Dec 15 2011

A Doctor, a Trucker & a Hero!

For 25 years in his native India, Balvinder Singh Ahuja worked as a pediatrician, treating thousands of children, saving many lives.

For the past six months in Toronto, however, Ahuja has been learning to drive a truck, convinced it was too difficult a process to practise as a foreign-trained doctor in Canada.

But his experience as a veteran physician kicked into high gear Saturday when he performed an emergency delivery on an Air India flight from New Delhi to Toronto, turning a passenger cabin into a birthing room within minutes and improvising with makeshift instruments.

The baby, a girl, was born 45 minutes later.

“It was very exciting … I’m glad I was able to help,” Ahuja said in a phone interview en route to Collingwood in a tractor-trailer. “But I doubt I’ll use my skills again.”

At least, he doesn’t expect to use them here. Like most foreign-trained doctors, Ahuja must be recertified before he can practise.

But with thousands of foreign-trained doctors in the country and few opportunities for residency, Ahuja says he knows it will be almost impossible.

“I don’t want to get frustrated,” he says.

“I’m not closing that door completely but as of now I’m focusing on trucking because I have a family and I need money.”

Ahuja said he immigrated to give his three children a better future.

There are at least 7,500 internationally trained doctors in Ontario but fewer than 200 can get residency spots because they have to compete with young Canadians who are more familiar with the language and the system.

On board the plane, Ahuja had settled into his seat and was almost asleep when a call went out on the loudspeaker asking if there was a doctor or nurse aboard.

He went to the back and saw Kuljit Kaur, about 37 weeks pregnant, on the floor obviously in labour and in pain. Her husband, Ranjodh Gill, was sitting next to her.

The couple and their 7-year-old daughter were flying to Canada as landed immigrants.

There was also an oncologist on board. “She had never attended a delivery,” Ahuja said, quickly realizing it was all up to him.

He had seen hundreds of births and though he hadn’t assisted with any he knew exactly what needed to be done.

Ahuja quickly gathered what he thought he would need. And then improvised.

Empty food cartons were used to lift Kaur’s legs. Scissors were sterilized in Scotch. Pieces of thread tied the umbilical cord. The microwave warmed a blanket for the baby.

The baby was born after 45 minutes of intense labour but no one freaked out, said Ahuja.

“I’ve attended all sorts of emergencies in the past years but this was such a different experience,” he said.

“I was anxious but not scared. There was no alternative, too.”

Aakash Leen Kaur was born about 11,000 metres over Kazakhstan. Aakash means “sky” in Hindi.

Ahuja became an instant hero.

Passengers gave him a standing ovation, the Air India crew gave him a bottle of Scotch and the new father visited him at his home and gave him a box of sweets.

“I was so grateful there was a doctor there,” said Gill, 37, a lawyer who immigrated to Alberta under the provincial nominee program.

But the family wanted to spend some days in Brampton with his wife’s sister before flying to Calgary this weekend.

“My wife was due on Nov. 7,” said Gill. “We don’t know what happened, why the baby came early.”

He said her labour pains started an hour after the plane took off.

“We first thought it was gas but soon realized … it wasn’t,” said Gill, admitting he panicked a bit until Ahuja, calm and composed, showed up.

His wife, he said, is still tired but she and the baby are doing well.

Ahuja, meanwhile, is reliving his days as a physician through the mid-air delivery. “It was the most exciting thing that’s happened to me in Canada,” said Ahuja, who lives in Brampton with his wife and children.

What’s next?

“Getting my own truck.”

Is the baby girl born in Kazakhstan airspace Canadian or Indian? Or Kazakhstani?

Her father, Ranjodh Gill, says he doesn’t know and doesn’t care.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada will not comment on the baby’s status due to privacy reasons. “The status of the child will depend on the status of the parents,” said spokesman Bill Brown.

But he did present some hypothetical scenarios:

Generally, a child who is not born in Canada and does not have a parent who is a Canadian citizen is not a Canadian citizen either.

