Health Insurance Is a Key Factor in International Students’ Choice of Canadian College

When the Government of Manitoba de-listed provincial health care as a “right” for foreign students at its universities this September, reaction to the move revealed just how significant health care insurance was to students’ choice of school. As one student from Nigeria enrolled at the University of Manitoba told local media, “free” health care was an important factor when he was deciding where to attend university. He added, “It was a big issue when I was considering Manitoba.” The student, who as a foreign national was paying at least two to three times the tuition and fees charged domestic students, was reacting to the provincial government’s repeal of a 2012 clause to the Health Insurance Act that offered foreign students access to its provincial health care scheme—access which covered not only them, but their spouses and dependents. The repeal was expected to save Manitoba taxpayers $3.1 million while costing foreign…

Mental Health Series: The Effects of Bullying on Mental Health

We’re all familiar with the image of “the school bully”: a villainous character that appears in many movies and cartoons. In these media, you often see bullying portrayed as inevitable, a sort of rite of passage that students must pass through on their way to adulthood. In today’s society, however, the idea of bullying as a rite of passage is being steadily challenged. In fact, bullying is not a harmless experience, nor one that “builds character”; research finds that being involved in bullying can have serious consequences on students’ mental health. Unfortunately, bullying is not an uncommon experience in Canada. According to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, at least 1 in 3 adolescent students say they have recently been bullied. And among adults in Canada, 38% of men and 30% of women report having been bullied while they were at school. The issue of bullying can also target students…

Relocation Series – Moving to Shanghai, China

Welcome to our Relocation Series! Looking for better opportunities? Want to make a big life change? Finally found the dream destination you want to move to? Our Relocation Series consists of the most popular destination choices for expatriates to relocate to. We will include all the details you need to know on each country and factors to determine if it would be the perfect fit for you! Let us make your life easier for this next big step you are taking. A comprehensive guide for moving to and living in Shanghai Languages The language most widely spoken in China is Mandarin. In Shanghai, residents also have their own dialect called Wu Chinese. English is not widely spoken or understood in this area. Money The Chinese Yuan Renminbi (CNY) is used here. There are ATMs in big cities and towns but China is still largely a cash culture so do…

Put the “Serious” Back in Travel Insurance

Where is the logic? Some people will take two or three trips to an appliance store before deciding on a new flat-screen TV costing them over $1,000; they will grill the salesperson about the pros and cons of this set or that; and they’ll scour the fine print details to make sure their purchase meets their specific needs. Yet when purchasing a long-term travel insurance policy, without which they might lose their life savings, they’re OK to do the purchase over the phone or online in three minutes, and don’t think twice about throwing the policy in a drawer unread after receiving it from their agent. According to a recent survey of Canadian travellers done by a trade group representing travel insurers, less than half (48 per cent) of respondents said they normally check their travel insurance coverage before taking their trips; 35 per cent admitted being unsure what their…

US Lifts Ban on Pot Workers, But Travel Rules Remain—For Now

The announcement by the US Customs and Border Protection agency that it will not impede Canadians who work in the rapidly growing cannabis industry from entering the United States for routine leisure or non-business travel suggests an easing of the federal government’s long-standing prohibition of marijuana use and commerce. The CBP statement, published on its website, reads: “A Canadian citizen working or facilitating the proliferation of the legal marijuana industry in Canada, coming to the U.S. for reasons unrelated to the marijuana industry will generally be admissible to the U.S., however if a traveler is found to be coming to the U.S. for a reason related to the marijuana industry, they may be deemed inadmissible.” The CBP clarification followed several weeks of speculation about how stringently CBP officers would enforce border restrictions on not only Canadian cannabis workers, but all other Canadian travellers whose own government has permitted them to…

Mental Health Series: Depression and Anxiety Are on the Rise Among Canadian Students

Students heading into university face a world of new possibilities—but that comes with new challenges too. And in recent years, those challenges have appeared to reach critical mass, with anxiety and depression both on the rise among Canada’s university students. According to a survey of Ontario university students by the American College Health Association, between 2013 and 2016, this student population experienced a 50% increase in anxiety, a 47% increase in depression, and a 47% increase in suicide attempts. And according to a recent report in The Globe and Mail, a fifth of Canadian postsecondary students now report being depressed, anxious, or otherwise struggling with their mental health.

