As diplomatic ties between Canada and India hit an all-time low, Thompson Rivers University’s president says support is available to international students from India and reassures Canada is a “safe and welcoming place.”
Brett Fairbairn, TRU’s president and vice-chancellor, said in a report to be presented to the university’s board this week that TRU World is closely monitoring the evolving diplomatic crisis between the two counties.
“During this difficult time, we are communicating with our students, reassuring them that Canada is a safe and welcoming place,” the report reads.
“And reminding them of the strong support services and mental health services TRU provides.”
Fairbairn said students from India are urged to reach out to student advisors as needed.
According to the president’s report, 44 per cent of international students attending TRU are from India, the next highest being 11 per cent from Nigeria.
While domestic registrations have decreased slightly, the report said the international student demographic is continuing to grow, particularly from India.
As of Friday, the university has seen a 23 per cent increase in international enrolment and a 24 per cent increase in course registrations compared to the same time period last year, despite lower applications and admission overall.
To handle the influx, applications to the university’s post-baccalaureate business program, bachelor of computing science and graduate certificate in educational studies were closed early to keep international headcount to the university’s goal of 4,000 students. According to the university, 4,663 international students are currently registered.
Last Thursday, India’s visa processing centre in Canada was suspended after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there were “credible allegations” of Indian involvement in the assassination of Sikh independence activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in a Vancouver suburb in June.
The claim led to each country expelling a diplomat from the other, as India called the allegations "absurd."