Thank you, Mr. Dong, both for your question and for your ongoing advocacy regarding international students.
I want to take a moment to reiterate what a tremendous economic contributor this program is to our economy. It pumps approximately $21 billion into the economy each year. It also adds to our social fabric. The skills and experience that these international students bring to our post-secondary institutions are very significant.
I want to say that we have been engaged directly and extensively with our provincial partners, as well as the post-secondary institution leaders themselves. As a result of their feedback, as I mentioned in my opening remarks, we have made a number of modifications to the international student program to ensure its ongoing success. We have created additional flexibility around online classes to ensure that those who are here are able to take their online courses this spring semester in a way that will not penalize their ability to work after they graduate.
We've also made some similar modifications for those international students who are abroad and who had plans to come to attend school this spring but were not able to because of the travel restrictions that are in place. We have ensured that they are able to continue to participate in those programs.
As I mentioned as well, we have widened the parameters of the work permits that attach to student visas to ensure those who are taking a degree in the essential services sectors, such as, nursing or medicine, or those taking a diploma in health care work.... Think about the additional support those students can lend to our front lines, whether it's in a long-term retirement home or in hospitals where we know COVID-19 strikes very hard and very quickly.
When you put all of these measures together, you'll see that our government has truly committed to ensuring that the international student program is a success, while at the same time protecting the health and safety of all Canadians throughout this pandemic. Of course, when it comes to our intake process, we look forward to having some additional news for you in the not too distant future.