OTTAWA (AFP) - Canada wants to double the number of foreign students enrolled at its universities as well as researchers to 450,000 by 2020, Trade Minister Ed Fast announced on Wednesday.
The hope is that the world's brightest minds choose to study and work in Canada, and possibly stay after graduating, fuelling innovation and boosting the economy.
"Our government recognises that international education is a key driver of jobs and prosperity in every region of Canada," Mr Fast said in a statement.
The government has earmarked C$5 million (S$5.8 million) annually to support the objective. The monies will be primarily used to market Canadian schools in six key markets.
Another C$13 million will be allocated to a not-for-profit organisation that facilitates student mobility between Canada and Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Turkey and Vietnam.
Mr Fast said the push would not impact Canadians' access to post-secondary education, but rather would grow the schools to accommodate larger enrolment.
Canadians' tuition is subsidised by the government while foreign students typically pay full price.
Despite offering higher average wages than in the United States, Canadian universities have had trouble retaining foreign researchers and professors who complained about the nation's frigid winters.