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10 per cent of Ottawa Taxi plate holders born in Canada: Ornstein report

53.1 percent of Ottawa Taxi plate owners are Arabs. Image: Ornstein report

The following are excerpts of sociologist Dr. Michael Orstein’s expert report regarding Metro Taxi vs the City of Ottawa:

“Table 2 provides striking evidence of a highly racialized industry. Of the 688 Ottawa taxi plate owners, 365 or 53.1 percent are Arabs, compared to 3.9 percent of the entire Ottawa Gatineau CMA (Census Metropolitan Area) population, 3.2 percent of its labour force and 3.7 percent of its male labour force age 35 and older.

Compared to the province, the disparity is much greater, since there are just 1.6, 1.2 and 1.3 percent of Arabs in the three Ontario population groups, respectively. About one fourth of plate owners, 24.6 percent, are South Asian, compared to 2.6 percent of the Ottawa-Gatineau CMA population, 2.6 percent of its labour force and 2.6 percent of its male labour force age 35 and older.

Dr. Ornstein’s report PDF

For the province, 8.5 percent of the population is South Asian, so proportionally there are still nearly three times more South Asian plate owners. Black plate owners are the third largest non-White group, accounting for 5.5 percent of all plate owners, compared to 5.6 percent of the Ottawa-Gatineau CMA population, 5.2 percent of its labour force and 3.9 percent of its male labour force age 35 and older who are Black. While the number of Black plate owners would be underestimated if some had British names, this is highly unlikely because all 14 Black plate owners in the survey were immigrants with African names, almost all Ethiopian. Also, among the plate owners classified as White because of their European names, few had English names that could potentially belong to Black Canadians; and no one else in our survey identified as Black.

West Asians, almost all with Iranian first names and surnames, are the fourth largest non-White group of plate owners, accounting for 4.7 percent of plate owners. This compares with 0.6 percent West Asians in the Ottawa-Gatineau CMA population, 0.5 percent of its labour force and 0.4 percent of its male labour force age 35 and older. Depending on the comparison group there are at least eight times as many West Asian plate holders as members of the population.

In total, 9.9 percent of plate owners are White, compared to 76.1 percent of the Ottawa-Gatineau CMA population, 78.5 percent of its labour force and 80.6 percent of its male labour force age 35 and older.

Thus Arabs, South Asians and West Asians are dramatically over-represented among taxi plate owners, while the sizeable number of Black plate owners is close to their representation in the population.

Indigenous persons and other visible minority groups are very small in number or entirely absent.

Just 8 of the 688 plate owners are Southeast Asian, 7 are Chinese, one is South or Central American. None of the plate owners is Filipino, Korean, Japanese, Indigenous, from a visible minority group not listed in the survey question, a member of two visible minorities, or both White and racialized.

Thirteen plate owners had French surnames, accounting for 1.9 percent of all 688 plate owners – in the context of all Whites accounting for just under 10 percent of plate owners. Because the Census file does not include names, an exact comparison to the population cannot be made, but I can approximate.”

Table 3 shows that just 10 percent of plate holders were born in Canada, compared to 80.3 percent of the Ottawa-Gatineau population. Image: Ornstein report

Regarding Table 3, Ornstein notes:

“Table 3 shows that just 10 percent of plate holders were born in Canada, compared to 80.3 percent of the Ottawa-Gatineau population, 79.2 percent of its labour force and 76.2 percent of its male labour force age 35 and older10 . There is a somewhat higher concentration of immigrants in Ontario as a whole, but nowhere near the extraordinary percentage of plate owners who are immigrants. One third of plate owners were born in Lebanon, 8 percent in other countries of the Middle East, 5 percent in Iran and 2 percent in Afghanistan.

Thus nearly half, 49 percent, of all plate owners were born in the Middle East or West Asia. This compares to 2.9 percent of the entire Ottawa-Gatineau population, 2.9 percent of men age 35 or more in the labour force in the CMA and 3.7 percent of the Ontario population (the Census file does not separate the Middle East and West Asia).

Depending on the comparison, compared to the population, plate owners are 10 to 15 times more likely to be Middle Eastern and West Asian immigrants. Twenty-eight percent of plate owners were born in India, compared to just 1.0 percent of the Ottawa[1]Gatineau population, 1.2 percent of its labour force and 1.2 percent of its labour force age 35 and older.

The corresponding figures for the entire province are somewhat higher, 3.0, 3.6 and 4.0 percent, respectively. I could have grouped South Asian nations, in parallel to the idea of a broader South Asian visible minority group, and then compared South Asian plate owners to the South Asian population. But this would underplay the distinctiveness of the plate holders, who were entirely born in India. In contrast, while 3 percent of the Ontario population was born in India, another 2.2 percent were born in other South Asian nations, mainly Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.”