Canada has a plan to stop qualified immigrant doctors from driving taxis

April 7, 2017

By Jenny Uechi, National Observer |

The Trudeau government is touting a new solution for immigrants that arrive in Canada but wind up without a job in their field of expertise.

If it works it would solve a problem that affects nearly one million immigrants. In fact, according to a report released in January 2016, nearly 850,000 Canadians — over 60 per cent of whom are immigrants — end up underemployed or unemployed because their credentials aren’t recognized in Canada.

Speaking in Vancouver on Thursday, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Ahmed Hussen offered details about the plan that was announced in the new federal budget unveiled on March 22.

“We recognize that newcomers face particular challenges when they attempt to get their credentials recognized… When newcomers cannot succeed, it’s a great loss to them because they can’t fulfill their potential, but it’s also a great loss to our country because we need their contributions, their skills, and we need them to work at their full potential in their chosen fields,” Minister Hussen said.

An earlier 2012 report by the federal Immigration Department found that in a survey of 50,000 cab drivers across Canada, 200 were doctors or have PhDs, and that 20 per cent of drivers who immigrated to Canada have undergraduate university degrees or master’s.

Although Minister Hussen didn’t reference this specific report, many immigrants have voiced concerns in recent years about being unable to find work that matched their qualifications after moving to Canada.

As part of Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s budget, Hussen said Ottawa would commit $27.5 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, and $5.5 million per year each year after this, for a targeted employment strategy for new Canadians.

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