International students grapple with increasing costs amidst rising inflation.
By Bhavya, Kianna and Chloe.
As grocery, rent and transportation costs soars, international students find themselves paying twice as much for necessities, creating a significant financial strain that makes living in Canada extremely challenging to afford.
Toronto is referred as one of the most expensive cities in Canada to reside in. Mercer’s 2023 cost of living survey reveals that when compared to cities like Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa and Calgary, Toronto officially remains at the top. It was also ranked as 90 th most expensive city globally even though life here is expensive but still it is referred to as one of the engaging cities globally after cities like Vancouver and Stockholm. Toronto area experience the rise in immigrant arrivals in the year 2022 with the increase of 103percent. Some of the reasons behind this are good opportunities, economic opportunities, and good quality of living it offers to people. Toronto Consistently achieves international recognition, securing top positions on global liveability lists such as Mercer’s Quality of living report . In North America, Toronto comes at the second spot securing 16th place worldwide . The Economists global liveability index has placed Toronto 7th for second time.
According to rentals.ca report, the cost of one bedroom apartment in city is over 2500 dollars a month, Nationwide rent has increased 12 percent in 2022 and almost 9 percent in 2023.
An international student’s perspective:
Galvin Wong, an international student from Seneca came to Canada, to make it as a filmmaker in a film industry as he doesn’t have a healthy film industry one in back home. Regarding his take on inflation, he said that, as international students don’t actually own houses here, prices are very much of a concern before renting a place keeping other expenses in mind too.
He says cost of living in back home i.e. (Hong Kong) is more affordable. So, food costs less and due to no sales tax, its 13 percent cheaper.
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A Mc Meal at Mac Donald in Toronto would cost 15.00 Canadian dollars whereas it is 7.76 Canadian dollars in Hongkong. so, there is a difference of -48.3.
GIC , Guaranteed investment Certificate which is paid by international students has also been doubled, this change has impacted many international students who’s dream is to pursue studies in Canada .it has been increased by 10, 000 Canadian dollars to 20, 635 Canadian dollars . With Increasing inflation Students require more money to support living expenses of the year. Gic is valid for one year only making it challenging to manage expenses beyond that period without a job.
Due to such problems it has affected lifestyle of many students and not being able to support themselves they have to deal with mental illness. According to CBC news report , suicides rates of international students in Canada have also elevated . The report states that deaths of international students have been doubled that from the last year.
Are there effective measures ?
Canada decreased international student visas by thirty five percent and Immigration Minister Marc Miller believes that this is to help ease Canada’s crisis but some international students believe this is not a solution .
SSF president take on it
One of them is Akarshan Singh, president of Seneca student Federation who believes cutting down visa’s is not a great solution . He says, “I would say the main problem , which needs to be addressed are chronic conditions that we are in and if government addresses that there would be no need to put any sort of cap on anyone”.
He also stated that they have been writing letters to the college due to current circumstances and higher amount of fees.
How is Seneca helping students?
Akarshan told that Seneca has facilities like Food banks and release food events and they try to hire as much as staff financially as possible for them to help.
He also sees every international student as a success story who left their country to achieve this canadian dream .
Anticipating Resolution: The Future outlook
Will this issue persist, or people are going to opt out of choosing Toronto due to high expenses?
There are reasons to think that the prices of houses in Toronto might go down in the future in 2022 inflation was high so the Bank of Canada tried to reduce spending by making it more expensive to borrow money this was done by using the overnight rate the goal was to lower the demand for houses but dealing with inflation and its impact on economy could take long time.
The Bank of Canada latest report reveals that situation------- might not get back to normal until 2025 for people looking to buy homes especially those doing it for the first-time higher interest rates mean they can't afford as much for the mortgages.