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Canada’s Immigrants Face Health Risks

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Carlito Pablo, (Vancouver), February 21, 2008

Jagdeep Singh was an information-technology professional in India before he moved to Canada. He arrived in September last year, and his family joined him three months later. Singh has yet to find a job, but he sounded very upbeat when he talked to the Georgia Straight by phone from his home in Surrey. “You need some time to adapt to the way things are here,” said the 35-year-old father of one.

One thing that takes time to understand, according to Singh, is how the health-care system works. He noted that choosing a family doctor is a challenge. “It’s difficult to find a doctor you can trust,” he said.

When Singh learned about a health fair being organized by the Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies of British Columbia ( ), he and his wife, Seema, decided to volunteer with the event, to be held on Saturday (February 23) at the Croatian Cultural Centre. The fair’s workshop on how to access health services fits their needs as newcomers.

New immigrants like Singh typically arrive in Canada with better-than-average health, according to a 2005 Statistics Canada study titled Dynamics of Immigrants’ Health in Canada: Evidence From the National Population Health Survey. But the same study also pointed out that this “healthy immigrant effect” diminishes over time.

When immigrants are grouped into Europeans and non-Europeans, the report suggests that people belonging to the latter category are more likely to claim later that their health has deteriorated. “Recent non-European immigrants’ higher risk of reporting a deterioration in their health is mirrored in increasingly frequent doctor contacts,” the study stated.

The study noted that immigration disrupts a person’s life. It’s a stressful process in which one loses support from an established network of family and friends. This is more telling with non-European immigrants.

Citing data from the mid ’90s, the StatsCan paper stated that “non-European immigrants were more likely than the Canadian-born population to report low social support.”

“The likelihood of a deterioration in health was also related to socioeconomic status, specifically, low education and low household income,” the study noted. “Findings from the literature on immigrants’ economic integration in Canada have shown that those with non-European origins are more likely than those with European origins to have low-paid jobs that require little education. Because immigrants with European origins share a similar culture with the Canadian-born, they may encounter fewer social, economic and lifestyle barriers than do those from non-European countries.”

According to Immigration in Canada: A Portrait of the Foreign-born Population, 2006 Census, released last year, Asians, including those from the Middle East, comprise the biggest group of newcomers to Canada. Of the 1.1 million who arrived between 2001 and 2006, six in 10 were Asians.

Ilene Hyman, an assistant professor with the University of Toronto’s department of public health sciences, took a look at existing studies on immigration and health in her 2007 paper Immigration and Health: Reviewing Evidence of the Healthy Immigrant Effect. What Hyman compiled suggested that certain immigrant subgroups appear to be more prone to some health conditions than others.

“Research on Canadians of South Asian, Chinese, and European origins suggested that South Asians, particularly females, have tended to experience an increased risk of heart disease as well as an increased risk of hypertension with increasing length of stay in Canada,” Hyman noted.

AMSSA executive director Lynn Moran told the Straight that the February 23 multicultural health fair will provide immigrants with information in various languages. Attendees may also learn such things as when to call for an ambulance or when to go to a clinic.

Moran explained that for a number of immigrants, language is a big barrier. In some cases, according to her, doctors have limited time to talk to their patients and can’t offer immigrants extra information. “A lot of health services are offered in English,” she said.

Describing herself as a bit of a foodie, Moran said that if there’s one concern immigrants need not fret about, it’s the availability of traditional food items in community stores. Often associated with a sense of well-being, such fare can at least make one feel at home.

Original article

(Posted on February 22, 2008)

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“Non white immigrants say they get sick after move to Canada”

As I type this, there are no blogs yet,but I wish I could make a huge Las Vegas style bet as to what the most common reply is going to be. It would be easy money.

Posted by Bobby at 4:18 PM on February 22

When I moved to Ontario in 2001 and applied to get a health care card, my picture was taken and put on the card itself. An official told me (discreetly) that this was done because too many third-world immigrants were using their health care cards to arrange for costly medical and surgical treatment for their relatives overseas (they would bring them to Canada and allow them to borrow their respective health cards). Hence the need for a photo to confirm a claimant’s real identity. However, given the long waiting lists in the Canadian health care system, it beats me why anyone would come to this country for the health care itself.

