Health experts are applauding a new treatment guide aimed to help Canadian physicians better diagnose and treat new immigrant patients.
The 100-page document, Evidence-Based Clinical Guidelines for Immigrants and Refugees, was compiled and released this month by the Canadian Medical Association Journal. It provides guidelines to physicians on which illnesses they should be screening for, depending on where a person is arriving from, as well as information on ways that the doctor and patient can work together to prevent future ailments.
“Immigrants are coming [here] from 150 countries,” said guide co-author Dr. Kevin Pottie from the University of Ottawa. “Some of them come as refugees, some under family class. So, there’s a large diversity of needs and potential preventable and treatable illnesses [that] the average family doctor just isn’t thinking about.”
The guide informs doctors as to which vaccinations they should be giving their patients, as well as what diseases they should be screening for – diseases that are not as common in their Canadian patients such as Hepatitis B, diabetes and Anemia.
“There are physicians in rural Canada who may be just starting to see some of these diseases, and I think these guidelines will be immensely helpful to those people,” said Dr. Meb Rashid, a downtown Toronto physician who has been working with immigrants and refugees for eight years. “It’s well-organized and easy to reference.”
The report singles out refugees for their higher risk of depression and anxiety disorders. It also warns doctors of cultural sensitivities to which they may be unaware, such as possible stigmas surrounding contraceptives or women-specific health issues.
Dr. Pottie and his team are hoping to build a similar migrant health guide to be used by physicians at an international level.
Source: CBC News
A new survey has ranked Canada among the best nations in the world when it comes to starting a small business.
The report on entrepreneurship, compiled by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, ranked Canada third, behind only New Zealand and Australia, in terms of ease in starting a new business.
The countries were compared using 2007 data on the cost and time involved to start up. Thanks to many recent improvements at both the federal and provincial levels of government, the bureaucratic red tape has been kept to a minimum, and most entrepreneurs are relatively headache free at the start.
“There’s no question there have been steps taken to make it easier to get into business,” says Dan Kelly with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. “The challenge is that when firms start to grow, when they start to take on more staff, the rules and red tape start to balloon.”
Small Canadian businesses in certain sectors, such as service, tend to do better as they grow than others in, for example, the manufacturing industry. This trend is unusual among OECD countries where service companies tend to struggle.
The report also noted that immigrants are more likely to be running their own business than their Canadian counterparts. It is often easier for newcomers to start their own company, rather than to try to find an employer who will be able to fully utilize their skills.
Source: Globe and Mail
In light of the recent upturn in the provincial economy, officials in Alberta are calling on the federal government to increase immigration levels for skilled workers.
Thomas Lukaszuk, Alberta’s employment and immigration Minister, says it is time for focus to shift away from temporary foreign workers to permanent immigration as the primary source of foreign skilled labour.
“The federal government took in 280,000 new immigrants this year, the highest number ever, and that’s great,” said Lukaszuk. “But that record intake didn’t make a dent in the 360,000 temporary workers in the country.”
Lukaszuk points to the continuous strong figures in temporary workers as proof of the country’s ongoing needs in terms of labour, particularly now as the economy shows signs of recovery. At the same time, there are constant reminders from experts regarding the impending retirement of the baby-boomer generation, wherein hundreds of thousands of workers will retire with no one to take their place.
The minister also cites recent changes to the temporary foreign worker program, saying that new time limits on employment terms will likely make Canada a less attractive destination for these workers in the global market.
Just a few short years ago, Alberta experienced a massive economic boom, and employed more temporary foreign workers per capita than any other province. Officials say that skilled labour is key to continued recovery.
Source: Vancouver Sun
The city of Ottawa has announced a new plan that aims to attract and retain more immigrants to the Capital region.
The plan, which has been dubbed “The Ottawa Immigration Strategy,” has thus far attracted involvement from approximately 200 local groups at both the public and private level. The main focus of the plan will be to consolidate and organize the various services that are currently available to the city’s new arrivals.
In recent years, experts say, Ottawa has fallen behind most major urban centers across the country in terms of providing streamlined, user-friendly resettlement assistance to immigrants. It has also lagged in promoting itself to other regions and nations.
