Canada makes immigration more difficult


At the centre of the rule changes is a new definition of the phrase “dependant child.”

DUBAI: If you plan to move to Canada after January 1 and have children who are 19 or older, they will have to make separate and independent applications.

And new rules coming into effect then will also make it more difficult for older children who plan to study full time to move to Canada.

It’s estimated by officials in Ottawa that the new rule changes will cut an estimated 7,000 applicants from moving to Canada.

At the centre of the rule changes is a new definition of the phrase “dependant child”. At present, those under 22 are considered to be dependant children and qualify to automatically move with parents if the parents’ application for permanent residency is granted.

Under the new rules, those past their 19th birthday will have to make a separate application — opening a new immigration application file with permanent residency being granted or denied on the merits of the application. With education and work experience being a critical part of the points test for permission to emigrate, the new rule will make it virtually impossible for those new files to be approved — at last until third-level education and work experience build up the needed points.

“These rule changes are going to make it a lot harder for parents who have older children to move here,” Dev Patel, an immigration consultant and paralegal based in Mississauga, Ontario, told Gulf News. “This rule change was announced about a month ago and I am already seeing a spike in files and people wanting to come to Canada are worried. I think that it’s important to spread the news that if you plan to move to Canada, the earlier the better. I know that Dubai and the UAE is often used as a stepping stone for many people from the sub-continent who want to come to Canada. I have several files on my desk right now and two families in Dubai will have to make separate files for their older children if they don’t follow through on the current paperwork.”

The rule changes were detailed in a seven-page report post on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada web site.

“The earlier in life immigrants arrive, the more their educational experience will resemble that of their Canadian-born counterparts and the easier it will be to learn an official language and adapt to Canadian cultural traits and social norms,” a says.

Under the current immigration rules, a child is considered a dependant if they are under 22 and single, but there are exceptions if the person is over 22 and still rely on direct financial support from their parents or legal guardian — and are full-time students.

According to the latest statistics from Ottawa, 64,757 of all sponsored children to Canada were under 19 in 2012 — making up nearly 90 per cent of the total. There were 7,237 applicants as dependant children over 19 in the same year.

Part of the reasoning given in the briefing paper outlining the rule changes says that Canada’s economy remains fragile and needs to be protected.

Age at emigration frequently determines where a person receives his or her education. With the difficulties in determining a foreign credential’s value in Canada and evidence that the return on Canadian education is much higher, the report says. “I think the lesson for all now is that it is becoming harder and harder to immigrate to Canada,” Patel said. “This government has brought in new criteria, raised fees, changed rules and is generally making it more difficult to move to Canada. The reality is that Canada needs new immigrants to continue to grow.”

The dependant children’s age cut-offs in the United States is 21 and, in Australia, 25.

Our medical schools must not become shills for big pharma

Source: The Globe and Mail

Most Canadians might be surprised to learn that medical students in Canada are routinely taught by faculty who have financial ties, and work in partnership, with drug companies. Conflict of interest (COI) policies at medical schools are important to ensure that students get an unbiased education based on the best available clinical evidence, free of industry-sponsored, commercially-driven information. After all, these students go on to become our doctors and we want the best doctors education can provide.

So, do medical schools in Canada lack appropriate conflict of interest policies or are they simply not following them?

In a study published in PloS One, we examined the COI policies at all 17 medical schools across the country. Our findings reveal a glaring problem, and something that should concern all of us. The majority of medical schools (12 of 17) have generally weak or non-existent COI policies, and four schools had policies that were moderately restrictive. Only one medical school – Western University – had stringent COI rules.

In other words, the bulk of our doctors-in-training in Canada are receiving health information that is potentially biased and misleading.

Here’s a telling example: Between 2002 and 2006, the University of Toronto held a pain-management course for medical and other health science professional students that was partly funded by grants from Purdue Pharma LP, the maker of OxyContin. As part of the course, a chronic pain-management book – funded and copyrighted by Purdue Pharma – was distributed to the students free of charge by a lecturer who worked in partnership with Purdue Pharma and was external to University of Toronto. The wording in the book exaggerated both the benefits and the approved uses for these medications, based on the current evidence at that time. Despite recognition of these concerns by the university after a student complained, those who attended the sessions were never informed of the bias or the problematic content of the lectures and book (which was used in a related course up to 2010).

The most poorly regulated areas noted in our study include curriculum selection, receiving free drug samples, visits from pharmaceutical sales representatives and taking part in speaking engagements on behalf of pharmaceutical companies.

Bottom line: Unrestrictive policies allow industry to influence medical residents’ education about appropriate, effective and safe medicines, as well as prescribing choices.

Free drug samples have been found to increase the likelihood that medical residents will choose to provide medications to patients that cost more than equally effective prescription treatments, or other non-pharmaceutical options. Frequent visits by drug sales representatives are associated with influencing prescribing practices, resulting in more frequent prescribing and poorer prescribing quality.

The biggest concern, however, is the lack of education provided to medical students about the pervasiveness and effects of COI relationships with drug companies. Without such guidance, medical students, who will become prescribing physicians, graduate without being fully equipped to deal with either potential conflicts of interest in medical practice, or the influence of industry promotion on clinical judgement.

Our findings mean that industry has the ability to influence the resources provided and information that is taught to medical students. Without effective, stringent policies to regulate industry’s interactions with medical students and faculty, drug companies are granted the ability to be present in medical schools and play notably influential roles in the clinical training of medical students.

If we want the best doctors in Canada, our medical schools need to revise and improve their policies to regulate conflicts of interest between medical faculty, residents and the pharmaceutical industry. These policies should address the medical curriculum and the ways in which relationships with pharmaceutical firms may affect the attitudes and information that is taught to medical students.

Medical students should be educated by medical faculty using the best available clinical evidence that is unbiased by industry so that when medical students graduate, they are able to provide their patients with the best, most effective, and safest treatments possible.