Who are the most and least educated in Canada?

February 12, 2018

By Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun |

Canadians of colour and children of immigrants tend to be far more educated than Canadian whites and aboriginals, according to two studies.

“Canada’s white males are the least likely to hold university degrees in the knowledge economy,” says a report by Jack Jedwab, president of the Canadian Institute for Identities and Migration.

Only 24 per cent of white Canadian men between ages 35 and 44 have university degrees, according to Jedwab’s research. That is less than half the university-education rate of Canadians of South Asian, Chinese and Korean background.

An internal federal Immigration Department report by Garnett Picot confirms a related trend: The 2016 census shows that 36 per cent of the children of immigrants aged 25 to 35 hold university degrees, compared to just 24 per cent of people in that age bracket with Canadian-born parents.

“Canada fortunately has among the best educational and economic outcomes for the children of immigrants in the western world. This success sets Canada apart from most European nations, and to some extent, the U.S.,” Picot said in his report, titled The Educational and Labour market Outcomes of the Children of Immigrants: A Success to be Preserved.

“Canada’s white males are the least likely to hold university degrees in the knowledge economy,” says a report by Jack Jedwab, president of the Canadian Institute for Identities and Migration.

Only 24 per cent of white Canadian men between ages 35 and 44 have university degrees, according to Jedwab’s research. That is less than half the university-education rate of Canadians of South Asian, Chinese and Korean background.

An internal federal Immigration Department report by Garnett Picot confirms a related trend: The 2016 census shows that 36 per cent of the children of immigrants aged 25 to 35 hold university degrees, compared to just 24 per cent of people in that age bracket with Canadian-born parents.

“Canada fortunately has among the best educational and economic outcomes for the children of immigrants in the western world. This success sets Canada apart from most European nations, and to some extent, the U.S.,” Picot said in his report, titled The Educational and Labour market Outcomes of the Children of Immigrants: A Success to be Preserved.

Like Picot, Canadian leaders celebrate the positive educational results of the offspring of immigrants, the large majority of whom are people of colour. They see it as an example of how large-scale immigration and multiculturalism enriches Canada. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2016 ranked Canada second only to Korea as the highest educated nation in the world.

At the same time, however, a small number of educators and economists are noting that the 2016 census data also flags some concerns: It points to how there are a range of winners and losers in Canadian higher education and the job market, in which Indigenous people particularly under-perform.

A minority of voices are asking if some young people born in Canada and other Western countries, especially those from the lower and middle classes, are growing discouraged in the face of having to compete with high-achieving offspring of well-educated and skilled immigrants.

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