Dark Tourism – Do You Dare?

What Is Dark Tourism? Travel to places historically associated with death and tragedy. Morbid right? But here’s the reasons tourists visit Dark Tourism sites 1 – Curiosity 2 – Step back into history & feel the impact of the events 3 – Understand what happened first-hand 4 – Pay respects & visit memorials 5 – Experience the creation of reflective memories 6 – Remember what it is to be human People go for many reasons, but ultimately, it just means you are interested in learning about life and history. If you dare to go…here are some of the top Dark Tourism destinations & most Haunted places in the world Bran Castle, Romania The home of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” seems to be based on this Romanian castle on the border between Transylvania and Wallachia. The former seat of the infamous Vlad the Impaler, Bran Castle is now a museum for…

Goodbye NAFTA. Hello USMCA. Hold on to Your Health Insurance

Canada’s new trade agreement with the United States and Mexico (replacing NAFTA) has gone through a tortuous negotiation, but finally has been completed. And according to the new rules built into USMCA (US, Mexico, Canada Agreement) there are no changes to visa requirements for workers and professionals affected by the new accord. The old NAFTA rules remain for business visitors, professionals, intra-company transferees, and traders and investors. (For details or updates on those rules, you can visit the Government of Canada’s website.) In short, the agreement doesn’t change a member country’s general immigration regulations governing public health, safety, and national security; and, significantly for workers and professionals posted abroad for long periods, it still doesn’t make provisions for any kind of reciprocity for health care coverage as has been a staple for individuals and companies operating within European Union countries. USMCA (like its forerunner NAFTA) is tied to trade, and…

StudyInsured: Your One-Stop Shop for International Student Insurance

Looking for the best travel insurance coverage for your international student(s)? Look no further – StudyInsured has it all! From protecting a student’s medical needs, to the accessibility of 24/7 multilingual emergency assistance services, and even a Stay Healthy at School Program. Read our latest press release on why StudyInsured is your one-stop shop for International Student Insurance. Are you an international student? Let us help you feel at home while you study abroad. We cover all your health insurance needs, give you easily accessible resources for navigating the healthcare systems, provide physical and mental wellness support through the Stay Healthy at School program, 24/7 claim services should you need assistance, and much more. For more information, visit https://www.inglestudents.com/studyinsured/, call us at 1-855-649-4182 or email us at studentteam@studyinsured.com.

Relocation Series—Moving to Paris, France

Welcome to our Relocation Series! Looking for better opportunities? Want to make a big life change? Finally found the dream destination you want to move to? Our Relocation Series consists of the most popular destination choices for expatriates to relocate to. We will include all the details on what you need to know on each country and factors to determine if it would be the perfect fit for you! Let us make your life easier for this next big step you are taking. A comprehensive guide for moving to and living in Paris Languages The official language is French. English and Spanish are the next most common languages spoken in Paris. Money The Euro (EUR) is used and credit cards are accepted in a large number of shops, hotels, and restaurants. Safety Paris has an overall medium risk to safety: while generally not dangerous, it is…

Travelling Abroad? You Can’t Take Canada’s Cannabis with You

Canada’s marijuana legalization has attracted international media headlines the way few other Canadian actions have in recent memory—much more newsworthy than its freeing up of marijuana for medical purposes several years ago. And, as might be expected, the October 17 enactment of the new pot laws has spawned hugely speculative and grossly sensational alarms about what Canadians (including snowbirds) might expect when crossing over into the US this coming winter season. Let’s first establish one point above all: Canada’s legalization of cannabis is a domestic issue. It is applicable in Canada only. It has no impact on any other country’s laws or rules. In time it may certainly influence what other countries do—but not yet. The Canadian government is quite clear when it warns that “carrying any cannabis or cannabis product (legal or illegal) across Canada’s border will remain a serious criminal offence, with individuals convicted of engaging in such…

