The Impact of Occupational Licensing Requirements

business_ethics_highlights_2More and more occupations require that the worker be licensed—which sometimes requires passing hurdles such as writing an exam of questionable relevance. The purpose, in theory, is to protect the public. In some cases, like the one discussed below, it does no such thing. But it does stop a hard-working immigrant from making a living. Why is this a business ethics issue? Because the relevant regulations are in place because businesses have lobbied government create them. (Note: overall, the effect of licensing requirements is complex. For interesting work on this, see sociologist Beth Redbird’s work on Inequality, Diversity, and the Rise of Occupational Licensure)


LINK: ‘I’m not trying to be a doctor. I just want to cut men’s hair (by Nicholas Keung for The Toronto Star)

With a diploma and more than 15 years of experience as a barber in Iraq, Benjamin Gbo’s dream is to open his own shop in Toronto to support his family. But he can’t even cut anyone’s hair in a salon without a hairstylist licence in Ontario.

A native of Mosul, Gbo has made five failed attempts at the hairstylist exam mandated by the Ontario College of Trades, the professional regulatory body of 23 compulsory skilled trades in the province.

“There are too many rules that stop you from working as a hairstylist here….

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