• Mayor Iain Lovatt has announced that Fleming College will no longer pursue plans to open a campus in Stouffville.
  • Last fall, the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville and Fleming College signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore the idea.
  • By March, Fleming was preparing to lease a Main Street location for a possible Fall 2024 opening.
  • However, new Federal policies aimed at reducing the intake of international students have led to substantial revenue losses for Fleming.
  • Without these revenues, which were earmarked for such capital projects, Fleming decided to cancel their Stouffville expansion.
  • “We will continue to seek out partners like Fleming College, because our kids deserve the opportunity to stay close to home and get an education if they so choose,” Lovatt promised.
  • Both parties hope to revisit the concept should policy changes or future provincial support make it feasible.


In early 2024, the Federal Government implemented two policy decisions that influenced Fleming’s decision. First, they imposed a stricter cap on the number of new international students eligible for study permits in Canada, which is expected to reduce approved permits by 35% throughout 2024.

“Some institutions have significantly increased their intakes to drive revenues, and more students have been arriving in Canada without the proper supports they need to succeed,” explained a news release from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). “Rapid increases in the number of international students arriving in Canada also puts pressure on housing, health care and other services.”

This policy will remain in place until 2026, with 2025 intake rates to be determined later this year. “During this period, the Government of Canada will continue to work with…stakeholders on developing a sustainable path forward for international students, including finalizing a recognized institution framework, determining long-term sustainable levels of international students, and ensuring post-secondary institutions are able to provide adequate levels of student housing,” the news release adds.

Additionally, IRCC has removed the ability for international students to obtain work permits following the completion of studies under post-secondary curriculum licensing arrangements. These programs, which involve public college curriculums taught through private colleges, have been a significant draw for international students. According to IRCC, “they have less oversight than public colleges and they act as a loophole with regards to post-graduation work permit eligibility.”

Fleming College anticipates significant revenue losses due to these decisions. “Fleming will lose more than $38 Million in revenue from our [private] partner that was intended for leasehold improvements and other capital investments,” Maureen Adamson, Fleming College President, explained in a May letter to Mayor Lovatt. “Any funds for for capital reinvestment in expanded campuses has been eliminated.”

According to reporting from Joelle Kovach and The Peterborough Examiner, international students account for more than half of Fleming’s student body. Boosting international student enrolment allowed the college to recover from COVID-19 deficits and helps to subsidize operations and program delivery.

“We remain hopeful and excited to work with you and your team, and to provide much needed graduates to your region,” Adamson added. “If there is any relief from the Province regarding our private partner and its continued viability, we would most certainly want to resume our conversation with you.”

Mayor Lovatt first publicly addressed the prospective Fleming campus during a February 2024 Council meeting. He did so while tabling a resolution urging the Federal Government to reconsider these policy decisions, which Council supported.

Lovatt’s frustration with Fleming’s forced withdrawal is evident in a recent post on his website, where he highlighted his long-standing advocacy for a Stouffville post-secondary institution since joining Council in 2014.

“The Federal Government pulled the rug out from under us…To cap public colleges with strong reputations like Fleming is just stupid, in my mind,” Lovatt wrote. “There were some seriously bad actors…that were abusing the Federal program and international students, which is deplorable, [but] the Feds should just shut them down and put them out of business.”

In a June 10, 2024 letter to IRCC Minister Marc Miller, Lovatt expressed his disappointment and requested a meeting to discuss the situation. He argued that the new policies are both overreaching and economically detrimental, emphasizing the importance of quality and local education options as key to responsible community growth.

“I hope that the Federal Government will see the error in their ways and reinstate the ability for Fleming College to partner in educating international students,” the Mayor added on his website. “If they do, we may get a Fleming Stouffville Campus sooner than later.”