Edition 86 - June 2008

Education gap grows in Canada

According to the analysis of the 2006 census by the executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies, Jack Jedwab, the gap between Canadians when it comes to holding a university degree is “large and growing”. Visible minorities are far more likely to have a university education than white Canadians and particularly white Canadian males were among the groups least likely to have a university degree, certificate or diploma.

In the age group of 35-44 year-olds, the group with the highest proportion of university degree holders were Korean Canadians (74.7 % of these have completed tertiary education). In second and third place were Filipino and Chinese Canadians, with about 58.6 and 58.4 per cent of the community holding a degree, followed by Arab Canadians (51.6 %), and Japanese Canadians (48.5 %). However, only 25.9 per cent of white Canadians had graduated from university. According to Jedwab, one of the key reasons underlying the results is Canada's immigration policy, which gives preference to those with university educations. According to national Canadian statistical agency, 51 per cent of people who immigrated to Canada between 2001 and 2006 held a university degree. In comparison: among the immigrants who arrived prior to 2001, the proportion was 28 per cent.

Even though Canadians from visible minorities have higher levels of education on average, previous studies have shown that higher education levels don't always translate into better employment or better income levels. In many cases, white Canadians earn more and have higher employment levels, with or without a degree.

Association for Canadian Studies

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