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The Expatriate Mind on LoonLoungeThe Globe and Mail - Obamacare vs. Canada: Five key differences

Posted on Oct. 16th 2013 by expatriatemind
views: 324, comments: 0
Antonia Maioni wrote an informative piece the other day about the primary differences between Canada's health system, and the so-called Obamacare system which has just debuted in full in the United States (as well as triggering both a showdown from the Republicans and a shutdown of the government's non-priority services).

To summarize, here are the five big differences Maioni noted, in my own words:

- It's way more complicated - and now even more so. Canada may have two-tiers of health care, but in the US, there are more tiers than an Ed Mirvish high rise project.
- It's not universal - In Canada, every legal resident is entitled to health care. In the US, not so much. Not everyone gets care under Obamacare: the only thing everyone gets is the right to be able to purchase some level of health care insurance. Woohoo.
- It isn't a "national" program - In Canada, we can expect a common level of benefit, no matter what province is administering the health care plan. In the US, there is and will continue to be a wild state by state variation on the type and range of coverages available to citizens.
- It's not fair - health care in the US is still a "pay to play" system. If you can't afford good care - you simply aren't going to get it. While we've got to wait in Canada, in general, we are all waiting for a high standard of care.
- It will not contain costs - Obamacare will do nothing in the long run to reign in the cost of health care in the US. As Maioni notes, "Governments in Canada know that health care is a searing financial responsibility, but they have at their disposal cost containment measures – monopoly fee negotiations with providers, global budgets for hospitals – that remain unfathomable in the American context."

Read the excellent article in full HERE - http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/obamacare-vs-canada-five-key-differences/article14657740/

Follow The Expatriate Mind at - http://expatriatemind.blogspot.ca/

Get the Expatriate Mind's new books,"How To Immigrate To Canada For Skilled Workers: The Authoritative Guide To Federal And Provincial Opportunities" and "How To Immigrate To Canada In The Family Class: The Authoritative Guide Including Québec And Super Visa Opportunities" at Amazon, Sony, Apple iBookstore and other popular retailers.

The Expatriate MInd on LoonLounge - Preparing for the Canadian citizenship test

Posted on Sep. 16th 2013 by expatriatemind
views: 301, comments: 0
In a little over a year, I'll be applying for Canadian citizenship. I'm excited by the possibility of becoming a citizen of my new country, and there is the added benefit that I don't have to give up my US citizenship unless I chose to.

One of the major parts of the application process is the citizenship test. Any individual between 18 and 54 who meets the basic requirements for citizenship has to take this test.

There are lots of ways to prepare for the test, including classes, books, even apps (like in the Google Android Play store). In order to prepare, I have been using two apps that CIC offers. One is the app version of Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship. This study guide is offered in many forms, including print and PDF. The app makes the content available, in a primitive way, to smartphones and tablets. I am also using CIC's sample test generator, How Canadian are you , eh?

Why am I using just the CIC's tools? Simple. It is only the content found in Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship that you will be tested on. Any other material you might learn about will be good for you and your understanding of Canada, but you will only be tested on the content of that study guide.

The guidebook is a challenge. It's poorly written, with fact after fact jammed in one on top of the other. And the test might ask you about any of them, in a number of ways. For instance, here's a fact from the guide:

The Vikings from Iceland who colonized Greenland 1,000 years ago also reached Labrador and the island of Newfoundland. The remains of their settlement, l’Anse aux Meadows, are a World Heritage site.

And that fact could be part of the test in the following ways:
What peoples reached Labrador and Newfoundland 1,000 years ago?
Which Canadian site is listed as a World Heritage site?
Where did the Vikings who reached Labrador and Newfoundland come from?
How many years ago did Vikings first visit Canada?

So, you have to know this material inside and out. That's why I'm only focusing on the CIC materials. If you are taking a class, be sure that they teach from this source as well. It really is the information, the only information, that the test will be based on!

Follow The Expatriate Mind at - http://expatriatemind.blogspot.ca/

Get the Expatriate Mind's new books,"How To Immigrate To Canada For Skilled Workers: The Authoritative Guide To Federal And Provincial Opportunities" and "How To Immigrate To Canada In The Family Class: The Authoritative Guide Including Québec And Super Visa Opportunities" at Amazon, Sony, Apple iBookstore and other popular retailers.

