New organization formed for Canadians abroad

Canadians who are living and working as expats abroad are being offered assistance from the Canadian government in ensuring that they are adequately prepared for living and working overseas.

Previously known as the Canadian Expat Association, the new organization will be termed ExpatCanada and will reach up to 2.8 million Canadian citizens abroad through a social networking site and accompanying information site and forum. The aim of the entity is to offer education, healthcare and insurance advice, government advocacy support and general assistance to their citizens abroad.

The new social networking site, which is planned for launch some time in August, will be available at Rod Duncan, a founder of the not-for-profit association said that the site will initially be marketed to major Canadian corporations and charities who have operations abroad and regularly send Canadian citizens on overseas assignments. He explained that there would be two areas of assistance on offer. The first offering will provide a worker and his or her family with two days cultural training and online counseling. This service will be chargeable and at the current time it is expected to cost $2,500 CAD per family. The second offering is the social network site which will be provided to all Canadian’s living abroad free of charge.

Discussing the motivation behind ExpatCanada, Duncan disclosed that up to a quarter of the overseas assignments made by Canadian companies fail, with this often being attributed to the inability of employees to successfully integrate in their new countries. “It’s more the problem of accompanying family,” He said. “If you really delve into the stats, a lot of the failure can be related to the lack of the family being able to integrate into the local culture.”

Allan Nichols, head of the Canadian Expat Association, speculated that assisting Canadians to fit in abroad would also have a benefit for the economy as a whole back in Canada: “We believe expats can bring far more benefits to their host countries than they do now, and provide valuable insights on what is actually occurring overseas and how it affects Canadians,” he said.

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