Visiting the US This Winter? Let’s Review the Rules—Part 1

It’s that time of year again: time to review the rules that govern how long you can stay out of the country without risking loss of your provincial health insurance benefits, how long you may stay in the US as a visitor, and if there are any changes in the rules you need to pay particular attention to. And this year, we’re going to do our review in two parts—the second dealing with new and vital information you need to know about Canada’s cannabis laws (for recreational or prescribed medical use) before leaving the country or approaching any other international border. You don’t need to be a marijuana user to be affected by these laws—so stay tuned. But first: the rules for visiting the US—Canada’s favourite vacation location There are no major changes in the B2 (non-immigrant tourist) visa rules for Canadian citizens wishing to visit the United States.…

Is Relief in Sight for Medical Student Debt?

For many of Canada’s best and brightest, the prospect of a career in medicine is dampened by the reality of mounting student debt, into the six figures in many cases. And it’s not just obtaining the MD that’s challenging: it’s the years beyond, working toward the specialty accreditation that generates the fees needed to pay off that debt—a need that often diverts graduates away from lesser-paying fields like family medicine. It’s a vicious cycle. But a recent announcement from New York University School of Medicine that it will begin offering free tuition to all current and future students—regardless of need—sparks some hope that new ways of funding medical education may be taking root. NYU, one of America’s top 10 medical schools (where the average annual cost is $55,018 USD), is taking the step thanks to an endowment from private sources that is currently valued at $450 million and is aiming…

Relocation Series—Moving to Mexico City, Mexico

Welcome to our Relocation Series! Looking for better opportunities? Want to make a big life change? Finally found the dream destination you want to move to? Our Relocation Series consists of the most popular destination choices for expatriates to relocate to. We will include all the details on what you need to know on each country and factors to determine if it would be the perfect fit for you! Let us make your life easier for this next big step you are taking. A comprehensive guide for moving to and living in Mexico City Languages The common languages are Spanish, Nahuatl, Maya, and Mixtec. English is also becoming more widely spoken. Money The Mexican Peso (MXN) is used. Credit cards are widely accepted and the country has an extensive network of ATMs. Safety Mexico has an overall medium risk regarding safety. Stay in the tourist zones to…

New Surveys Show Canadian Travel to the US Is Up—and So Is Insurance Coverage

Despite a plethora of news stories asserting deteriorating relationships between Canada and the US over trade and political differences, it appears Canadians have not pared back their leisure travel plans south of the border to their most favoured vacation destinations. In fact, according to new data reported by the Conference Board of Canada (CBoC) and Statistics Canada, Canadian leisure trips to the US lasting at least one night increased in 2017 by almost 4.5 per cent from 2016’s number, rising to 15.5 million—the first annual increase since 2013. Overall, Canadians made over 25.5 million leisure trips out of the country (to both the US and abroad) in 2017, more than in the previous two years.   More than three-quarters maintain travel coverage The CBoC survey also commissioned a poll of Canadians to determine their travel insurance buying habits. It found that 78 per cent of those who had travelled out…

Warnings on Virtual Kidnapping Targeting Chinese Students

A warning to international students, brought to you by StudyInsured. A new (but old) scam is underway, specifically targeting Chinese international students: virtual kidnapping. It sounds bizarre when you first hear the words—how do you kidnap someone virtually? Doesn’t kidnapping require a person to be… physically there? Apparently not. Scam artists have had to up their game and get more creative with their schemes over the years as security measures have been tightening up and the general population has become more aware of when someone is trying to defraud them. In comes virtual kidnapping. While Canada is overall a safe destination for international students, travelling such a long distance away can naturally cause anxiety for students’ parents and loved ones left back home. This scam seeks to play on those fears by inventing a danger to the student that isn’t actually there. The history It started as a…

