Facts and stats

Get the most up-to-date statistics on Canadian universities.

Overview

  • 1.7M
    students at Canadian universities in 2016

    There were 1,016,000 full-time students and 290,000 part-time students in 2016.

    Source: Universities Canada estimates, 2016.
  • 1.6M
    new jobs

    Between March 2008 and March 2017, 1,574,200 new jobs were created for university graduates – almost three times those created for graduates of all other types of postsecondary education combined.

    Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, 2008-2017.
  • $35B
    enterprise

    As a $35 billion enterprise in direct expenditures, universities are significant drivers of economic prosperity. They provide employment for close to 250,000 people.

    Source: Statistics Canada, Financial Information of Universities and Colleges Survey and Labour Force Survey, 2014.

Data tables

Indigenous education

Closing the gap for Indigenous students

  • 71%
    increasing Indigenous leadership

    Well over two-thirds of Canada’s universities are working to include Indigenous representation within their governance or leadership structures.

    Source: Universities Canada survey, 2017.
  • 65%
    Indigenizing research

    Two-thirds of universities are incorporating Indigenous knowledge, methods and protocols into and teaching policies, programs and practices.

    Source: Universities Canada survey, 2017.
  • 78%
    offering intercultural engagement

    Seventy-eight percent of universities promote intercultural engagement through cultural activities, events, talking circles and cultural competency or reconciliation training.

    Source: Universities Canada survey, 2017.
  • 69%
    do community outreach

    More than two-thirds of Canadian universities reach out to prospective Indigenous students to inform them of available services, programs and supports.

    Source: Universities Canada survey, 2017.
  • 70%
    partnering with Indigenous communities

    Just over 70% of universities have a partnership with Indigenous communities and organizations to foster dialogue and reconciliation.

    Source: Universities Canada survey, 2017.
  • 55%
    increase in Indigenous academic programs

    Since 2013 there has been a 55% increase in the number of academic programs that include an Indigenous focus or are designed for Indigenous students.

    Source: Universities Canada survey, 2017.

Hands-on learning

Providing students with career-boosting learning opportunities

  • 80%
    of employers

    Four out of five employers surveyed say co-op and internship students are a source of new talent and potential future employees.

    Source: Leger Marketing employer survey for Universities Canada, 2014.
  • 55%
    of undergraduates

    More than half of today’s undergraduates benefit from experiential learning – such as co-ops, internships and service learning – as part of their university education.

    Source: Canadian University Survey Consortium, Graduating University Student Survey, 2015.
  • 25%
    growth in co-ops

    Enrolment in co-op programs at universities has jumped by 25 percent in recent years, from 53,000 students in 2006 to 65,000 students in 2013.

    Source: Based on data from the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education, 2006-2013.
  • $65K+
    Arts grads earn good incomes

    Social science and humanities grads share in the income premium for university graduates. For example, full-time workers with degrees in history earn, on average, above $65,000 annually.

    Source: Statistics Canada, National Household Survey, 2011.
  • 32
    universities are business incubators

    Thirty-two universities are members of the Canadian Association of Business Incubators, a national association that supports the growth of new and early-stage businesses.

    Source: Canadian Association of Business Incubators, 2015.
  • 55%
    of leaders are liberal arts grads

    The social sciences and humanities make up more than half of bachelor’s degrees among current professional leaders with higher education qualifications, across 30 countries and all sectors.

    Source: British Council, Educational Pathways of Leaders: an international comparison, 2015.

Studying across borders

Fostering cross-cultural competencies and adaptability

  • 3.1%
    study abroad

    Only 3.1% of students, or about 11% of students over the course of a degree, undertake an international mobility experience (including exchanges, internships, co-op placements and volunteer opportunities).

    Sources: Universities Canada Internationalization Survey, 2014; National Survey Student Engagement, updated NSSE 2015 and 2016.
  • 80%
    see career benefit

    More than 80% of employers that hire recruits with cross-cultural understanding and knowledge of the global marketplace say these employees enhance their company’s competitiveness.

    Source: Leger Marketing employer survey for Universities Canada, 2014.
  • 91%
    of universities say funding a challenge

    Although 78 percent of universities provide some funding to support study abroad initiatives, 91 percent say that lack of funds is one of the top three reasons for low student mobility rates.

    Source: Universities Canada Internationalization Survey, 2014
  • 10%
    of students leave their province

    Current estimates suggest that only one in 10 young Canadians crosses a provincial border to complete their university degree.

    Source: Statistics Canada, Postsecondary Student Information System, 2012.
  • 97%
    offer international experiences

    The majority of universities offer their students international experiences such as academic coursework, field schools, volunteer work, research abroad and foreign work experience.

    Source: Universities Canada Internationalization Survey, 2014.
  • 2/3
    of managers say Canada at risk

    Two out of three hiring managers say Canada is at risk of being left behind dynamic global economies like China, India and Brazil unless young Canadians learn to think more globally.

    Source: Leger Marketing employer survey for Universities Canada, 2014.

Research and innovation

Positioning Canada as a global leader in research and innovation

  • $13B
    in R&D

    Universities performed $13 billion in R&D in 2014, accounting for 40 percent of total Canadian research and development.

    Source: Statistics Canada, Gross Domestic Expenditures on R&D in Canada, 2016.
  • $1B
    in research for business

    Canada’s universities conduct $1 billion in research for businesses and help build their competitive advantage.

    Source: Statistics Canada, Gross Domestic Expenditures on R&D in Canada, 2016.
  • $1.2B
    in research for not-for-profit sector

    Universities conduct $1.2 billion in research annually for the not-for-profit sector, which has nearly tripled since 2000.

    Source: Statistics Canada, Gross Domestic Expenditures on R&D in Canada, 2016.
  • 1,500
    companies in university research parks

    Nearly 1,500 companies and government labs are located in 26 university research and technology parks. They employ about 65,000 people and generate $4.3 billion in GDP.

    Source: Association of University Research Parcs Canada, National Economic Impact Study, 2013.
  • 40%
    of faculty are internationally trained

    Forty percent of faculty at Canadian universities have at least one international degree.

    Source: Statistics Canada, University and College Academic Staff System, 2010-2011.
  • 30%
    decrease in funding

    A shift in funding away from federal research councils caused a decrease of over 30% in available real resources per researcher, between 2007 and 2015.

    Source: Canada’s Fundamental Science Review Report, 2017.
Universities Canada