A while ago, AMREN posted an article stating that many third-world (i.e., dark-skinned) immigrants to Canada were suffering from Vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin) deficiency, unlike whites, who had a much lower chance of sustaining the same health problem. Could this be a reason why non-European immigrants get sicker in Canada at a higher rate than white immigrants? It’s food for thought.

Posted by Matt at 4:20 PM on February 22

Right now I’m wondering what angle the non-white folk are working on the healthcare up in Canada. Let me guess one of the scams. I need some zanax for my nerves. How much does zanax go for on the black market?

Posted by Drew at 4:52 PM on February 22

You know I always hear “immigrants” complaining how hard it is on them in a new country,the language barriers,loss of famliy support,can’t fine jobs,and now the health issues. But I’ve never heard any of them suggest going back where they came from!! Seems to me that if I moved to another country and had so many problems adjusting, I’d say “screw it,this isn’t working out and my famliy is suffering so lets just head back home.” So it would seem to me that even with all these “problems”[most of which are self made in my opinion] its still better to stay rather than go back to the cess pools that they came from.

Posted by Tom S at 5:00 PM on February 22

Or it could be that Canada has ‘free’ health care and the ‘immigrants’ are milking the system for all it’s worth.

Posted by Baron at 8:32 PM on February 22

This article was strictly biased in the immigrants’ favour.

If the writer, Carlito Pablo had probed even further, he would have discovered Canadians are far more at risk from communicable diseases from immigrants arriving here from non-white countries, than they are from us.

Also, I found this rather amusing when this new immigrant Jagdeep Singh says “It’s difficult to find a doctor you can trust,” he said.

It’s difficult enough…. finding an available doctor who is even taking on new patients, due to a massive influx of immigrants tapping into our “free” health care.

….and for those prospective immigrants thinking about coming to Canada, I would suggest they read the forum stories on this website:

Don’t believe the Canadian gov’t on “job shortages”, we’re all full.

Posted by at 8:48 PM on February 22

Quick solution, Don’t allow them into Canada.

Posted by Jim at 9:02 PM on February 22

conversely, as the immigrant population increases, will this not adversely affect native canadians? i’d say this is true just by judging from the crime and drug resistant tuberculosis.

but it’s more likely that this is just another story designed to ratchet up discontent. sort of reminds me of an old joke concerning a fictional New York Times headline- “World Ends Tomorrow, Women and Minorities to Suffer Most”.

Posted by fred at 9:17 PM on February 22

“….those with non-European origins are more likely than those with European origins to have low-paid jobs that require little education.”

Well, it’s settled then. There’s nothing else to do, but make each one a CEO, doctor, lawyer, newspaper editor, or other types of professional people. It isn’t necessary for them to have any training because their needs are far more important than anything else.

What is most important is to get the stats to reflect absolute parity with white workers at all costs.

Posted by Robert Kelly at 9:22 PM on February 22

Most of these people come from some of the world’s most disease-ridden sewey-holes, yet they get sick in Canada?
If they’re stressed out, then they should just go back home — if you can’t stand the heat, well …

Posted by kitty at 10:30 PM on February 22

This is not a mystery; anyone who has studied their history knows that there is a span of time called “seasoning” during which a newcomer to an area acclimates to his new environment. Yes, illness is common, but taking drugs for it won’t help your body adapt. A good example is Jamestown, and the seasoning period for that settlement was THREE years! Most men who survived their first three years probably wouldn’t die of illness…by then starvation, extreme depression, or Indian attacks were more likely causes of death.

Posted by Jacqui in AZ at 11:27 PM on February 22

I agree with that vitamin D deficiency theory too. Especially blacks and south asians tend to suffer more health problems compared to Euros and Northern Asians. I believe even though central heating has made these parts of the world much more habitable for tropical peoples, it is still not meant for thier kind.

Posted by Jasper at 12:54 AM on February 23

If Canada makes you sick, go home. Jacque Plante was allergic to Toronto but he managed to survive.