Foreign College Studies for Canadians—Right Next Door

Given that their parents are such zealous travellers, the reticence of Canadian post-secondary school students to study abroad even for short periods or exchanges is somewhat mystifying. As we see in the story linked above, concerns about transferability of credits and the prospect of “a lot of hard work” tend to keep most Canadian students homebound—unexposed to foreign cultures, mores, climates, and temptations. And then there are the costs. But one of the lesser-known channels to foreign studies—perhaps even for short-term trial periods—may lie in the discounted tuition programs offered by US colleges and universities (some established by state legislation) specifically for Canadian students. How about the Sunshine State? For example, in 1987, the Florida legislature set up a Florida-Canada linkage program offering Canadian students admissions to some 40 state-funded colleges and universities at the same subsidized tuition levels offered to state residents—all in the interests of developing stronger…

Canadians Show Growing Satisfaction with Travel Insurance

Travel insurers have long been criticized for the complexity of their policies, heavy-handed use of medical and legal language in their applications, and their alleged tendency to deny, deny, deny claims. But according to a new public opinion research poll, commissioned by the Canadian Association of Financial Institutions in Insurance (CAFII), a non-governmental, non-profit watchdog association advocating a more transparent insurance marketplace, more than 8 out of 10 Canadians who have purchased travel insurance are satisfied with the value they receive from the products they buy. Furthermore, according to a press release issued by CAFII, 98 per cent of people who made travel medical insurance claims in the past year said they were fully or partially paid, with only 2 per cent of claims being rejected. In addition, 91 per cent of claimants said they were satisfied with their claim experience from initial contact to final outcome. According to the…

New Canadian Biometric Requirements in Place for International Students and Other Visa Holders

As of July 31, 2018, international students applying for Canadian student visas from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa are required to provide biometric facial photos and fingerprint data to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) officers when entering the country. The requirements will also apply to applicants for visitor, work, permanent residency, or refugee asylum visas. Applicants already in Canada are temporarily exempt from the requirements pending the establishment of biometric application processing centres in Canada starting in 2019. Canada’s Biometric Initiative program, which is designed to ease legitimate travel to Canada while protecting national security and preventing identify fraud, will be extended to applicants from Asia, Asia- Pacific, and the Americas starting December 31, 2018. Canada already collects biometric data from refugee applicants from 30 countries. Tourists from visa-exempt countries with valid Electronic Travel Authorizations (eTA) are exempt from the requirement, as are: Canadian citizens US nationals Citizenship…

Relocation Series—Moving to Toronto, Canada

Welcome to our Relocation Series Launch! Looking for better opportunities? Want to make a big life change? Finally found the dream destination you want to move to? Our Relocation Series consists of the most popular destination choices for expatriates to relocate to. We will include all the details you need to know on each country and factors to determine if it would be the perfect fit for you! Let us make your life easier for this next big step you are taking.   A comprehensive guide for moving to and living in Toronto Languages The official languages spoken are English and French. Chinese and Punjabi are the next most commonly spoken languages. Money The Canadian dollar (CAD) is used and credit and debit cards are accepted countrywide. It is recommended to use one of the most prominent banks that have ATMS scattered across the city. Safety Toronto…

Canadian Universities Get High Marks for Education, But a Bum Rap for the Weather

No generation is more susceptible to being influenced by the blogosphere and social media rants than applicants to colleges and universities—especially those anticipating studies in distant foreign countries. It’s challenging enough sorting through the academic choices, admission standards, visa requirements, and financial commitments that are critical to making choices about where to apply without also factoring in language barriers, social customs, and basic living issues like weather. Weather? To judge by the narratives floated in various forms of media directed at aspiring international students, discussions about weather appear to be a priority. Universities in Florida, Arizona, and Southern California use weather as a big recruiting plus—for obvious reasons. It seems to work. Bundle up? But when describing college choices in Canada, once the narrators get past the great cost advantages and international esteem given Canadian universities—the second or third paragraph of the blog or article tends to focus on…

