A Recent Ontario University Graduate Alleges That Ryerson, York, Ontario’s Teachers’ Colleges And Other Post-Secondary Institutions Discriminate Against Canadian-born In Favour Of Recent Immigrants

December 7, 2005: A Recent Ontario University Graduate Alleges That Ryerson, York, Ontario's Teachers' Colleges And Other Post-Secondary Institutions Discriminate Against Canadian-born In Favour Of Recent Immigrants


Canada's federal government likes to claim that its immigration policies produce only positive effects, says Immigration Watch Canada. When negative effects appear, such as the problems that skilled immigrants have in getting their credentials recognized, it likes to blame provincial certification agencies and to put pressure on them.

In bowing to federal pressure and in accomodating new immigrants' complaints,however, one certification agency in Ontario as well as post-secondary institutions there appear to have crossed the line.

A recent Ontario university graduate, in a letter to the Canadian Federation of Students, alleges that blatant preference over Canadian-born is being given in admissions and tuition fees at Ryerson and York to new immigrants (particularly those from India). The graduate alleges that this is being done by the Schools of Social Work at these institutions. Also, in Ontario in general, the graduate says that applications by new immigrants (particularly those from India) for Ontario Teachers' certification are being processed in a cursory manner with minimal checking of the claims made in applications. In general, the applicants are not being required to meet the standards that Canadian–born must satisfy.

The graduate, whose parents came from India in the 1960's, points out the rampant corruption in India, where, in his parents' view, many things, including university degrees, can be bought. The graduate notes the willingness of Canadian post-secondary institutions to ignore this corruption and to fast-track new immigrants through any obstacles they may face in the Canadian system. The person complains of preference being given to new immigrants over Canadian-born in a significant number of situations.

Since educational institutions have tended to imitate what other educational institutions do, the graduate's letter raises the following question: If these allegations are correct, how many other post-secondary institutions in Ontario and other provinces are guilty of similar discrimination against Canadian-born?

It is common knowledge that most discussion critical of immigration tends to be squelched in the educational system. If the allegations in the letter are correct, are these situations at Ryerson, York and at Teachers' Colleges an example of the absurdly gullible, naive and corrupt behaviour that ensues in educational institutions (supposedly the guardians of free and critical thought) when an important issue like immigration is not permitted a fair hearing?

Overall, the allegations point to the federal government's failure to return, in its immigration policy, to the idea that every economy has an absorptive capacity. Once the limits to absorptive capacity are exceeded (that is, when too many people try to enter the workforce), Canadian-born have to compete with new immigrants for a limited number of jobs.

Overall, the allegations also point to the federal government's failure to have Canada's immigration policy serve Canadians first.

For these major failures, they should be held to a severe accounting in this election.


Immigration Watch Canada provides the graduate's letter below. The original letter has been abridged modestly. It has also been edited slightly for clarity.

Letter To The Canadian Federation Of Students:

Undermining Canadian University Degrees & College Diplomas

I watched a Canadian news report recently that alleged there is a high rate of poverty amongst new immigrants. This report cited 'lack of recognition for foreign degrees' as the main focal point of the problem. I am a fairly mild mannered person, but hearing this report made me feel like a radical right winger when in actuality I have been a life long human rights advocate. But this report was outrageous! It was clearly politically motivated and callously ignored the plight of university educated Canadians living in poverty in Ontario and across the nation.

Please be aware of a new, distinct, social class that is emerging in Canada: highly educated Canadian citizens, possessing University degrees, and living in poverty. This yet unrecognized social class is emerging slowly but surely. I feel for new immigrants who are now facing the struggle of adjusting to life in a new country but that's a risk many of our ancestors went through for the chance at a new life. I won't say a 'better' life because many of the new immigrants are from affluent backgrounds and arrive with substantial savings and almost instantly own properties that Canadians work their entire lives to possess.

I am a first generation Canadian and I have lived in a Toronto suburb my entire life. My family immigrated to Canada from India in the late sixties. My father and mother both hold university degrees from their former homeland. They worked hard for their degrees but my parents
would probably be the first to acknowledge that not everyone in India has to work honestly or even study to obtain a degree! In India the wealthy middle class, can buy anything, even a Ph.D. The rampant corruption that plagues India, infests every facet of life in that country!