The Expatriate Mind on LoonLounge - Canadian Citizenship Applicants Face Long Delays, Reforms Underway

Posted on Jul. 26th 2013 by expatriatemind
views: 676, comments: 0
According to recent statistics, individuals who are eligible for Canadian citizenship today may not become citizens in time to vote in the 2015 federal election. Delays in application processing, which range from 21 to 29 months, have left over 24,000 individuals waiting to take the final step in their journey to becoming Canadian.

Since 2006, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) says that an increase in Canadian permanent residents has led to a 30% increase in demand for Canadian citizenship. Without sufficient resources to process this growing demand, significant backlogs have formed. While the government is taking steps to ensure that processing times are reduced, change has been slow for those already waiting in the queue.

Sound familiar? Increased demand, staffing issues, growing backlogs? Minister Kenney and the Harper Government can't say they didn't see this coming.

One of their solutions to the backlog is to make citizenship actually take longer and make it more expensive for permanent residents. The expense and delay are a two-fold tool: proving your fluency in one of Canada's official languages now requires a third-party test (starting at $150.00 CAD if you can't prove your fluency by other means); the delay comes because you have to pass this test before you can apply. Should you fail the citizenship knowledge test, the delay you will experience comes in scheduling a make-up test. Previously, a citizenship judge would determine whether those who did not pass the Canadian knowledge test were still eligible for citizenship. Adding time and expense to any process are sure methods of creating attrition. The Harper Government plays this card well.

Read the article here - http://www.cicnews.com/2013/06/canadian-citizenship-applicants-face-long-delays-reforms-underway-062543.html

Follow The Expatriate Mind at - http://expatriatemind.blogspot.ca/

Get the Expatriate Mind's new books,"How To Immigrate To Canada For Skilled Workers: The Authoritative Guide To Federal And Provincial Opportunities" and "How To Immigrate To Canada In The Family Class: The Authoritative Guide Including Québec And Super Visa Opportunities" at Amazon, Sony, Apple iBookstore and other popular retailers.

The Expatriate Mind on Loon Lounge - Reflections from the USA

Posted on Jul. 9th 2013 by expatriatemind
views: 324, comments: 1
In just over a month I will mark two full years since my immigration to Canada from the US. It really is confounding, how quickly time flies. I am currently back in "the old country", visiting family and friends in Seattle, and having a good time of it.

What I notice when I come back home (yes, it will always be home too) are a couple things. First off, life goes on without me. No matter all the emotion I built into leaving, almost like dying; the truth is that people adjust, get on with their lives, and don't miss you nearly as much as you think they should! I always make an effort to let people know when I'll be back in town, and it still saddens me, how few make an effort to make time to see me during my brief visits. But its okay - I'm getting used to a different set of expectations.

The other thing I notice is very environmental. Toronto and Seattle are both cities on bodies of water: for Toronto, it's Lake Ontario; for Seattle, it's Elliot Bay, but there is a distinctly different feel. The difference is due to the salt air in Seattle. A little geography: Elliot Bay is a salt-water bay on Puget Sound, which is connected via the Strait of Juan De Fuca to the mighty Pacific Ocean. The salt air from these bodies is ever present, and the feel and smell of the air is distinct from the brine of Lake Ontario. When I come back, the air is something I miss a lot.

If you're an immigrant, please share some of your observations. I know from letters I receive that many people benefit from our shared experiences.

One more thing I notice, is that after I time here, I want to get back home to my Love - and that is Toronto. I'm happy there, and so grateful Canada welcomed me.

Follow The Expatriate Mind at - http://expatriatemind.blogspot.ca/

Get the Expatriate Mind's new books,"How To Immigrate To Canada For Skilled Workers: The Authoritative Guide To Federal And Provincial Opportunities" and "How To Immigrate To Canada In The Family Class: The Authoritative Guide Including Québec And Super Visa Opportunities" at Amazon, Sony, Apple iBookstore and other popular retailers.

My Landing Story

Posted on Mar. 30th 2010 by jhbsgirl
views: 1079, comments: 18
I landed in Canada on March 20th over the land border at the Peace Bridge outside Buffalo, NY. The process was mostly quite smooth.

I drove up with my packed car, my animals' crates taking up most of the back seat, and my trunk packed solidly with just a few belongings. I had made an inventory of what I had with me and what was being shipped separately. I had my animals' paperwork and what I *thought* was enough for my car. (More on that later.)