Posted by flyingtiger at 1:36 AM on February 23

Similar to other western white countries, Canada is simply inundated with immigrants from the third-world, all at the expense of our traditional sources from Europe. Whatever diseases were eradicated in western countries, are apparently making a comeback due to new arrivals from developing countries.

What is especially galling, is the fact, that thousands of unknown “refugees” from mostly 3rd world countries can waltz into our country without any medical examination, then occupy a bus seat next to us blowing TB viruses in our face.

Here’s a recent post by Canadian Immigration Reform Blog relating to mass immigration and health care.

Posted by at 5:35 AM on February 23

I really do think this problem is dark-skinned immigrants moving north and being unable to make enough Vitamin D.

I’ve also read that whites traditionally live in the hills and blacks in the valleys. I don’t know why this would be, though.

Posted by Turtle at 9:22 AM on February 23

Well I had to see the doctor a few times but it was mostly because of accidents. I agree it is absolutely ridiculous if the immigrants complain to Canada regarding their health issues if they chose to come to Canada.

I did suffer flu a few times since I came to Canada. However, it would still be ridiculous, if I say, “I blame Canada for the flu I have to suffer”. The flu went away automatically after a while. It was nothing significant to complain to Canada about. The Canadian government does offer free flu shots to everyone.

I also notice regularly working out reduces the chances of all kinds of diseases. When I work out, I simply do not get sick. I sleep very well, my appetite is good, and the stress level is down.

There was something that made me wonder….. a child from a third world country with a very disturbing disease that left the child’s face in an extremely disturbing shape, came to the sick children’s hospital in Toronto (not far away from my school) to get a surgery…. the surgery went successful and the child went home when the surgery was done. The child received the surgery for free.

I did not know what to say…. it really made me wonder, of course every child’s life is very precious, but the surgery must have cost more than twenty thousand dollars…. People in Canada who have never even seen the child had to pay for the surgery with their tax money. In this situation I did not know what to conclude…. every child in this world indeed deserves a happy normal healthy life, but was it honestly necessary to make people in Canada be totally responsible for the price of the surgery….

What is your opinion?

My opinion is, the government of the child’s country must have been responsible for the price of the surgery…. or at least 50% of the price of the surgery.

Posted by Korean puppy at 8:18 PM on February 23

several years ago Toronto, Ontario suffered from an outbreak of SARS (severe acute respirator syndrom) That had its origin in Guangadong province China. Almost 50 people died as a result of this immigration related illness, thousands got severly sick from it, and it ruined the city’s economy for almost 2 years.. In addition, Canada has seen a resurgence of a severe drug-resistant strains of TB. Other illnesses not seen in the West for decades have made their return here due to massive immigration from third world countries. To listen to some immigrants whine about getting a tummy ache or a flue due to their migration here is laughable. Canada does not even screen immigrants for such deadly deseases like AIDS. Perhaps they should go home if they cannot stand a tummy ache that is treated at taxpayer’s expense. Of course that won’t happen. Instead they will whine and find fault with their host country, Canada, and demand more goverment services.

Posted by White Canadian at 11:26 PM on February 23

Nonwhite third world immigrants do not get sick after arriving in Canada, most are sick before arriving. TB, Ebola, STD Aids and anything you can imagine is allowed into Canada. Old immigrants that barely walk, have become a big burden to the cash strapped health system.Once in Canada they “sponsor” more cripelled and insane family members to come to Canad for free medical service. Then they complain that health care worers do not speak their languages. After waves of east indians, blacks from caribean and whatever else, many africans with their skills in vodoo and drug pushing have arrived recently.95+% plus of all daily Toronto Police reports, show that world immigrants involved in serious violent crimes.

Posted by A.Wallacher at 1:58 PM on February 24

As usual,white countries bending over backwards to non white immigrants.

Posted by Joy at 8:15 PM on February 24

It’s funny, these immigrants complain but they don’t go home. I mean if you move to a place and it’s not working out, then go home. People do it all the time.

Posted by at 7:54 AM on February 25

The conservatives are continuing the liberal policy of undesirable immigrants.

Two more votes for the liberals!

The conservatives and liberals are equal enemies of the european heritage.

We are going down the same path as the british.

The path to destruction of the white race.

Posted by at 4:37 AM on February 26

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