If one or both parents are Canadian citizens, they can apply to have a citizenship certificate issued for the child.

If one or both of the parents are permanent residents, they can apply to have the child become a permanent resident.

If the parents are here temporarily, they can apply to have the child gain temporary status as well.


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Dec 10 2011

The Integrated Work Experience Strategy (IWES) Program for Newcomers

The Integrated Work Experience Strategy Program is a bridging program for internationally educated ICT professionals offered by the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) in partnership with JVS Toronto in Ontario. The IWES Program in Ontario is funded by the Government of Ontario, who receives support for some skills training programs from the Government of Canada.

IWES therefore targets unemployed or underemployed internationally educated professionals with a background in information and communications technology (ICT).

IWES aspires to help IEPs to:

  • Better integrate socially, economically and culturally into the Canadian society
  •  Increase their awareness of strengths and weaknesses when integrating into the Canadian labour market
  • Develop a sense of career management in the labour force
  • Enhance self-esteem and confidence
  • Connect with the broader community and become a contributing member

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Arrived in Canada no more than 3 years ago
  • Have Permanent Resident Status
  • Reside (permanent address) in the Greater Toronto Area
  • Have a Post Secondary Education
  • Have at least 2-3 years of recent work experience in IT
  • Score a minimum of ‘8’in each section on their Canadian Language Benchmark Assessment

This unique, hands-on program strives to ensure that IEPs new to Canada are truly prepared for employment within Canada’s ICT sector. Focusing on industry requirements for the right mix of technical and soft skills, IWES participants receive soft skills training in Workplace Cultural Intelligence, Workplace Communication, Business Networking Experience and Connection to Community.

If you are an internationally educated ICT/IT professional newly immigrated to Canada (within the last three years), are legally entitled to work in Canada, and have a Canadian Language Benchmark Assessment overall score of 7-8 or higher – then the IWES program is for you!

IWES intake 9 registration is now Open and is scheduled to begin on January 16, 2012. Applications are being be accepted until Monday, January 9, 2012.

Please check this flyer for more details.

If you are interested in this program and wish to enroll yourself, please contact

Michelle Frazer
Program Assistant
Integrated Work Experience Strategy (IWES) Program
3780 14th Avenue, Suite 310
Markham, Ontario L3R 9Y5
Email: OR

Indira Prabhakaran.

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Dec 06 2011

Super Visa for parents and grandparents!

Parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents have a new option for visiting Canada. As of December 1, 2011, you may be eligible to apply for the Parent and Grandparent Super Visa and enjoy visiting your family in Canada for up to 2-years without the need to renew your status.

Who can apply

To apply for the Parent and Grandparent Super Visa, you must:
-be the parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada;
-be found admissible to Canada; and
-meet certain other conditions.

Note: You cannot include dependants in this application. Only your spouse or common-law partner is eligible to accompany you under this provision.

How to apply

In order to obtain a PGP Super Visa, you will need to submit an Application for a Temporary Resident Visa Made Outside of Canada [IMM5257] to a visa office and provide certain additional documents to support your application.

Note: You may request a multiple-entry visa for up to ten years if you submit the applicable fees along with your application.

Check the website of the visa office responsible for the country or region where you live for more information on fees, including how to pay them. To find the correct office for your country, see the List of Canadian visa offices here.

In addition to being found admissible to Canada, the parent or grandparent must also:
-provide a written commitment of financial support from their child or grandchild in Canada who meets a minimum income threshold;
-prove that they have bought Canadian medical insurance coverage for at least one year; and
-complete an Immigration Medical Examination.

How your application is processed?

Most applications for temporary resident visas are processed within a month or less. Processing times vary depending on the visa office.

After you send your application, it will be reviewed at the visa office to ensure it has been completed correctly and that it contains all the required documents. A visa officer will decide if an interview with you is necessary. If an interview is required, you will be notified of the time and place.

