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August 13, 2012
Toronto's welcome booths for international students at Pearson International Airport
This afternoon, Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37 Scarborough Centre), Chair of Toronto's Economic Development Committee, and Chisanga Puta-Chekwe, Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, launched the City of Toronto's International Students Airport Welcome program at Pearson International Airport.

This initiative is sponsored by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, Scotiabank, Rogers Communications, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) and Tim Hortons.

"International students have a significant and broad impact on Toronto's economy," said Councillor Thompson. "By welcoming them on their arrival, and helping them get their bearings in Canada, we acknowledge their importance to our city and show that we care about the success of their educational experience in Toronto."

Others attending the event include: Winnie Leong, Vice President, Multicultural Banking, Scotiabank; Steven Sarfin, Senior Director, FIDO & Multicultural Marketing, Rogers Communications; Lorrie McKee, Director, Public Affairs and Communications, GTAA; and Renee Kenny, Associate Vice President of Business Development, Centennial College.

The program, which will run until September 10, features welcome booths located in the International Arrivals Areas of Terminals 1 and 3. International students can visit the booths to receive welcome kits containing information regarding transportation, accommodation and details about how to connect with their academic institutions. Students also have an opportunity to call home for free, courtesy of Rogers Communications.

Last year, an Airport Welcome pilot program ran for 15 days and it assisted 1,146 new international students. This year, the program has been extended to 30 days to reach even more students. The welcome booths are staffed by students from participating colleges and universities and will operate daily with the following schedule:

• 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. until August 17
• 7 a.m. - 11 p.m. from August 18 to September 3
• 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. from September 4 to 10

Academic Partners of the program include: the University of Toronto, York University, Ryerson University, OCAD University, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, George Brown College, Humber College, Centennial College, Seneca College, Sheridan College, Western University, McMaster University, University of Guelph, Durham College and Fanshawe College. Languages Canada, a national level not-for-profit organization, is also a partner.

In addition to the Airport Welcome program, the City of Toronto, together with its sponsors and partners, will produce an International Students Festival at Nathan Phillips Square on October 6 from noon to 4 p.m. Open to all international students and their families and friends, the festival will feature food, entertainment, awards and prizes.

Toronto is Canada's largest centre for international students with more than 26,000 students from more than 100 countries enrolled in post-secondary academic institutions. In 2010, international students brought almost $850 million into Toronto's economy generating more than 9,000 jobs. These figures are expected to rise to $1.52 billion and 13,000 jobs by the year 2015. The Toronto region also received 11,825 more tourists in 2010 from families and friends visiting the students.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.7 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Media Contact
John Gosgnach
Communications Manager



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