The common stereotype of overqualified immigrant taxi drivers in North America has been proven to be truer than once thought by a survey conducted by the Government of Canada. The federal immigration survey looked at the tax forms of 50,101 cab drivers and determined that 14% of immigrant drivers hold a bachelor’s degree, 5.4% hold a master’s degree, and 200 cabbies in the Greater Toronto area alone are either physicians or hold a PhD.
Other interesting highlights of the yet-to-be-publicly-released “Special Study: Who Drives a Taxi in Canada” found that 50% of cab drivers are immigrants, with business and management serving as their top field of study.
Ottawa has taken note of the inefficient and even unethical tendency whereby vast pools of talent are brought into Canada under programs such as the Federal Skilled Worker category only to have their foreign credentials unrecognized. This results in a high opportunity cost for the Canadian economy, and high animosity, disappointment, and regret amongst Canadian immigrants.
While some of the blame lies with the notoriously protectionist provincial professional associations, the federal government has made a proposal to help alleviate the problem. Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism announced a proposal late last March which would require applicants to have their credentials assessed and verified by designated organizations before coming to Canada. Kenney maintained that such a proposal would give applicants and skilled workers a better idea of where they would fit in the Canadian economy, and would also screen out immigration Canada applicants who do not possess adequate levels of education.