Visa officers consider several factors before deciding if a person is admissible. The person must be a genuine visitor to Canada who will leave by choice at the end of the visit. Among the things that could be considered are:
-the person’s ties to the home country;
-the purpose of the visit;
-the person’s family and financial situation;
-the overall economic and political stability of the home country; and
-an invitation from a Canadian host.

If your application is refused, your passport and other documents will be returned to you. You will also receive an explanation why your application was refused. If you sent fraudulent documents, they will not be returned. If your application is approved, your passport and documents will be returned to you with your visa.

PGP Super-Visa FAQs

1. What makes the PGP Super-Visa different from the current TRVs?
Currently, visitors to Canada usually may only visit for 6-months at a time. Most visitors who wish to stay longer must apply for an extension, and pay a new fee, every six months. With the Parent and Grandparent Super Visa, eligible parents and grandparents will pay fewer fees and have some certainty that they will be able to enjoy the company of their families in Canada for a longer period of time. CIC will be able to issue the visas, on average, within 8-weeks of the application. This means that instead of waiting for 8-years, a parent or a grandparent can come to Canada within 8-weeks.

2. Is the PGP Super-Visa a multi-entry visa? What is the difference between the 10-yr multi-entry visa & this one?
Yes, the Super Visa is a multi-entry visa that will provide multiple entries for a period up to 10-years. The key difference is that the Super Visa will have status periods for each entry that last up to 2-years, while the 10-year multiple entry visa status period for each entry is 6-months. The Super Visa is also available as a single-entry visa, if that is the applicant’s preference.

3. I’m eligible for the PGP visa, but I also have a dependent living with me, will s/he also get the PGP Super-Visa?
No. Dependants of parents and grandparents are not eligible for the Super Visa. They remain eligible to apply for regular visitor visas, though.

4. I’m from a country whose citizens do not require a visa for Canada, am I still eligible for the PGP visa to enjoy 2-yrs. stay?
Yes, if you are from a country whose citizens are not required to have a visa to enter Canada, you are eligible for a Parent and Grandparent Super Visa. Simply:
-Apply for a Temporary Resident Visa (no fee required) at a Canadian visa office;
-Undergo a medical examination;
-Provide the supporting documents, including proof of your relationship to a Canadian citizen or a PR; and
-proof of their financial support during your stay in Canada.
-You will also need proof that you have purchased Canadian medical insurance.

If you have met all the criteria, you will be issued a letter which you will present to a BSO at the POE when you arrive in Canada. The officer may authorize your visit to Canada for up to 2-years.

5. I have an ongoing Family Sponsorship PR application, can I yet apply for the PGP Super-Visa?
Family re-unification cases who have applied for permanent residency will definitely be eligible for the PGP Super-Visa as well, without withdrawing their PR application.


The new PGP Super-Visa is part of the Conservative government’s plan to battle an enormous backlog of about 165,000 parents and grandparents who are trying to join family in Canada. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said, “The department informs me that they’re confident that the approval rate for these PGP Super-Visas will actually be very high”, last week at an appearance before a parliamentary committee.

CIC expects that this grandly named “Parent and Grandparent Super-Visa” will increase the number admitted by more than 60% in 2012.

The Canadian Government is likely to stop accepting PR applications from parents and grandparents of Canadian residents, announcing this new ‘super visa’ as a replacement… however, the same hasn’t yet been declared.


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Dec 02 2011

All about Credential Assessments in Canada!

Getting your credentials evaluated for future employment in Canada can be started well before your arrival in Canada.

If you are in a regulated profession, please contact your regulatory organization in Canada.

If your occupation is not regulated, below organizations can help you to get your credentials assessed.

