain with precision. However, we feel that the parents being paranoid is one of the factors. The non-stop 24*7 coverage in the Indian media related to this issue and the Indian government’s advisory to its citizens to remain vigilant could be causing some insecurity. There are also some videos doing the rounds on WhatsApp where people are being threatened based on their nationality and religion.
The Canadian government could take some steps to reassure students of their safety. Statements by various Indian-descent ministers and political leaders on social media to reassure Indians living in Canada is a move in the right direction.
3) 50% of students are less likely to recommend Canada as a study destination
The likelihood of recommending Canada for studies has reduced among Indian students due to the current tension. This could have an economic impact on Canadian colleges and universities that rely on Indian students’ fees as one of the major sources of their revenue.
The colleges should take proactive steps to calm down the student community. A few kind and reassuring words from the college administration could be a simple start. Another definite help could be access to a 24*7 helpline for students who are feeling mentally distressed. The University of Toronto has already made a start in this direction.
4) The biggest concern remains a fear of changes in Canada’s visa and work permit processing times
Many students are worried that Canada may reciprocate and stop processing visas and permits for Indian students. Some are concerned that if they go to India now, they may find it difficult to come back while others are concerned about the visa processing timelines and rules for their parents’ visit to Canada.
Those who have just completed their study courses are worried about any delays in the processing of their post-graduate work permits (PGWP)
5) Students are showing maturity regarding their long-term plans for a stay in Canada
Over 80% of students reported that they will not alter their long-term plans regarding staying in Canada due to the current situation. There are about 9% who are thinking of leaving Canada sooner than they had anticipated earlier. We know of a few stories where the students who had just started at York University left for good after this tension started. We are verifying these instances and will update in the next couple of days.