When Hurricanes Threaten, Here’s What Travel Insurance Can and Cannot Do for Your Clients

With the peak of hurricane season in the Atlantic basin approaching, travel insurance vendors need to reinforce not only the value of cancellation/interruption policies to clients planning trips to storm-prone areas, but make sure clients understand these plans’ limitations and exclusions as well. Travellers need to understand that trip cancellation insurance is designed to cover only prepaid monetary losses that are not refundable by the travel supplier—reservation deposits, payments for tour packages, cruise ship tickets. It’s not meant to compensate for the disappointment of a lost “dream trip.” If your client’s Caribbean cruise is shortened by two or three days due to a mechanical failure or an unscheduled rerouting to a safer port and the cruise line offers a make-up voucher for future travel, that’s considered a refund and disqualifies the need for a claim. Same story if an airline leaves the client stranded and then offers a voucher for…

Relocation Series—Moving to New York City, USA

Welcome to our Relocation Series Launch! Looking for better opportunities? Want to make a big life change? Finally found the dream destination you want to move to? Our Relocation Series consists of the most popular destination choices for expatriates to relocate to. We will include all the details on what you need to know on each country and factors to determine if it would be the perfect fit for you! Let us make your life easier for this next big step you are taking. A comprehensive guide for moving to and living in New York City  Languages The main languages spoken are English and Spanish. There are as many as 800 languages spoken in NYC, and nowhere in the world has more languages than Queens, New York—so there should be little to no language barrier problems! Money The American Dollar (USD) is used and credit and…

Tips for Travel Insurance Agents: Assist Your Customer, But Protect Your Trust

When travel insurance claims are denied based on non-disclosure or failure to provide accurate medical information, it can easily generate tension or mistrust between the customer and the agent who sold and “processed” the policy. This is especially so if the medical questionnaire is done verbally over the phone (or online) and the customer is unfamiliar with the medical terms used, or is unfamiliar with his or her own medical records, or simply unaware of the consequences of non-disclosure. A claim denial comes as a shock to any insured person and the first reaction will often be to deflect the blame—to the doctor for not sharing pertinent medical information, to the wife for not properly completing her husband’s medical questionnaire, or to the agent who didn’t “take the time” to explain the medical terms or didn’t emphasize that any change in health status prior to the effective date of coverage…

Let’s Talk About It: Chinese International Students and Their Mental Health

The Enticing Opportunities Abroad As the global village becomes more and more tight-knit, students are eager to study abroad for opportunities at foreign institutions and programs of study that are renowned for academic excellence. We found that a very large amount of Chinese students, from primary to post secondary, are choosing to enter the western educational system for better opportunities. In the past few years, there have been over 350,000 Chinese students studying annually in North America. Chinese students are the single largest international student population on most American campuses. But have we ever wondered why the population of Chinese students studying abroad is growing larger every year and if this transition is difficult for them? Or what it’s like for these students to leave their home country and immerse themselves into a new culture, language, and environment—alone? We have found that Chinese parents choose to send their children abroad…

Tips for Canadian Students Taking their Medical Marijuana on Vacation

With Canada on the verge of legalizing marijuana for recreational use (it has been approved for medical purposes since 2001), Canadians studying in the US or abroad, and the half million international students enrolled in Canadian colleges and universities, need to understand the rules about what is or is not legal usage, and how a little carelessness in their travel habits can ruin or seriously disrupt their academic careers. Because the bulk of Canada’s population is clustered close to the United States from the Atlantic to the Pacific, weekend or short vacation trips across the border (such as student spring breaks) are an integral part of college life—for international as well as domestic students. We must caution that international students who are not natives of visa waiver countries may need special documentation to visit the US—but all students, Canadian citizens or foreign passport holders, are urged by the Canadian government…

Premier Expatriate Insurance Now Available!