“We’re facing a lot more competition (from other cities),” says Dick Stewart who chairs the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership Council (OLIP). Ottawa can’t simply take it for granted that people will come here and stay here. … This is a call to action.”
Ottawa, Canada’s fourth largest city attracts approximately 12,000 new arrivals each year. Of those, just over half (6,300) are immigrants who plan to stay permanently. The others are either temporary workers or students.
The initiation of this plan illustrates how important immigrants are to the city – they account for 100 percent of the labour force growth and make up over one-fifth of the city’s population. The city recognizes the importance of addressing the needs of its immigrants if it wishes to remain competitive in the coming years.
A new report has found that the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program has substantially benefited the province in terms of increased revenues, jobs, skilled labour and investment.
The report, released by accounting and business advisory firm Grant Thornton LLP, looked at the specific cases of entrepreneurs, skilled workers and students who arrived in B.C. between 2005 and 2010 through the PNP, which allows for the province to select individuals for nomination based on skills, assets, experience, etc. Their applications for permanent residency are then “fast-tracked” at the federal stage.
Between all 203 entrepreneurs who arrived in the province during this period, approximately $423 million was invested into the economy and over 1,000 jobs were created. Of the investors who came, 93 percent are still in B.C. and three-quarters have purchased homes in the province.
During that same time, another 10,000 workers arrived in B.C. through the PNP and contributed their skills to 4,600 businesses in Canada.
Almost all of the skilled workers and students who were nominated through the PNP are still in the province today.
“With only about 650,000 young people in our K-12 education system today, [the] projected growth in job openings will significantly outpace the growth in the number of available workers over the next decade,” writes Pat Bell, B.C.’s Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation in an article for the Vancouver Sun.
“The B.C. Provincial Nominee Program helps ensure we are better able to meet these needs and creates greater prosperity and jobs, meeting the demand for workers and entrepreneurs in key sectors of our economy and in all regions of the province.”
Source: Vancouver Sun
Critics are speaking out against anticipated changes to the refugee system which are intended to reduce the backlog of 47,300 claimants.
The changes, which are expected to come into effect this December, would force the old claims onto the “backburner” while new claims are assessed, appealed and administered within one year.
“It [the change] will be a gift for claimants with fabricated stories because now they can wait to stay in Canada for as long as possible,” said one Toronto immigration lawyer, who added that genuine claimants will be adversely affected as well.
However Immigration Minister Jason Kenney stands by the move, saying that his department will not be able to evaluate the new rules if they do not allow new cases to go through in advance of others.
“We want to see what’d actually happen under the new system rather than making assumptions and projections, which are a guessing game,” said Minister Kenney. “We are focused on the new system that would hopefully deter bogus claimants from clogging up the system and provide protection to bona fide refugees. It’s our hope that by deterring false claimants in the future that we will be able to continue reducing the backlog.”
Citizenship and Immigration Canada recently made a similar move in the skilled worker immigration class in an attempt to decrease that backlog, which saw some applicants waiting up to seven years for assessment. New applicants are assessed within 12 to 18 months and the backlog has been reduced by nearly half, according to government estimates.
Source: Toronto Star
The newly re-elected Conservative Government has announced that it will lower the quota on applications for permanent residency for the coming year, starting this month.
Last July, the Citizenship and Immigration Canada reduced the number of applications under the skilled worker category to 20,000 and allowed applications only from those whose experience falls under one of 29 occupations listed as being in most demand. This strategy was part of their continued efforts to decrease the massive backlog that has some individuals waiting upwards of eight years for assessment.
The list of 29 occupations remains unchanged for the coming year. However, instead of accepting 1,000 applications for each, CIC will only accept 500 for processing and has lowered the overall quota to 10,000. These quotas apply only to individuals who do not have a valid offer of employment in Canada.
“Canada continues to welcome historically high numbers of new immigrants each year, but the Government continues to receive applications that far exceed this number,” said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney upon announcing the plan. “If we don’t keep putting reasonable limits on new applications, backlogs and wait times will grow.”
Indeed, the strategy appears to be working, as the number of applications waiting in the “backlog” – those filed before November of 2008 – has been reduced by about half, according to the latest government estimates.
Minister Kenney also announced that the number of applications for federal investor category will be capped at 700, while the federal entrepreneur applications stream is now under a “temporary moratorium” until policymakers meet in the coming month to review strategy.
Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Canada’s Immigration Minister is touring the country this month to consult with private and public policy experts on immigration.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has kicked off the tour in Calgary with plans to stop in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. He and the department of Citizenship and Immigration will also open the consultations to the public next month via the internet.
“We want people’s views on what is the right mix of our various immigration programs, how do we ensure that immigrants succeed economically, because when immigrants get good jobs, Canada succeeds,” Kenney said when starting his tour, wherein he will meet with individuals from resettlement organizations, community groups and private employers.
Last year the government admitted 281,000 new permanent residents, which was more than the planned target of 265,000. Only about 30 percent of those new residents were under economic categories – meaning those chosen for their potential to contribute to the economy through their skills, education and experience.
Many policymakers are calling on the government to increase immigration levels in the coming years, as the economy recovers and new labour shortages are anticipated. However, the government thus far seems hesitant to risk over-burdening the system.
“We [the government] do not have the resources or ability to integrate a million new immigrants every year,” said notes from Kenney that were released this week. “We can’t teach them English or French. We can’t flood our taxpayer-funded services like health care and public education. We don’t put such high pressure on housing and real estate markets.”
The government hopes that these national consultations will help them to better address the application backlog and ensure that those immigrants whose skills are most in demand will be favoured.
Sources: Calgary Herald
Canada’s smallest province is undergoing a demographic transformation, due to a large influx of immigrants, particularly those of Chinese descent, in recent years.
This news comes as a surprise to many, not only because of Prince Edward Island’s relative size and lack of metropolitan centres compared to other provinces, but also because it is situated on Canada’s Atlantic coast – not exactly the most accessible destination for those arriving from Asia.
Yet, a destination it has become. Since the province began immigrant recruitment through the Provincial Nominee Program in 2001, Prince Edward Island has welcomed over 10,000 newcomers into its approximately 143,200 population.
However, locals and experts are noticing that a high proportion of newcomers seem to be arriving from China. In fact, approximately 2,400 Chinese immigrants arrived in the province between 2006 and 2009 – many of them seeking out promises of business and investment opportunities. As a result, several banks have added Mandarin to their automatic machines and some local businesses are seeking employees who can communicate with Chinese immigrants.
“Once the economy [in China] got better, and once people’s pockets got deeper, they wanted to explore opportunities outside China,” says Frank Zhou, a Chinese entrepreneur who immigrated to Prince Edward Island in 2004. “The only way to make [Chinese immigrants] stay in the province is to show them the business opportunities here.”
Experts say that these successful immigrants are attracted to Prince Edward Island for what it has to offer beyond the traditional “Chinatowns” found in most major North American cities.
“The [Chinese immigrants] are interested in beautiful homes, with water views or right on the waterfront,” says local realtor Hamish Redpath. “They have lived in Beijing all their lives and they talked to me about the pollution and the crazy traffic, so to come here and have five acres and a little farmhouse for a couple hundred thousand bucks is a dream come true.”
Source: National Post
Like many other cities across the country, Toronto is currently undergoing a demographic transformation thanks to the arrival of immigrants from various ethnic backgrounds – particularly those of South Asian heritage.
For several years now South Asians have comprised the largest visible minority group in the city, overtaking Chinese citizens since at least 2006. Experts estimate that by 2031, one in four Torontonians will be of South Asian descent – a group which includes Indians, Pakistanis and Sri Lankans among others.
Between 1996 and 2006, approximately 266,000 immigrants arrived in the city from South Asian countries, making this region the largest source of newcomers. Accordingly, many more South Asian businesses have sprung up around the city, which has not gone unnoticed.
“I’ve seen tremendous changes,” said Pradeep Sood, a local businessman. “Now I can get Indian groceries a stone’s throw from where I am. I can count at least seven or eight Indian restaurants within a two-mile radius of my house.”
However, it is not just Indian communities that are growing. South Asian immigrants, as a group, are becoming more diverse and more skilled, according to recent data. More are able to speak either English or French, and more are arriving in the country as skilled workers.
Experts say that the challenge for the city in the coming years will be to make sure that these immigrants are successfully integrated to avoid ethnic “pockets” of poverty and marginalization.
Source: Globe and Mail