The agent at the drive-up kiosk waved me through after just a minute or so, and told me to pull over to the side and go into a building there. I did as asked (I parked in parking spot 15) and went in. The wait there was fairly short, and the agent that checked me in to Canada reviewed my dependent information (i.e. ensuring that I still had no dependents!) and within 10 minutes he had stamped my visa, gave me some papers, and said, "Welcome to Canada!"

Then I had to go to the Customs counter, which was across the same room. This agent was less friendly, I am afraid. It was all triggered by my car. I make payments on it, and do not own it outright---a common enough occurrence. I thought I had all my paperwork in order, but she insisted that I could not import it without the title, and I can't get the title till it's paid for. Last week my husband tried to get a loan so th at we could pay for it, but he was turned down, so I have to figure out a way to return the car to the people from whom I bought it. It makes me a bit sad, but it's not a huge deal. When I get a job here I will save up a down payment and get another. In the meantime, I am the nutty person with Florida license plates driving around my city!

At any rate, after I talked about 20 minutes with Customs, and she took a copy of my list of items shipped separately, we were on our way. I was upset because of the snafu with the car, but I was also relieved to have been let in. This was it. I had arrived. We drove the rest of the way to Brampton in less than two hours. It took me several days for it to really sink in!

My first Monday I went right to Service Canada and was there when they opened. Within 15 minutes I had my SIN. I went from there to the drive license office, which TOOK FOREVER. I should have left and gone back the next morning, but I ended up waiting almost 5 hours. I recommend bringing evidence of your driving experience/length of time you have been driving with you. as I had some issues with mine. (Well, at least in Ontario this is important.) Also, it depends what country you are from. I am from what is called a "reciprocal country", where I can just trade my license in with no further testing.

The following day I went to Service Ontario and signed up for my health card. That won't kick in for three months, unfortunately, but luckily I stocked up on enough insulin that I should be just fine.

So, at this point that's all. I got my SIN card in the mail today, and hope to get my Ontario license in the mail soon. I am actively job hunting. I am here, and I am legal to work in Canada. I am with my husband. Ths is it. This is what I have waited for so long. :)

Now, if I can just get a job...

English Phonics

Posted on Sep. 24th 2009 by Labor Shortage
views: 696, comments: 1
Practice the 42 sounds of the English language. Watch my videos at http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=674BAD87A5280224 New videos uploaded weekly. Enjoy!

Must-read success story

Posted on Sep. 16th 2009 by Loonie
views: 906, comments: 0
Here's a must-read story about a young immigrant from Ethiopia, who, despite the odds stacked against him, has found success in Winnipeg.

Michael Abraha is only 17. He's still in high school and doesn't even have his driver's license yet, but he does have his own business, with employees, business cards and liability insurance. He immigrated to Canada from Ethiopia (via Uganda) with his sister.

You can read the story here:

http://canadianimmigrant.ca/moneyamp;business/smallbusiness/article/5229

What do you think?

Canadian Cultural Access Pass

Posted on Jun. 22nd 2009 by Loonie
views: 657, comments: 0
The Institute of Canadian Citizenship, in partnership with local museums, galleries and cultural institutions in Ontario have introduced the Cultural Access Pass for new Canadian Citizens.

Upon being sworn in as a Canadian at their citizenship ceremony, the program gives new Canadians a Cultural Access Pass. This pass provides unlimited entry, free admission charges, to the holder of the pass at multiple local cultural institutions for the calendar year after obtaining citizenship.

The program hopes to provide a way for newcomers to get better acquainted with the cultural centres and resources in their local area.

Participating institutions include:

In the Toronto Region:

Art Gallery of Ontario
Gardiner Museum
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
Ontario Science Centre
Royal Ontario Museum
The Textile Museum of Canada
Colborne Lodge
Fort York National Historic Site
Gibson House Museum
Mackenzie House
Montgomery's Inn
Scarborough Historical Museum
Spadina Museum: Historic House & Gardens
Todmorden Mills Heritage Museum & Arts Centre
York Museum
Markham Museum
Bata Shoe Museum
Varley Art Gallery of Markham
University of Toronto Art Centre
Black Creek Pioneer Village

In the Kitchener-Waterloo Region:

The Children’s Museum
Homer Watson Home and Gallery
Cambridge Galleries
Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery
Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery

For complete information on the program, and how to participate visit: http://www.culturalaccesspass.ca/How_The_Program_Works.html

For information on obtaining Canadian citizenship: http://www.loonlounge.com/canadian-citizenship/
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