The sad state of rampant corruption has been reported by well- respected journalists both within India and outside for generations. Even the development of basic road infrastructure cannot be accomplished in many Indian States because the equipment and supplies are sold off by corrupt officials in positions of power. Yet, we Canadians are expected to believe that the same degree of corruption has not infiltrated the Indian education system? Are we supposed to set aside the rules of critical thinking and logic in favour of ignorance for fear of being called racists?

I am shocked, stupefied, and horrified to discover that bachelor's degrees and master's degrees from India are now being recognized in Ontario as almost exactly equivalent to Canadian degrees. This recognition is taking place without English as a Second Language Testing or any kind of Content Specialty Testing for the applicants alleged area of specialization! In fact, I have reason to believe that Indian PhD's in Social Work are being given exactly the same recognition here as a Canadian PhD in Social Work! If new Indian immigrant students intend to proceed to Teacher's College, and claim they have degrees, they are required to do only English as a Second Language testing.They are not required to do any underrgraduate level courses in Canada. In effect, they can skirt the system.

Tens of thousands of Canadians spent between $20,000 – $30,000 at Canadian Universities in the late 1990's obtaining a Canadian University Honors Degree! Not to mention more years spent on worthless Canadian College Diplomas and Certificates that are not even given the equivalent recognition of a questionable foreign degree from countries such as India that are doing nothing to end corruption or even limit it! For god's sake, this is outrageous! Shame has gone missing from our lives for the government to allow this to occur.

Why not do a survey of how many Canadians with bachelor's degrees would like to proceed through the 10 month long Teacher's College Program? And through subsidies, gain the stamp of approval necessary to become teachers? I am flabbergasted that the government would prefer to fund shortened teacher's college programs to allow new-comers to become teachers! How does this formula translate into taking care of your people?

This past fall, Ryerson University started a Bachelor of Social Work Program. Enrollment is limited to those who can prove themselves to be 'new immigrants'. According to reports, this program costs new immigrants only one thousand dollars per year. In contrast, the regular BSW program, which Canadian-born take, costs more than one thousand dollars PER COURSE!

York University won't allow Canadian students with a Canadian honours degree in Sociology or Social Science to apply to their Master of Social Work program but they will allow students with foreign university degrees in any subject at all, to apply to the Master of Social Work program as long as there was 'some' social work at some point in their undergraduate program. Students with Canadian Social Service Worker Diplomas with high honours in combination with Canadian University Degrees in Social Science have been prevented from applying to the York University Master of Social Work program! Is this madness?

I have given 8 years of my life and thousands of dollars of my money and watched it flushed down the toilet! My degree has proven to be more worthless than a used bus transfer!

So while new immigrants are the focus of heart wrenching news reports and human rights campaigns for equality, where do my rights come in? Where do the rights of all Canadians who toiled at Canadian Universities come in? Don't we deserve to eat? Don't we deserve to have nice homes? Don't we deserve anything? Don't we have the right to expect anything from our province, our country?

Furthermore, while tens of thousands of Canadians students' vie for limited positions at Canadian Teacher's Colleges, these foreign-trained students waltz in, apply, and have the upper hand from the get go. The primary requirements that applicants competing for entrance into Teacher's college must possess are A) Pre-service Teaching Experiences and B) Grade Point Average. All the students with Indian degrees I have talked to seem, very conveniently, to have an abundant supply of teaching experiences and top marks!!!!!!!!!!! Can anyone really verify with accuracy and authenticity the value of such teaching experiences and grades when they are reported by institutions and private companies within a country internationally known for its rampant corruption?

At the Canadian university I attended, we weren't given much leeway to miss assignment deadlines or fall short on grades in our specialized programs or we were kicked out! And what did we go through all of that for? To be in crushing debt?

Jee, stupid me. I should have gone back to the home land of my ancestors, found two tall leafy trees with a hammock tied to 'em, accepted a tall cool drink brought to me by hand servants (still
employed in these countries as little more than slaves) and had my back massaged with hot oils, while my Ph.D. was being processed at the local university.

If the social activists want to save someone from poverty, go save all the servants that are put to work in India by the middle and upper classes, as little more than life long slaves as they work for pennies a day!