As an Ingle agent, you are now able to offer your clients the world’s leading expatriate insurance through our partnership with MSH International. Discover the benefits of First’Expat+ and Start’Expat, like inclusive coverage, flexible formulas, easy claims and 24/7 support. Call us today at 1-800-292-9460 and start earning on select policies. Want more details? Send us an email to agent@imagineinsurance.com. —About MSH International— For more than 40 years, MSH International has been designing and managing international health insurance solutions for globally-mobile individuals: expatriate employees and freelancers, young adults living abroad (internships, studies or working holiday visas), active seniors, etc. The mission is to provide solutions for all expatriates worldwide by offering coverage of healthcare, life & income protection, medical assistance/repatriation and third party liability. As specialists in international health insurance, MSH International strives to be your true local healthcare partner abroad. —Solutions— Medical / Life & Disability / Assistance Repatriation / Third-Party…

Canada’s Travel Insurers, Be Warned: Privacy Breaches Will Cost You Big Time

For travel insurance producers, vendors, brokers, and in fact any professional gathering or storing personal information about a client, the rules for maintaining strict privacy are intensifying, as are the penalties attached to them. And we’re not talking about slaps on the wrist. On May 25, 2018, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR, termed by the experts as the strictest data-protection law in the world) came into effect to harmonize data protection laws of all EU member states. The law is intended to ensure that all personal data from individuals in the EU are protected; that gatherers of that data deal in a fully transparent fashion; and that customers have new and greater privacy rights and control over how their information is used by those who collect it and pass it on to others. How serious is the EU about its GDPR? Maximum penalty for non-compliance is four…

International Students Love Montreal

Once again, Montreal has been ranked as the top North American city for international students in the highly prestigious QS University Rankings for 2018, the only Canadian city to make it to the top 10 most favoured slots. Noted by QS as Canada’s “cultural capital,” Montreal is applauded for its “multicultural makeup and inclusive ethos” as well as its laidback yet lively lifestyle, attractive boulevards, thriving creative industries, café culture, eclectic range of arts venues and nightlife—not to forget its internationally ranked universities. (McGill is currently ranked as 32nd in the world, and both the University of Montreal and Concordia University have also achieved respectable rankings.) To put matters in a tighter perspective, Montreal has slipped out of last year’s first-place ranking to be replaced in the #1 spot by London, then Tokyo, then Melbourne, in that order—but it remains ahead of all other Canadian cities and any or all…

Ingle International Merges with MSH International to Grow Stronger Than Ever

Ingle International Inc. have merged its insurance group Imagine Financial Ltd. and its travel medical assistance group Intrepid 24/7 with MSH International. Offices now include an operations centre in Calgary and employ 200 staff positioned to serve the travelling community. As the trusted name in the industry, Ingle companies have served the international traveling community since 1946. Today, they provide the best in class travel insurance protection to international students, students studying abroad, snowbirds, business travellers, expatriates, adventure, vacationing and high risk travelers. MSH International, a 100% owned subsidiary of Paris-based SIACI SAINT HONORE Group, is one of the largest and most comprehensive suppliers of expatriate insurance services in the world, with more than 330,000 insured participants across 200 countries. SIACI SAINT HONORE Group insures 2,200 000+ people worldwide. MSH International and Ingle share core values and will continue the tradition of responsive service, deep expertise, and reliable protection. With the best network in Canada, the merger will…

The Eight-Month US Visa for Canadian Retirees: A Myth That Keeps on Coming

It happens every couple of years: broadcast and print media announce in bold headlines that Canadian retirees 55 years or older who can afford a second home in the US (owned or leased) will soon be allowed to live there for up to eight full months per year instead of the 182 days they are currently allowed under the B2 visitor visa. Sounds like great news for snowbirds who prefer slathering on sunscreen to shovelling snow. Just this month, an opinion piece in Canada’s Financial Post warned that tax increases on Canada’s middle classes were fuelling a brain drain of doctors, nurses, tech workers, and entrepreneurs to the US and elsewhere, adding, “Just watch the enormous economic damage done when Congress extends its permission for snowbirds by two months—to eight months a year—to stay in the U.S. without becoming taxable.” Well, let’s just hang on here As I said,…

Why Are Canadians Hesitant About Studying Abroad?

