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Newsletter. Issue 2010-08. April 10, 2010

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Study pinpoints why newcomers struggle
30 March 2010 05:33

Skilled immigrants earn less than half the money, on average, earned by their Canadian-educated counterparts.

Only one in four manages to obtain a licence in one of Ontario?s 37 regulated professions, compared with 60 per cent of Canadian grads. And that licence may take two years to get, compared with less than a year for native-born Canadians.

Those findings, in a groundbreaking study to be released today by the Office of the Fairness Commissioner, put some hard numbers on the frustration many newcomer professionals experience.

?The requirement of some regulatory bodies for Canadian experience is perceived as a particularly difficult challenge for ITIs (internationally trained individuals) . if regulatory bodies require Canadian experience, there should be a requirement of employers to provide it,? said the 143-page report, obtained by the Toronto Star.

Among the foreign-trained professionals surveyed 26 per cent were unemployed - triple the number of those trained in Canada.


Minority women unable to access health providers: Study
30 March 2010 05:44

Many women from visible minority groups say they have difficulty getting a primary-care physician or specialists to address urgent health concerns or to monitor chronic medical conditions, a study has found.

The report shows one in three South Asian, West Asian and Arab women ? who together comprise one of the fastest-growing segments of Canada?s population ? have trouble finding a doctor, getting an appointment or getting referred to specialists.

The study by researchers at St. Michael?s Hospital in Toronto and the Institute for Clinical and Evaluative Sciences found this minority group, and other immigrant women and men, are at a significant disadvantage compared to Canadian-born individuals.

The report, released today, is part of the larger POWER (Project for an Ontario Women?s Health Evidence-Based Report) study. The researchers say it is the first to provide a comprehensive overview of women?s health in relation to gender, income, education, ethnicity and geography.

The study found that 15 per cent of immigrants living in Canada less than five years did not have a primary-care doctor, compared to 7.3 per cent of Canadian-born adults.

Furthermore, almost one-third of women who did not often speak English or French at home reported more difficulties accessing care from a family doctor to monitor health problems. That compares to less than 20 per cent of women who speak English or French.



Transparency Licensing System urged for many Internationally Trained Professionals
Gloria Elayadathusseril | March 30, 2010

Language is not the biggest barrier, but navigating the licensing system is, for many internationally trained professionals, according to a new study released today, March 30.

?Many applicants told us of insufficient information about the criteria and requirements for becoming licensed - including websites that are difficult to navigate, unclear timelines, and not enough information about the costs,? pointed out Ontario?s Fairness Commissioner Jean Augustine, releasing the results of the study.

The research study - Clearing the Path: Recommendations for Action in Ontario?s Professional Licensing System - conducted by R.A. Malatest and Associates on behalf of the commissioner reveals several issues faced by foreign trained professionals. The commissioner has made 17 specific recommendations to improve the way those with foreign credentials get their licences in the regulated professions. ?Registration is complex, costly and time-consuming, and steps should be taken to make the process less cumbersome,? she observes.

The recommendations stem from three years of work, including study of regulatory bodies, of qualifications assessment agencies, and most recently of the experiences of applicants themselves, she adds. ?The proposals will ensure that prospective nurses, teachers and other professionals do not face unexpected or unreasonable hurdles in getting certified in their respective fields.?

The commissioner also called for the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to convene the seven organizations involved in the ?complex process of licensing doctors? to ensure transparency in their decisions and eliminate duplication across the licensing system. ?I am giving it until Canada Day,? Augustine says. ?If it?s not in the works by July 1, my office will take steps to make it happen ourselves.?

One of the recommendations is that the federal government ensures that professionals who apply to immigrate to Canada are informed that there is a provincial licensing process. And the commissioner urges the applicants themselves in the skilled immigrant category to ?Do your home work. Know the process and know the costs, and be prepared to support yourself and your family during the licensing process.?


Schools find new life, purpose after closure
TORSTAR NEWS SERVICE | April 06, 2010 5:25 a.m.

As the Toronto District School Board faces dozens of school closures in the coming years from falling enrolment, some have warned of a fire sale of public schools into private hands.

But old schools often just switch from one public body to another, said Shirley Hoy, executive director of the Toronto Lands Corporation, the arm?s-length body created in 2008 to handle the board?s real estate holdings. By law, Ontario school boards must offer old schools first to other school boards, then to a college or university, then another level of government, then a non-profit agency and, finally, to the private market.

It?s a daunting task for a school board that already owns 97 empty schools, many rented to an eclectic array of tenants. Schools can be recast as private schools and seniors? centres, daycares and doctors? offices, women?s shelters and dance studios.

The old Carleton Village public school on Davenport near St. Clair Avenue West is being turned into the Toronto Police Services? new 11 Division.

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