# Monday, November 30, 2009
                 
When it comes to quality of lifestyle, Canada is the top destination for expats, according to HSBC Bank International. Following Canada as a desirable location for expats is Australia and Thailand in the number 2 and 3 spots. Expats rated qualities such as accommodation, food, entertainment, social and family life, education, childcare, healthcare, household goods, working hours and commuting distances, health, hobbies, among other things. Canada was also highly rated when it came to such issues as making friends and integrating easily into their new communities.

According to the study, the top ten locations for expats determined by quality of life are:

•    Canada
•    Australia
•    Thailand
•    Singapore
•    Bahrain
•    South Africa
•    France
•    United States
•    Spain
•    Hong Kong

The United Kingdom scored very poorly in the votes regarding quality of life, and was at the bottom of the list of considered countries. Canada also scored very highly when it came to:

•    Enrolling children into the Canadian public school system;
•    Being able to set up finances, utilities and healthcare in their new country;
•    Finding a new place to live;
•    Learning the local language;
•    Making friends not only with other expats, but with local residents.

Over half the expats that participated in this study have lived abroad for more than five years. Canada placed third in regards to countries for settling down; South Africa and Thailand are first and second. Expats under the age of 35 are most likely to return home at least once a year; three-quarters of those surveyed make at least an annual trip home. Those expats who live in Brazil are most likely to go home at least once a year, according to almost 94% of those surveyed. The study also showed that the longer an expat has remained in their adoptive country, the less likely they are to return home. Only one third of expats who have lived away from their original country for 10 years or more reported they have not gone home for more than 2 years.

One of the factors that expats consider when choosing a new country is the quality and cost of healthcare in their adoptive country. While Canada does provide basic, free healthcare for all of its legal residents and/or citizens, newcomers to Canada may face a 3 month waiting period when they first arrive before they are eligible to receive their provincial health card. In order to avoid costly medical bills during these 3 months, outside health insurance is recommended. In some provinces a simple visit to a walk-in clinic can start at $50.00 just for an initial examination and does not include prescription medications, further follow-up medical care, etc. Visitors to Canada insurance is an ideal health insurance plan to bridge this gap in order to have optimal health coverage during those months where the newcomer is uninsured.

posted on Monday, November 30, 2009 3:23:19 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #   
# Sunday, November 8, 2009
                 
The H1N1 virus is now being held responsible for the death of 31 Ontario residents; last week an apparently health 13 year old boy died within 48 hours of displaying symptoms of the swine flu. An investigation is also currently underway to determine whether or not H1N1 was also responsible for the death of a 12 year old girl from Waterloo. A total of 101 people in Canada have died as a result of this pandemic so far. As a result of the 'second wave' of swine flu in Ontario, people are now lining up to receive the H1N1 vaccine throughout the province, sometimes waiting the whole day to receive the flu shot.

Access to the vaccine is currently being limited to people who qualify as a 'priority status'. This includes all children between the ages of 6 months to less than 5 years, health care workers, pregnant women, and people who live in remote and/or isolated communities.  How the vaccine is distributed depends on the province of residence, as each province decides on how best to serve their citizens. Provincial health cards are not required at flu shot clinics, but proof of residence must be shown in order to prove that the person is indeed a resident of that province.

The H1N1 vaccine is an adjuvanted vaccine, with the exception of pregnant women who should receive a non-adjuvanted vaccine. This does not necessarily mean that the adjuvanted vaccine is harmful to pregnant women, it just simply hasn't been tested for this specific group; if there is no alternative, pregnant women can get the adjuvanted vaccine. An adjuvanted vaccine is a vaccine that includes a substance that boosts the individual's immune system as well as increases their response to the vaccine. The non-adjuvanted vaccine does not have this 'booster' element. Immunity to the H1N1 virus should begin approximately 10 days after the person has been vaccinated.

 Along with vaccinations, some regions in Ontario are also implementing swine flu screening centers in order to relieve the stresses of hospital emergency rooms. Community health units will be opening flu assessment centers; patients can receive medical advice, receive antiviral medications if necessary, and be referred to further medical help if deemed necessary. The majority of people who have already or will contract H1N1 will not need further medical treatment past a prescription, if that. Those with healthy lifestyles and a healthy immune system will simply become ill, but with no life-threatening consequences.

Check your specific region for what is available, and for vaccination centers. The vaccine is currently being distributed to physicians as well; your doctor may be able to book you an appointment for your flu shots.

posted on Sunday, November 8, 2009 3:13:52 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #   
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