Canadians are among the most inveterate travellers in the world: over 23 million leisure trips abroad every year—not bad for a total population of 36 million. That covers all age groups—including the very old and the very young. And the world is reciprocating, with international tourist numbers hitting new peaks year after year and with foreign students flocking to Canadian colleges and universities to take advantage of world-class educational opportunities at tuition rates far below those in the United States. At top colleges across the nation, foreign students comprise 20 to 30 per cent of undergraduate enrollees—ditto for graduate programs. But there is one area of internationalization that is clearly lagging, to the concern of Canadian educators and business leaders: that is the reluctance of well-qualified Canadian students taking up the challenge (and denying themselves the rewards) of studying abroad—full-term or short-term. According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education…

How to Prepare for Emergency Situations at Home or Abroad

In April 2018, Toronto was shaken after an attack with a rented van in the North York area has left 10 dead and 15 others wounded. In a city that is generally known to be safe, this tragic event feels particularly jarring. It’s difficult to predict senseless attacks such as this. And while Toronto is in mourning today, one horrific act of violence will not alter the character of the city: at large, Toronto is still a safe place. For travellers heading to Toronto or anywhere else around the globe, it’s important not to let events like this deter you from getting out there and exploring the world. Rather than avoid making plans, the best thing that you can do is be prepared in the event you encounter an emergency at home or abroad. Measures for keeping safe Be prepared: If you are heading abroad, make sure to remain…

Canadian Travellers to Cancun: Be Vigilant

With more than two million Canadians visiting Mexico annually, travel insurers and other travel professionals need to warn their clients of increasing violence (due mostly to drug cartel activity) in the highly popular tourist area in and surrounding Cancun. More than half of all Canadian visits to Mexico are made to Cancun, and Mexico is Canadians’ second-most-visited country, next to the US. So far this year, 113 people have been killed in the Cancun area. The most recent spate of violence occurred in early April, when 14 murders (all considered drug-trade-related) occurred within 36 hours—generating headlines in newspapers around the world. Though Mexican authorities have explained that most of these deaths were confined to individuals involved in the growing drug cartel wars, there have been some innocent bystanders killed or wounded; and armed military guards have since been stationed at key points throughout the area to safeguard tourist resorts and…

Canadian Travel Trade Trends Remain Strong for 2018/2019

Despite persistently negative media coverage of US political affairs (including volatile NAFTA negotiations), Canadian leisure travel to the US increased for the first time in four years in 2017—up 4.5 per cent over 2016—indicating that vendors of travel insurance may continue to enjoy robust market growth south of the border. According to a recent report from the Conference Board of Canada (CBoC), when asked about those factors that influenced their travel decisions, the “vast majority” of (Canadian) outbound travellers reported that disease/outbreaks (64.9 per cent), political uncertainty (60.2 per cent), terrorism/security concerns (59.4 per cent), and extreme weather events (54.6 per cent) had no impact on their trip planning. On the other hand, the ups and downs of the loonie vis-à-vis the US dollar did have some effect on travel decisions. Fortunately, the relative strength of the loonie throughout much of 2017 did have a salutary effect on travel to…

Applying to a Canadian University? Join the Throng, But Plan Your Health Insurance Well

As Canadian universities step up recruitment of foreign students—whose tuition may range up to two or three times that of domestic students, depending on the province—some questions are being raised about the perception that domestic applicants may be losing out, even when they have higher grade point averages. In a contentious research report, University of British Columbia economist and associate professor Peter Wylie observes that some BC high school graduates are being denied entry to campuses of their choice or even forced to go out of province, while international students with the same or lesser grade point averages are being accepted. In response to Professor Wylie’s comments, UBC Vice-Provost Pamela Ratner, who oversees enrollments, charges that “it is a myth that international students displaced domestic students.” She adds that “international and domestic students do not compete with each other when UBC is reviewing student applications; they are adjudicated in separate…