International students looking to study at an elite university find Canada an attractive option. Five of Canada's top ten universities, according to QS rankings, are located in Ontario, including: the University of Toronto, McMaster University, the University of Waterloo, Western University and Queen's University. According to a new study by QS Digital Solutions (QS), Canada places among the top five countries in the world for educational system strength, ahead of France, the Netherlands and all Asian countries. The index is the first time QS has published a ranking designed to assess the system of higher education in its entirety.

QS used data from its QS World University Rankings to create a list of the world's top 50 higher education systems. Each country was ranked on four criteria: system strength, access, flagship institution and economic context.

Canada's higher education system strength

The strength of Canada's overall education system is gauged according to 2015/16 QS World University rankings, with each country receiving a score based upon the number of its universities ranked within the world's top 700. Canada has 26 institutions within the top 700, three of which are in the top 50 and 10 more in the top 300.

Access to world-class higher education in Canada

Ontario alone has 44 colleges and universities students may choose from. QS evaluates access to Canada's higher education system by calculating the number of places available at universities ranked within the top 500, divided by an indicator of population size.

Canada's flagship educational institutions

The flagship category assesses the performance of the country's leading institutions. In Ontario, the provincial and federal governments are dedicated to developing flagship institutions such as the University of Toronto, which places second in the world in research performance.

The economic context of national investment in higher education

The final category compares each nation's financial situation to its performance in the international rankings using the GDP per capita for each country.

Read the report: The Strongest Higher Education Systems by Country – Overview

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