About Us

Who we are. What we do.
Why we do it.

Our Vision. Our Goals.

Global Skills Opportunity is funded by Employment and Social Development Canada. While jointly administered by Colleges and Institutes Canada and Universities Canada, the programming is delivered to students via their post-secondary institutions (PSIs) through multi-year projects. Colleges, institutes, and universities each play an important role in preparing young Canadians for future opportunities.

Global Skills Opportunity recognizes that barriers to participation in international learning opportunities will vary between institutions. The parameters are purposefully broad to ensure PSIs across the country can propose projects that meet the needs of their students.

Global Skills Opportunity at a Glance

“The first thing that happens when young Canadians travel abroad is their curiosity becomes enhanced by exposure to differences. The second thing that happens is their judgment becomes better because they don’t accept the first evidence and they don’t come into something with a prejudice. They look for the other side of the story. The third thing that happens is that they become more tolerant. You’re different and I am interested in why you are different. And fourth they become more empathetic—I learn to walk in another person’s shoes. That, to me, should be the signature of what is a Canadian.”

The Right Honourable David Johnston

Chair, Rideau Hall Foundation and Chair, Global Skills Opportunity Advisory Group

Advisory Group

Colleges and Institutes Canada and Universities Canada have convened an advisory group of leaders and experts in education, civil society and business to provide high-level strategic advice and guidance on the design and implementation of the program. In addition to informing strategic and policy issues, committee members also serve as ambassadors to build awareness and support for the program across their networks.

The Right Honourable David Johnston, C.C.

Governor General of Canada, 2010-2017, Chair of the Rideau Hall Foundation

Elizabeth Kwan

Senior Researcher, Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)

Zabeen Hirji

Strategic Advisor Private & Public Sector, Corporate Director, and Not-for-Profit Board Chair, Former Chief Human Resources Officer, Royal Bank of Canada

Louisane LeBlanc

Student Representative, Université de Montréal, Doctoral candidate in translation

Seren Friskie

Research Assistant, Thompson Rivers University and Douglas College

Tabatha Bull

President & CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business

Sue Paish, Q.C.

CEO, Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster

Margaret Biggs

Matthews Fellow in Global Public Policy, Queen’s University

Larissa Bezo

President and CEO, Canadian Bureau for International Education

The Honourable Christian Paradis

Senior Vice President, Strategic Development, Security Services at GardaWorld

Ian D. Smith

Chief Executive Officer, Clearwater Seafoods

The Honourable Perrin Beatty

P.C., O.C., President and CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

John Baker

President & CEO, D2L

Government of Canada and the
International Education Strategy

Global Skills Opportunity is an integral component of the Government of Canada’s five-year International Education Strategy, Building on Success. Launched in 2019, it “aims to diversify the education sector, boost Canada’s innovation capacity, promote global ties and foster a vibrant Canadian economy.” Outbound student mobility is noted as one of several priorities of the strategy. Specifically, it highlights the importance of international experiences that offer students exposure to new cultures and ideas in destinations for work or study abroad that are less traditional but key global markets.

The International Education Strategy also aims to increase competition for international students, diversify Canada’s international student base (in terms of where they study and where they come from), improve inbound mobility and focus on the future of work.