Fri | Jan 18, 2019

Immigration Corner I want to study autism in Canada

Published:Tuesday | November 13, 2018 | 12:09 AM
Deidre S. Powell

Dear Miss Powell,

I just started six form and I want to work with autistic children. My aunt who lives in Ontario said that she doesn't think I need to attend upper sixth to get into a college in Canada to qualify to work with autistic children. She recommended I ask you which college offers that course and if I can start in January, or do I have to wait until next September? How do I apply for a study permit? Can I work on a part-time basis while I study? Thanks for your help.

- AN

Dear AN,

The study of autism and behavioural science in Canada is usually a graduate diploma. This means that most colleges will require that you provide proof that you have successfully completed a minimum of a two-year programme and awarded a certificate from a university or college in a related field such as education, behavioural sciences, social work, education, psychology and nursing.

Therefore, your first step should be to apply to do a diploma in one of the programmes listed above and then apply to do a postgraduate diploma in autism and behavioural sciences.

Most colleges do not require CAPE or GCE 'A' Level subjects in order to get into one of the pre-autism courses listed above, such as social work. This is provided that you have a minimum of five subjects, including English. Since you are in sixth form, I am assuming you have that minimum requirement.

Since you are interested in colleges in Ontario, I recommend that you visit schools' websites

to find out what are the requirements to matriculate and apply immediately, as most colleges have a deadline for application. Also, you should note that the above-mentioned courses are very popular and so they usually fill up fast. Some of the colleges that you could look at are Algonquin, Conestoga, Confederation, George Brown, Mohawk and Fanshaw and St Lawrence Colleges, to name a few.


How to apply for study permit


The first step would be to apply to the college and provide a copy of your transcripts and proof of your CSEC passes. Once you get a letter of acceptance from an accredited school in Canada, you will be required to pay the tuition immediately, especially if you would like to start in January.

Before you can apply for a study permit from Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), you will need to provide proof of acceptance and proof that the required tuition fee has been paid. Most schools will refund you the tuition fee, if you do not get the study permit.

You will be required to complete all the requisite forms accurately and pay a fee for IRCC to process your application. You must provide all the required supporting documents, as well as documents to show that you are eligible and admissible to Canada. Some of the key supporting documents that you should submit are:

1. Bank statement of the person who will be responsible for you financially. This should clearly demonstrate that you have the required amount for tuition and living expenses;

2. Proof that you are a law-abiding citizens and able to present a clean police certificate, if you are over 18 years;

3. Medical report that demonstrates that you are in good health;

4. Any other document to substantiate that your family can afford to send you to school without becoming financially bankrupt, or that you will become stranded in Canada due to lack of financial support.




Finally, there is a very critical information that most applicants fail to pay attention to. This is the fact that you will need to demonstrate your intention to return to your home country at the end of your studies. You are expected to show greater ties to your home country than to Canada. You mentioned that you have an aunt in Canada who is willing to help you. That is wonderful, as this means you could possibly save on living expenses. Nevertheless, you will need to show that you have stronger family ties in your home country and provide other evidence that you would be inspired to return at the end of your studies.

I do not know why you are passionate about autism, but this is an excellent field of study and one that is not very common in Jamaica. Maybe you could write a letter explaining your passion for the study and outline how the knowledge you gain can help your home country. Some critical questions you should be able to answer are: Is the course not offered in Jamaica? Where would you work on your return? How will you contribute to society? Why Canada and not any other country?

You will be permitted to work a maximum of 20 hours per week on a part-time basis, once you have been granted a study permit. Remember, your primary focus should be on successfully completing your studies and not on your part-time work. If you are unable to maintain a satisfactory grade, you could risk losing the work permit and even your study permit.

I strongly recommend that you seek the assistance of an immigration lawyer to assist you with your particular case, especially if you are unsure about qualifying. Best of luck in your studies!

- Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars, with office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practice are in immigration, real estate, personal injury, family, commercial and administration of estates. Submit your questions and comments to Email: Subject line: Immigration Tel: 613.695.8777 or 876.922.4092.