The list of organizations that can evaluate foreign credentials:

International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS)
Foreign Qualifications Recognition (FQR) Unit
Immigration Division
Alberta Employment and Immigration
9th Floor, 108 Street Building
9942 – 108 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2J5 Canada
Tel.: +1 780 427-2655
Toll-free in Alberta: 310-0000 ask for 427-2655
Fax: +1 780 422-9734

British Columbia
International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES)
3700, Willingdon Avenue
Burnaby, British Columbia V5G 3H2 Canada
Tel.: +1 604 432-8800
Toll-Free within North America: +1-866-434-9197
Fax: +1 604 435-7033

Academic Credentials Assessment Service – Manitoba (ACAS)
Manitoba Labour and Immigration
5th Floor, 213 Notre Dame Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 1N3 Canada
Tel.: +1 204 945-6300
Toll-Free within North America: +1-800-665-8332
Fax: +1 204 948-2148

Comparative Education Service (CES)
School of Continuing Studies
University of Toronto
158 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2V8 Canada
Tel.: +1 416 978-2400
Fax: +1 416 978-7022

International Credential Assessment Service of Canada (ICAS)
Ontario AgriCentre
100 Stone Road West, Suite 102
Guelph, Ontario N1G 5L3 Canada
Tel: +1 519 763-7282
Toll-free: +1 800 321-6021
Fax: +1 519 763-6964
Fees and Services

World Education Services-Canada (WES) is recognized by the Government of Ontario
2 Carlton Street, Suite 1400
Toronto, Ontario M5B 1J3 Canada
Tel.: +1 416 972-0070
Fax: +1 416 972-9004
Toll-free: +1 866 343-0070 (from outside the 416 area code)

Centre d’expertise sur les formations acquises hors du Québec (CEFAHQ)
Ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés culturelles
255, boulevard Crémazie Est, 8e étage
Montréal (Québec) H2M 1M2 Canada
Tel.: +1 514 864-9191
Elsewhere in Quebec (toll free): +1 877 264-6164
Contact Information:

International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS)
Alberta Employment, Immigration and Industry
9th Floor, 108th Street Building
9942 – 108 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2J5 Canada
Tel.: +1 780 427-2655
Toll-free in Alberta: 310-0000 ask for 427-2655
Fax: +1 780 422-9734
* The Government of Saskatchewan provides this service through an interprovincial agreement with the Government of Alberta.

Northwest Territories
International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS)
Alberta Employment, Immigration and Industry
9th Floor, 108th Street Building
9942 – 108 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2J5 Canada
Tel.: +1 780 427-2655
Toll-free in Alberta: 310-0000 ask for 427-2655
Fax: +1 780 422-9734
* The Government of the Northwest Territories provides this service through an interprovincial agreement with the Government of Alberta.

International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS)
Alberta Employment, Immigration and Industry
9th Floor, 108th Street Building
9942 – 108 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2J5 Canada
Tel.: +1 780 427-2655
Toll-free in Alberta: 310-0000 ask for 427-2655
Fax: +1 780 422-9734
* The Government of Yukon provides this service through an interprovincial agreement with the Government of Alberta.

Other provinces and territories
For credential evaluation services in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, or Nunavut, you may contact any of the services listed on this page.

What are the processing times?

Here is the link to Comparative Chart of Services and Fees for these organizations.

Need more information?

Three sites that can answer ALL your questions of credential evaluation:




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Nov 29 2011

Christmas/Newyear/Pongal celebration at TNCSC, Toronto

Festive season is here and Canada is at it’s best already!

Everywhere around we see christmas decorations and christmas shopping is in the air! Christmas is one big thing here and is not restricted to Christians. Our 6-year-old is already excited about christmas and he doesn’t even know the reason behind the celebration ;).

TNCSC has planned for another big celebration, ‘Mupperum Vizha – 2012’ to celebrate Christmas, New Year and the Pongal on January 07, 2012. The link to register for the event is here.

Here’s a link to the flyer – Mupperumvizha2012

Please forward this information to your Tamil friends and families in Toronto, so they get a chance to experience this mighty celebration.

Indira Prabhakaran.

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