The news that prospective taxi drivers not having to pass an English language test in Brampton confused many who didn’t believe it was a requirement in the first place.
Brampton city council voted last month to remove the verbal and written tests following industry professionals who claimed potential drivers were gravitating toward Toronto which doesn’t have any English language test.
Unsurprisingly, the lone South Asian on council Gurpreet Dhillon supported dropping the language test.
Some of the arguments for doing away with the test was that it ‘discriminated’ against new immigrants who needed the taxi driver job to survive.
But what really is puzzling is that most immigrants coming on the point system to Canada have been forced to display language proficiency in either French or English and fluency is required when applying for Canadian citizenship. Is that discriminatory as well?
Doing away with the English language test may just be extremely short-sighted. Moving up the economic ladder in Canada and getting into a good job requires a command over the English language.
Furthermore most people getting into cabs hate having to struggle with giving their destination addresses to drivers especially when they are in a hurry to get somewhere.
Currently, the city administers a language test that includes a basic conservation between the tester and applicant who is expected to “demonstrate an ability to communicate with customers.”
Council debated the issue heatedly before finally voting to amend the city’s licensing bylaw to eliminate the language test and include a provision “that taxicab drivers shall be able to communicate in English.”
That means while drivers are expected to command the language, the city won’t enforce the requirement unless there is a complaint.
Some 4,000 cab drivers currently operate in Brampton and Mississauga.
In the long-term interests of taxi drivers they might be better served if they learnt English anyway because as ride-sharing companies like Uber displace the traditional taxi and driverless taxis which will offer multiple language options to passengers start appearing, taxi drivers will have to learn English well if they have to comprehend their next move. – CINEWS